NDS, STMicroelectronics and Thomson said today (Sept. 10) they will develop new encryption technology to foil video piracy, a $3.5 billion problem for broadcasters and movie studios.

NDS, STMicroelectronics and Thomson said today (Sept. 10) they will develop new encryption technology to foil video piracy, a $3.5 billion problem for broadcasters and movie studios.

The anti-piracy technology, known as the secure video processor (SVP) platform, is designed for media companies to protect their content from unauthorized copying and redistribution.

A rise in piracy has accompanied the explosion of digital video players. Crafty programmers have discovered ways to crack into DVD players, for example, to make copies of Hollywood movies quickly and cheaply.

The new technology is designed to allow media companies to encrypt their content with their own DRM specifications and have it unscrambled for viewing solely by devices embedded with SVP-enabled chips.

The companies hope enough SVP-enabled video playback devices and TV set-top boxes will hit the market in coming years so as to allow consumers to transport the encrypted content to specially equipped SVP devices for playback.

NDS, 78% owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, has developed the anti-piracy software component for SVP. Beginning next year, Thomson will embed SVP-enabled chips developed by STMicro into its video playback devices and set-top boxes.

American satellite TV operator DIRECTV, a News Corp affiliate, is the first to use the new technology, the companies said.

The SVP alliance was introduced today at a broadcasters conference in Amsterdam.

--Reuters