Overview: Digital Rights Management (DRM) in Video Cloud

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This topic provides an overview of using DRM in Video Cloud.


Digital Rights Management (DRM) prevents your videos from being played back except in clients that are granted permission to do so. Implementations of DRM vary, but the usual mechanism used is to encrypt the video and decrypt it only if the client has some kind of key to authorize playback.

Also see:

For additional content security mechanisms that can be set in either the player configuration or video properties, see:

Supported DRM types

Video Cloud offers broad support for DRM:

  • Comprehensive support for packaging, license serving and playback
  • Adaptive use of the appropriate DRM for a given device:
    • Video Cloud favors native device DRMs to minimize dependency on plugins
    • Video Cloud leverages standards to reduce the number of renditions necessary to deliver a cross-platform solution

Brightcove supports the three most popular types of DRM for HTML5 video:

You can sign up for multiple DRM types to protect your content on all devices and platforms.

Summary of DRM support

Support for DRM depends on the video format, as shown in the following table.

    Video Format Uses
    MPEG-DASH Smooth HLS  
DRM type Widevine Modular    
  • Desktop: Chrome (35+), Firefox (47+)
  • Devices: Android (6+), apps or mobile web using Chrome
  • Set-top devices: Android TV, Chromecast with the Brightcove Player (web)
  • Desktop: IE (11+ on Windows 8.1+), Edge (on Windows 10+)
  • Device: Windows phone
  • Set-top devices: The Brightcove Player (web) supports Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV, Roku
  • Desktop: Safari (8+ on MacOS)
  • Device: iOS devices (apps or mobile web using Safari) with iOS 11.2 and later
  • Set-top devices: Apple TV

DRM support details


DRM for browsers is for desktop or for mobile web (Chrome on Android 6+ devices; Safari on iOS 11.2+ devices). Brightcove uses MPEG-DASH and common encryption together with Widevine Modular, Apple Fairplay, and Microsoft PlayReady to provide DRM on the desktop - which type is used depends on the browser. This provides a single set of assets that can be played across different browsers while leveraging the native DRM that is available with modern browsers.

iOS and Android applications

The information below applies to apps built using the Brightcove Native Player SDKs. Note that in addition to regular playback, the SDKs also support offline playback with DRM.


For iOS devices, the current Video Cloud DRM solution is HLS+Fairplay.

Apple's FairPlay Streaming (FPS) technology provides a secure solution for delivering HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) video to Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. It uses an established secure key protocol and minimizes the power consumption on mobile devices.


For Android devices, the solution is MPEG-DASH + CENC (Widevine Modular).

Google Widevine offers a multi-platform, multi-format DRM and video optimization solution that content owners, internet video providers, retailers and video operators can use to deliver a branded, high quality entertainment offering to internet-connected entertainment platforms.

DRM Security Levels with Android Devices

Widevine implements a set of industry standards, including CENC encryption, licensing key exchange and adaptive streaming quality to manage video protection. Widevine supports multiple levels of streaming quality based on the security capabilities of the receiving device.

The levels of security are named L1, L2 and L3:

  • Level 1 - Hightest security level
    • Clear keys are only visible by security processor
    • Protected video path. Clear video is not exposed.
  • Level 2 - Less secure
    • Clear keys are only visible by security processor
    • No protected video path. Clear video is exposed.
  • Level 3 - Lowest security level
    • Key processing done by main CPU
    • No protected video path. Clear video is exposed.

Android devices support either L1 or L3 security levels, based on the hardware and software configurations. Only devices that meet the L1 specification can stream HD or higher quality content from Widevine-secured servers. If your device is only L3 compliant, you will not be able to stream DRM-protected HD content.

For more details, see the following:

Offline Playback with DRM

Offline playback allows users to download content while they are connected, and then watch it when they are offline. To protect your content, the Native SDKs use the following:

  • The Native SDK for Android uses Google Widevine
  • The Native SDK for iOS uses FairPlay Streaming

For details, see the Overview of Offline Playback with the Native Player SDKs.

Other devices

MPEG-DASH is supported by many devices, including Android TV and Chromecast. Videos packaged with DRM for the desktop browser can also be played on these devices.

Many consumer electronics devices support an older form of DRM - PlayReady over Smooth Streaming

Signing up for DRM

DRM requires an additional fee. Contact your Account Manager about bundling DRM protection so that you can secure your content wherever it plays.

Apple FairPlay

FairPlay Streaming is a DRM system developed by Apple for video content in HLS format.

To enable your account for FairPlay, you will need to:

  1. Obtain a FairPlay license from Apple
  2. Contact Support to configure your Video Cloud account

Known issues

Google Widevine Modular

Widevine Modular is a system developed by Google to protect video content in MPEG DASH format.

By default, Video Cloud uses Brightcove's Widevine licensing server.

Microsoft PlayReady

PlayReady is a DRM system developed by Microsoft. Playready comes in two forms:

  • Smooth PlayReady - Provides DRM protection for Smooth Streaming content
  • PlayReady - Provides DRM protection for MPEG-DASH content

Video Cloud uses Brightcove's PlayReady licensing server.

Configure your Video Cloud account

DRM must be configured for your account by Brightcove Support and your Account Manager. Contact your Account Manager for details.