One of the important developments in Pay TV multiscreen TV is the arrival of CVP-2, the DLNA standard for getting subscription TV content onto CE devices securely. This has just been given its consumer brand name, VidiPath, and a certification programme was launched in September for retail CE products. DLNA predicts that VidiPath will result in more subscription TV content being served to more devices, resulting in more people watching it more of the time.
VidiPath uses DTCP-IP for client device authentication and link protection once content has been decrypted (on the VidiPath server device, which will probably be a home gateway or STB), although a service provider can also use DRM for redistribution around the home. The standard harnesses HTML-5 based Remote User Interface (RUI) in order to replicate the Pay TV UI, including a full programme guide, on client devices. Adaptive streaming and UPnP remote diagnostics are among the other technology building blocks.
The first VidiPath certified CE devices are expected to appear this year and DLNA was showing some reference designs running the technology at IBC in September. The organisation stresses that VidiPath is designed to deliver the full subscription TV experience on all devices, not just a sub-set of them. A spokesman says: â€œWhen consumers see the VidiPath brand they know that service provider content is available on their CE screen, so service providers will encourage them to go and look for the logo. Operators see this as a way to limit their equipment costs in the home while providing access to all their content on mobile devices.â€
The launch of VidiPath has been welcomed, although Sam Rosen, Practice Director at ABI Research, who covers OTT and multiscreen video and video devices, points out that CVP-2/VidiPath relies heavily on HTML5, which cannot be rendered on many older set-top boxes or some older Smart TVs due to CPU requirements as well as stack availability. When it comes to moving their content around the home, Rosen says that operators will have to decide between using native apps on each device and leveraging CVP-2/VidiPath – or embedding CVP-2/VidiPath into an app.
Focusing on the U.S. market, Brett Sappington, Director of Research with Parks Associates, views VidiPath as an important step towards fulfilling the FCCâ€™s vision for an industry standard that allows TV services to be delivered to CE devices. â€œNorth American cable operators have signalled their intent to quickly adopt VidiPath. They have also shown their interest in working with CE manufacturers to create a vibrant ecosystem of interoperable products for subscription TV viewing in the home,â€ he says.
Ken Klaer, Senior Vice President at Comcast, the U.S. cable operator, is also pleased to see VidiPath. â€œWe will be able to provide our services to customers on a growing choice of compatible devices. VidiPath Certified products will provide a standardized platform for our customers, enabling them to enjoy the content they love on a broader range of devices in their homes.â€