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20 September 2018

Nagra launches TVkey Cloud, teases more on myCinema next year

At a Nagra event during IBC, a handful of analysts invited along were so transfixed on the nuances of the Swiss security specialist’s AI algorithms that they inadvertently pulled a veil over the bigger picture. Nagra launched a cloud-based version of TVkey this week, the smart TV security technology developed in partnership with Samsung – thereby further unleashing its hardware-based root of trust technology throughout the smart TV sector.

The Kudelski Group subsidiary first launched TVkey at CES 2017 and we know the plan has always been to support additional TV brands and CAS vendors but Nagra had been quiet on this front until IBC. This new direction from Nagra was initially about opening up its hardware root of trust to work with any DRM suppliers, on any browser or app, on smart TVs built around MStar TV chips – which is pretty much all of them. Samsung will launch the first TVkey Cloud in its 2019 suite of smart TV sets, as Nagra waits patiently for other connected TV manufacturers to get onboard.

The TVkey framework is based on a Nagra-designed root of trust in TV chips which communicates securely with the TVkey device and now includes sophisticated security management capabilities in the cloud. This creates a Secure Media Path in a smart TV and enables strict enforcement of usage rules as required by Hollywood for the protection of high-value content. The first version of TVkey used external USB dongles as the reference for one-way broadcast pay TV systems. The cloud-based version means no capex but does require an intermittent connection, as explained by Nagra’s SVP of Marketing Ivan Verbesselt in Amsterdam.

With Nagra embracing its new role in security, there is a high chance that other DRM suppliers will jump into bed with the likes of Samsung, which is now saying it will talk to any conditional access or DRM system. The more DRM suppliers a manufacturer has a relationship with, the more desirable its products become.

Maurice Van Riek, SVP Content and Asset Security for Nagra, said, “With TVkey Cloud, we are enabling impulse purchase of pay TV content on any Samsung Smart TV without requiring any additional hardware, lowering the subscription costs and removing entry barriers. Consumers will be able to activate their pay TV services instantly as part of the initial TV set up, making it even easier than ever to access pay TV services and enjoy their favorite programming on their new Samsung TV set. At the same time, it enables a no-capex business model that gives service providers a cost-optimized path to a premium service.”

Faultline Online Reporter has probed on several occasions for an update on myCinema, the content marketplace for streaming alternate content to the big screen, which is of special interest to Faultline Online Reporter and also to our research arm Rethink TV which will be putting out a forecast on movie theaters in the near future.

Verbesselt gave a general overview of the potential importance of myCinema in a fast withering market, where movie theater chains are fighting back with more luxurious settings, showing live events like sports or operas. myCinema is targeted at niche, indie cinemas at present, which Verbesselt said was an interesting new area for Nagra, being more accustomed to securing content which trickles down from a few major studios.

We see myCinema as being ahead of its time which is perhaps why Nagra can’t talk about customers. Verbesselt noted 2019 will be the year Nagra can shout more about myCinema – we’re looking forward to it.