Los Angeles — Forensic watermarking technology for digital television signals is shaping up to be a hot topic at the upcoming National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, as Philips becomes the latest to state its plans to demonstrate such a system there next week.
Philips said it will introduce its VTrack session-based watermarking technology that offers PayTV providers a means for identifying and tracking down illegal content duplicators and distributors.
Philips will be going head-to-head with Thomson, which plans to unveil its own watermarking solution for set-top boxes at the show.
Philips said VTrack “embeds an imperceptible and indelible unique identifier into the video signal.”
The system will not restrict personal use of entertainment content, but pirated content can be traced back to specific PayTV subscribers.
“By utilizing watermarking technology in set-top boxes, content pirates will expose themselves to greater legal risk if they attempt large-scale redistribution of improperly obtained content,” Philips said.
VTrack is expected to encourage content providers to broadcast more at-risk high-definition and early-release material, he added.
VTrack is designed for digital consumer devices such as set-top boxes and integrated digital TVs, to protect premium, copyrighted content spanning across PayTV, Video on Demand, and hotel TV.
The system supports HD and SD content, is format independent and is therefore transparent for current and next generation codecs, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC and VC-1, Philips said.
Philips said the VTrack watermarks cannot be altered or separated from content, even after severe quality degradation of the video through scaling, cropping, compression and or camcorder copying.