The web is moving towards a multi-DRM world

The days of plugin technology for video delivery are numbered. Firefox disables the Flash plugin, Microsoft announced the end of Silverlight support, and Chrome is terminating support for all NPAPI-plugins including their own Widevine Classic player. The entertainment world is moving towards HTML5 with Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and Common Encryption (CENC).

This allows one common file format for video (MPEG-DASH) which simplifies the content workflow. Video services no longer have to package, store, and deliver different player and DRM-specific file formats like Widevine Classic (.WVM), Smooth Streaming (.PIFF), or Flash (.FLV, .F4V).

But the move towards HTML5 does not only mean a change in content workflow and player technology, but also a shift in DRM technologies. The Adobe Flash plugin uses Adobe Access DRM (part of Adobe Primetime) for the protection of premium content in all browsers and Silverlight is using PlayReady DRM in all browsers. However, when moving to premium video delivery in HTML5 each browser supports a different DRM system.

  Browser Version CDM Provider
Chrome Chrome 35+ Google Widevine Modular
Internet Explorer Internet Explorer 11+ (Win 8.1+ only) Microsoft PlayReady
Firefox Firefox 38+ Adobe Access (Primetime)
Firefox Firefox 47+ Google Widevine Modular
Adobe Access (Primetime)
Safari Safari 8+ Apple Fairplay
Opera Opera 31+ Google Widevine Modular
Microsoft Edge Edge All (Win 10+) Microsoft PlayReady

To reach all browsers you will need to support four different DRM systems in the future, not only with the backend but also with the player. Providing a smooth path to migrate from the current plugin technology to the future plugin-free environment is adding an additional layer of complexity. This might sound like large hurdle for companies that have operated one DRM system in the past and perhaps already found that painful.

However, cloud-based services simplify the situation, such as our multi-DRM service DRMtoday. All above mentioned DRMs (and more!) are provided via a single interface and the pricing model charges only per end user, independently of which DRM or how many DRM systems are used.


DASH Everywhere

To complete the picture, our cross-browser player supports legacy content formats and plugins while paving the way to HTML5. This makes castLabs the one-stop-shop and end-to-end solution provider for a migration to HTML5 and MPEG-DASH.

For inquiries about our multi-DRM service DRMtoday or our MPEG-DASH players for web and mobile, please contact


Posted by

Susanne Guth-Orlowski

Dr. Susanne Guth-Orlowski
Sales & Business Development

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