The USPTO has just published TiVo’s Method and apparatus for secure transfer of previously broadcasted content and Method and apparatus for secure transfer and playback of multimedia content patent applications. Within the documents TiVo describes several methods to authenticate customers and securely distribute content via the internet for DVR and portable device playback. I’ve been pleading for some sort of VOD/PPV functionality, so the subscription and billing scenarios are particularly exciting. Content can be flagged by type (free, subscription, PPV), which in turn may specify or limit distribution and viewing. Interestingly, TiVo differentiates their DVR service from the content service/provider. Also of interest… it looks like they’ve documented the TiVoToGo MPEG-2 encryption/decryption keys as SHA-1 of your DVR network adapter’s MAC address. 😉
In another embodiment, whether through the DVR interface or through the website of Service Provider 106, a payment structure can be built into the system such that the user is charged each time a previously broadcasted program content is received by DVR 101. Thus, an additional screen requesting billing or payment information may be displayed to the user to enter in the appropriate information. This information is then supplied to the Service Provider 106 as part of the request for content. Alternatively, the billing or payment information may have been previously supplied to and stored by the Service Provider 106, such that any subsequent request for previously broadcasted program content is automatically processed without presenting another screen to the DVR user.