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Philips looks to build 'huge' video database for video ID service

Aims to fingerprint all video

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"The system in use at the moment from other technology suppliers are all re-active, whereas ours is pro-active” says Terpstra, meaning that the content owner has to first find the breach, then point it out so that a fingerprint of the video can then be made, and from then on the web site will not accept a further copy for upload. There’s the need for that database once again, and this time Philips thinks it will be the only supplier to arrive there and take all the onus off the copyright owner.

At the show Philips announced that Dolby has just introduced its CineFence anti piracy watermarking technology for use with digital cinema releases.

"We are already dominant in digital cinema watermarking," said Terpstra, "with Christie, Dolby and XDC using our system. Thomson has its own technology, but ours is already in 3,000 digital cinemas and anyway Thomson’s Technicolor uses our technology in its special "Screener" copies of DVDs that go out to Film Academy members voting on the Oscar nominations."

Last year Thomson set up a huge initiative to replace the celluloid delivery systems of Technicolor for delivering films, with a global digital network, and will use this leverage to push for its watermarking system to also be used.

Terpstra said, "We can watermark movie masters, pre-release editions of movies, digital cinema copies or license our technology to set top manufacturers to watermark individual movie copies. The only place that doesn’t use watermarking is on consumer DVD.

"With an encrypted film you know when you’ve beaten it, but with watermarking you are never quite sure as a hacker if there is still enough of the watermark left to identify where the source material came from. The only way to get rid of the watermark is to ruin the quality of the video and that makes it uneconomic for pirates," said Terpstra.

Philips also announced at the show that its VTrack watermarking technology has been integrated into the set top boxes of leading manufacturers Sunniwell and its own Philips brand. Vtrack was implemented by Philips Content Identification earlier this year and is supported by major chipset vendors including Broadcom, ST and Texas Instruments. The system is aimed at protecting home based HD services.

"The camcorder used in a movie theater was the major source of movie piracy, but as HD is more commonly available and the quality of screens in the home improves, then copies made with a camcorder at home are suddenly a real danger," said Terpstra, which is perhaps why he sees the Philips watermarking going into more and more set tops over the coming year.

Copyright © 2007, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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