HBO Adopts Thomson Watermarking System

“Shield Forensic” technology is planned for each of HBO’s worldwide installations.
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HBO will be installing Thomson’s video watermarking system, Thomson Shield, in an effort to protect the company’s pre-release screener content against piracy within the company’s file-based infrastructure.

“As HBO continues to distribute its content to multiple platforms beyond traditional television, the need for content protection has become critical to our future success,” said Charles Cataldo, HBO senior vice president of studio and broadcast operations. “The Thomson Shield solution is flexible enough to allow us to develop unique business models that are secure, yet easily deliver content that is viewable by those who are rightfully authorized.”

“Shield Forensic” technology is planned for each of HBO’s worldwide installations. The company’s main playout facility in Hauppauge, N.Y., is among three sites initially targeted to receive the system. Ultimately each HBO operation will receive a “Forensic Manager” database server for synchronizing and managing watermarking platforms, a DVD marking station, stations for watermarking content in real time, stations for watermarking copies being duplicated, QC stations and an “Investigator Platform” used for investigating and tracking any pirated content.

Thomson’s watermarking system is based on NexGuard technology, which embeds an invisible virtual barcode within the video content. The watermarks may be inserted at any stage of video production and can be recovered and read regardless of any editing operations or format changes that the content may encounter, allowing identification of the video’s source. Automatic reading of the invisible barcode can be performed to check for reuse of content within a multichannel network or other video facility.