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Security Spec Readied For Home Networks

Las Vegas — A hardware-based specification that could help paid-for content flow securely between devices in the digital living room is getting its finishing touches. The Secure Video Processor Alliance — a group of satellite-TV operators and their technology providers — is completing work on the content-protection approach, though it is only one piece of a larger quilt of efforts the industry needs to stitch together.

"I think SVPA is ahead of the pack," said Brian Sprague, director of marketing in Broadcom Corp.'s broadband group, which designs chips for set-top boxes and TVs.

Broadcom launched an early SVP chip for set-tops, the BCM 7401, in July and followed up with a second chip at the Consumer Electronics Show here earlier this month. However, the industry will need to hammer out a wide range of deals between consumer systems makers and content companies to deliver a broad range of interoperable products that can share paid-for content securely, Sprague said. "OEMs and studios "are the two ingredients to a recipe for success," he added.

"There are many other [approaches to content security] out there — the market has a lot of shaking out to do," said Beth Erez, chairwoman of the SVP Alliance.

The SVPA scheme provides a way to encrypt, transmit and receive both content and rules for how that content can be used over a secure channel using a hardware-based authentication technology. While it is defined in a way independent of any particular transport, the scheme is initially being implemented to work with existing conditional-access systems of satellite-TV set-top boxes.

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