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BT and ATEME Move to Tackle Streamed TV Broadcasting Piracy

Thursday, January 9th, 2020 (11:08 am) - Score 1,917
copyright alert uk internet piracy

Communications provider and UK ISP BT, which through their TV division have established a sizeable broadcasting business, has today moved to tackle the rising piracy of premium content transmitted via satellite by harnessing technology from video infrastructure company ATEME.

At this point you might well be wondering why BT are talking about Satellite links, particularly when BT TV is a largely broadband based content delivery platform (ignoring BT TV via Sky). The reason is because a lot of the broadcasts themselves, such as from international sport, still get sent via satellites and those can be intercepted (resulting in a lot of illegal internet video streams).

In order to combat this BT will implement ATEME’s encryption techniques to protect satellite uplinked content (they’ll also offer this to their media and broadcast customers around the world to help reduce the number of illegal streams). Essentially BT is the first in the UK to provide the industry with ATEME’s encoder, which uses BISS-CA (Basic Interoperable Scrambling System Conditional Access) encryption.

ATEME’s encoder can also be used across a variety of systems and software and determines the origin of an illegal stream with content being watermarked. Media rights holders can also grant and revoke receiving rights in real-time, securing broadcasts from the source to its end destination.

Dominik Wrona, BT Head of TV Outside Broadcast, said:

“For BT it’s imperative that we protect broadcasters from the threat of illegal piracy and ensure that those watching the content legally are getting the best viewing experience possible, wherever they are in the world. By incorporating ATEME’s encoder in to our satellite solutions we’re able to provide customers with the greatest efficiency and security while also maintaining the highest video quality standards for content in the UK.”

BT first used this encoder during BTSport’s transmission of the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 4th August 2019 and it has continued to be used to protect each of BTSport’s Premier League live broadcasts this season.

TV piracy remains an escalating problem, and according to anti-piracy company MUSO, nearly 190 billion visits were made to illegal piracy websites last year alone (it’s unclear if they excluded bots from that). Of this number, 5.75 billion came from the UK and 17.4 billion from the US. Piracy is especially prevalent in the sports industry and allegedly costs Premier League clubs around £1m in sponsorship money every game.

Admittedly there are other ways of creating illegal streams but it looks like this may help to tackle one of the bigger problems.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar Jake

    This announcement is one only of pure embarrassment and stupidity for the parties involved.

    Using BISS is so insecure they may as well continue to broadcast in the clear.

    There are plenty of tools/devices out there that can predict BISS keys with 94% accuracy in under 30 seconds.

    Typical penny-pinching clueless BT mismanagement. They will probably even award themselves bonuses resulting from this wonderful decision.

    ‘Piracy’ is a phenomenon arising from mismatch between creator/distributor expectations and economic reality.

    BT could easily use Fibre Optic leased lines – they have their entire network available for absolutely free – rather than paying for satellite airtime.

    • Avatar CarlT

      1) They don’t have their entire network available for free. BT Consumer have to pay to use it same as everyone else.

      2) That’s not much use in reaching someone not using BT as an ISP.

      3) BISS-CA is an extension to BISS that allows changing of session key in stream which should help with security.

      4) ‘Piracy’ is a phenomenon of people not wanting to pay for content and having ways to consume it without paying. If economic reality were the cause content publishers and providers would go bust as, in the real world, if a product is actually overpriced for its market it doesn’t sell and you cannot beat free.

      Nice attempt at justifying it, though. People can and are paying for the content at the market rates. Neither you or I are the arbiter of whether that rate is reasonable, the market as a whole is.

      FWIW the a la carte options presented by BT are way better than forcing huge bundles on people. Those you could object to.

  2. Avatar Ray Woodward

    I can remember the days back in the 90’s when such feeds were FTA (they only started encrypting such things as the satellites improved to the point where 90cm/1m dishes became the norm).

    It sems the recent FA/gambling going ons seems to have stirred some possible action,,,

    https://www.surreycomet.co.uk/uk_national_sport/18152321.fa-cup-matches-outside-blackout-period-shown-bbc-bt-sport/

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