Based on its recent analysis of the content protection conditional access and digital rights management (DRM) market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Microsoft Corporation with the 2012 Global Frost & Sullivan Enabling Technology Award for its PlayReady DRM technology. Microsoft PlayReady truly stands out among other proprietary and standardized alternatives for content protection. Its cross-functional and cross-platform capabilities, along with its ongoing commitment to secure, user-friendly protection of content, inherently positions it as a key enabler for the over the top (OTT) content industry.
"With content being delivered at HD resolution to unmanaged devices, including tablets, gaming consoles and smartphones, DRM systems are challenged to keep pace with all avenues of innovation in order to effectively enable customers and licensees to move forward quickly and efficiently," said Avni Rambhia, Industry Manager at Frost & Sullivan. "The most ideal solution from a video service provider perspective is to have a single DRM technology that can cover the widest range of use cases from private enterprise content to valuable HD content; from streaming to download to own to rentals; across all consumer device platforms and across multiple audio, video and closed-caption formats."
Microsoft PlayReady is arguably the most widely trusted DRM platform technology system in the industry, not only from a security point of view, but also in terms of functionality, scalability and reliability. It is used by the vast majority of leading online video services, is ported to nearly every consumer electronic device on the market, and is strongly positioned to continue to enable better and broader online and offline content experiences over time.
PlayReady DRM clients are developed and distributed by Microsoft at no cost for all Windows-based devices and for the Xbox console. The company also provides a kit to port PlayReady to other platforms, so the system can be extended easily to other chipsets, operating systems or programming frameworks, and as a result, is widely installed on non-Windows CE devices such as iOS and Android as well as other consumer electronic devices. Further, it is tied closely to Smooth Streaming, Microsoft's popular adaptive bit rate (ABR) technology. A variant of PlayReady is used by Mediaroom, Microsoft's middleware offering for the IPTV market, which results in additional traction for PlayReady and positions it well for use in cable systems that are transitioning to IP-based architectures.
Microsoft natively provides a rich set of content protection, usage management, and secure link protection functions to address the widest possible range of current and future use cases. PlayReady is also supported by a rich ecosystem of value-added resellers (VARs), consultants, and professional service providers who can shorten time to market and lessen risk for all aspects of deploying PlayReady for content protection.
"Owing to its wide deployment and strong VAR network, choosing PlayReady can accelerate time to market for new services," noted Rambhia. "Due to content owner trust, partnering with PlayReady often allows service providers access to larger content libraries, better resolution content or permission to distribute to a broader range of devices, all of which result in a stronger competitive position."
Overall, Microsoft's technology enables the creation of new offerings, enhances existing products, and has the widest potential for market penetration and user acceptance. The company's
success in building a nearly ubiquitous footprint for PlayReady across server, delivery, transcoding and client components makes it the most adopted efficiency enabler of new video products in the market. In recognition, Frost & Sullivan is proud to recognize Microsoft with the 2012 Global Enabling Technology Award in the content protection market.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to a company that has developed a pioneering technology that not only enhances current products, but also enables the development of newer products and applications. The award recognizes the high market acceptance potential of the recipient's technology.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
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