As far as entertainment options for hotel rooms go, television is king. Usually placed on the wall opposite the double bed, it provides an easy way to satisfy guests whose only interest at that moment is kicking off their shoes, jumping onto the mattress and letting themselves relax in front of whatever selection of channels or on-demand content is available.

Increasingly, hoteliers are investing in entertainment options that best match guests’ experience at home: namely, streaming services. Whether it’s Netflix, Amazon Prime or Sky, guests can now enjoy premium video content as part of their hotel stay. Yet, even as this brings operators into the 21st century when it comes to entertainment options, it presents entirely new challenges that were absent in an age where guests were more or less satisfied with flicking through channel after channel of world news or programming indigenous to the country they were staying in.

"Hospitality industry property managers need a costeffective way to maintain the security of high-definition TV content for premium cable and satellite broadcast providers, as well as video-on-demand content," explains Seba Yacoub, a senior technologist manager at Samsung Electronics. There’s a high copyright infringement rate for shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones – its seventh season was pirated over a billion times, according to piracy solutions agency MUSO. This has made content providers wary of handing out subscriptions to hotel operators.

Signal protection

Using Samsung’s LYNK digital rights management (DRM), however, forestalls this problem. By encrypting broadcasting signals from content providers to end-user devices, movies and television programmes are now protected from any attempts at pirating it made by guests. "The Samsung LYNK DRM protection area is the section between a headend (video server distribution hardware) or server and the client device," explains Yacoub. "The solution is designed so that resellers or system integrators can quickly and easily apply the solution to their systems."

The system works by protecting interactive internet protocol television, and non-interactive, digital audio and video content. "It can therefore be applied to any environment," Yacoub says. "That serves to reduce the overall cost of providing premium TV content security management." What’s more, because the Samsung LYNK DRM is entirely software-based, implementation and management of hardware-based entertainment solutions is that much easier. "Samsung LYNK DRM is a digital conditional-access system solution that can be ported on the main chip of a TV," says Yacoub. "The solution requires no additional chipset purchase."

Threading the needle

Furthermore, the software can be updated through firmware, with variable encryption keys automatically changed on a periodic basis. This neatly sidesteps the problem faced by other encrypted content security providers, whose solutions are compromised the moment the relevant encryption key falls into the hands of someone wishing to pirate content passing through the TV set and the headend, thereby necessitating the purchase of new headends and chipsets in order to avoid repeat incidents.

All in all, the Samsung LYNK DRM not only threads the needle between the provision of content options and compliance with copyright law, but also the lingering entertainment industry concerns about piracy.

Indeed, the solution has been endorsed by some of the leading content providers across Europe and North America. "Samsung LYNK DRM is verified by the Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator," says Yacoub. "It is also aligned with industry security standards, in addition to movie studios and major broadcasters like Canal+, Multichoice and Sky."