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Philips VTrack Introduced to Fight PayTV Piracy

Philips Launches New Forensic Watermarking Tool to Help PayTV Providers and Content Owners Combat Piracy

Philips introduces VTrack, a state of the art forensic watermarking solution for set-top box integration, supported by major chipset vendors including Broadcom, ST and Texas Instruments

Complementing its extensive portfolio of content identification products, Philips introduces VTrack, an advanced watermarking technology that offers PayTV providers a new tool to get a grip on illegal content duplication and distribution.

VTrack embeds an imperceptible and indelible unique identifier into the video signal in a consumer friendly manner, as it does not restrict personal use and enjoyment of entertainment content, but pirated content can be traced back to a specific PayTV subscriber. By utilizing watermarking technology in set-top boxes, content pirates will expose themselves to greater legal risk if they attempt large-scale redistribution of improperly obtained content. Philips VTrack will enable content providers to confidently broadcast more high definition and early release material that is typically at higher risk for piracy.

“We are thrilled that Philips has entered the market with a session based, forensic watermark system. Forensic watermarks have already shown their merit in PayTV applications and help protect our premium content from unauthorized redistribution by counterfeiters and others,” says Andrew G. Setos, President of Engineering, Fox Group. “We look forward in the coming weeks to working with Philips to validate the performance of their system in our lab.”

The VTrack forensic watermarking product, designed especially for digital consumer devices such as set-top boxes and integrated digital TVs, provides the industry with an ideal solution to protect premium, copyrighted content spanning across PayTV, Video on Demand, and hotel TV. VTrack supports HD and SD content, is format independent and is therefore transparent for current and next generation codecs, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC and VC-1.

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“This additional layer of content protection is crucial to identify the source of pirated PayTV content,” says Nicholas Dunn, Marketing Director of Broadcom, DBS Products. “The integration of Philips watermarking with our chipsets allows for a short time to market and is a perfect match for our video processor technology.”

VTrack digital watermarks are extremely robust and cannot be separated from the content or altered. Even after severe quality degradation of the video such as scaling, cropping, compression and even camcorder copying, the pirated content can still be traced to a specific PayTV subscriber.

“Philips’ VTrack watermarking solution fits perfectly with our multi-media co-processor architecture,” says Christos Lagomichos, Corporate VP, ST Home Entertainment. “It brings valued protection to content while maintaining system performance.”

VTrack is the result of many years of Philips experience in high quality watermarking products. Philips has successfully protected pre-release movie screeners and has the only widely accepted and deployed Digital Cinema product. Philips watermarking has been commercially available for more than six years, protecting premium content.

“The main piracy threat in PayTV so far has been theft of service, which has been addressed by Conditional Access and Digital Rights Management. Now with the increased availability of HD devices and content, the capture and distribution of high quality content copies is a new threat requiring a different approach,” says Alex Terpstra, CEO of Philips Content Identification.

“There is now a solution in the shape of VTrack, which is robust and easy to integrate. The VTrack watermark survives camcorder copying and therefore plugs the analog hole. We are pleased to add leading chip vendors like Broadcom, ST and TI to our growing list of chip manufacturers that integrate this exiting technology.”

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VTrack will be shown at the NAB 2007 conference in Las Vegas, April 16-19, at the Philips Content Identification booth, LVCC, South hall, booth SU5229. For an appointment or a live demonstration, email to content.identification@philips.com or fill in the application form at http://www.philips.com/ci.

About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a global leader in healthcare, lifestyle and technology, delivering products, services and solutions through the brand promise of “sense and simplicity.” Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 121,700 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of EUR 27 billion in 2006, the company is a market leader in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring systems, energy efficient lighting solutions, personal care and home appliances, as well as consumer electronics.

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