Google buys Widevine to beef up DRM offering

December 6, 2010: 10:19 AM ET

GoogleTV, tablets and smartphones will all benefit from the technology to securely deliver video over the web.

Google (GOOG) added another little pickup to its holiday shopping list this weekend when it purchased a video DRM company called Widevine.  Widevine bills itself as a content delivery optimization and security company that focuses on bringing secure video on a wide array of platforms.

Google's YouTube subsidiary and GoogleTV are the most obvious benefactors of the new technology.  Both need to optimize the quality of their video broadcasts while ensuring that distribution partners know that their content isn't going to be repurposed by pirates.  At the same time, the video needs to be available on many different screens, from smartphones to computers to HDTVs.

In a statement, Google said,

The Widevine team has worked to provide a better video delivery experience for businesses of all kinds: from the studios that create your favorite shows and movies, to the cable systems and channels that broadcast them online and on TV, to the hardware manufacturers that let you watch that content on a variety of devices. By forging partnerships across the entire ecosystem, Widevine has made on demand services more efficient and secure for media companies, and ultimately more available and convenient for users.

Current Widevine customers include AT&T (T), Blockbuster, Netflix (NFLX), NBC.com (GE), Samsung, Telstra, Best Buy (BBY), DISH Network, LOVEFiLM and VUDU.  Google has promised to keep Widevine's existing agreements in place.

The technology won't just help GoogleTV and YouTube but it could also be used to secure and optimize teleconferences and VoIP communication.  It will also help to have Widevine's IP on board.


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