Apple FairPlay DRM

Apple’s FairPlay Streaming (FPS) DRM can securely deliver streaming media to client devices through the HTTP live streaming protocol.

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About Apple FairPlay DRM

Apple’s FairPlay Streaming (FPS) DRM can securely deliver streaming media to client devices through the HTTP live streaming protocol. With FPS technology, content providers, encoding vendors, and content delivery networks (CDNs) can encrypt content, safely exchange content, and protect playback in iOS, tvOS,watchOS, and Safari browser on macOS and iOS.

Benefits of Apple FairPlay DRM

  • Enterprise protection of your HLS audio and video
  • Uses and established key system already adopted throughout the industry
  • Native to iOS, watchOS, Apple TV, and macOS (formerly known as OS X)
  • Efficient power consumption on mobile devices
  • Full integration with Apple AirPlay
  • Licensed with no cost through the Apple Developer Program

Features of Apple Fairplay DRM

Hardware DRM support

All client environments that support FPS DRM, such as Mac OS, iOS,watchOS and tvOS, are highly secure at the hardware level. Widevine DRM can also be applied to Apple devices via the Chrome browser for Mac OS or the Widevine CDM SDK for iOS, but that is not suitable for premium content security because hardware DRM is not available.

FPS DRM is a must for content that requires a high level of security, such as the early-window movies from Hollywood studios.

Apple AirPlay support

FPS DRM natively supports Airplay, Apple’s wireless content delivery protocol. FPS content on Apple devices can be played on Apple TV through AirPlay without any additional coding.

Key delivery and decryption of FPS content played through Airplay is performed on Apple TV, the target device, with the same level of security as playing on the original device such as the iPhone.

Download and offline playback

Starting with iOS 10, download and offline playback of FPS content are supported. The relevant APIs provided by the OS can be used to handle downloading and managing HLS content with offline licenses.

Supported ecosystem of Apple Fairplay Streaming

Platform Version
  • macOS 10.10 or later: Safari browser
  • iOS 9.0 or later: iOS native app
  • iOS 11.2 or later: iOS Safari browser
  • iPadOS 13.1 or later
  • watchOS 7 or later
  • Apple TV: tvOS 10.0 or later

Support formats for Apple FairPlay

Formats Protocols
Streaming HLS, CMAF
Video TS, fMP4 container
Video Codec AVC(H.264), HEVC(H.265)
Audio Codec AAC, MP3

Integration if you use Apple Fairplay service directly from Apple

For integration with Apple, you will need an Apple developer account which will be charged for $99/year.

There are various components involved in order to have Apple Fairplay Service implemented listed below:

Key server and Key Security Module (KSM)

The key server manages the keys used for encrypting/decrypting DRM content. DRM solution or content service provider can implement a Key Security Module for FPS on their own key server by referring to the KSM sample provided by Apple.

KSM validates the key request data sent from the client and securely passes the requested content key.

Client Application

The FPS client app runs on Apple devices OS such as iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS. It requests the key for FPS content to the key server and processes the response. Content service providers can use Apple’s sample code to develop their own FPS client app or use a FPS SDK provided by a DRM solution provider.

FPS Content

To apply FPS to HLS content, each HLS segment must be encrypted by SAMPLE-AES method. The encryption method used for FPS content is AES-128 CBCS. Using packages or solutions that support FPS packaging, such as Shaka Packager, the KEY tag can be added to the m3u8 playlist of encrypted HLS content with related information.

DIY Apple Fairplay

Fairplay Infographic

FairPlay Streaming flow on iOS/tvOS

  1. Client app notifies the OS’s AVFoundation framework to play FPS content
  2. AVFoundation downloads HLS playlist (m3u8) from content server and checks KEY tag
  3. AVFoundation requests the key of the content from the client app (AVFoundation Delegate)
  4. App Delegate requests Server Playback Context (SPC) data from AVFoundation
  5. App Delegate sends generated FPS SPC data to key server
  6. Key server interprets SPC data through KSM module and retrieves key required for content playback from key DB
  7. The key server sends the retrieved content key to the client app in the form of Content Key Context (CKC) data.
  8. AVFoundation Delegate in Client app enters CKC data into AVFoundation
  9. AVFoundation decrypts and plays content securely using keys contained in CKC data

In Mac OS and iOS Safari, content key transfer and playback is similar to the above process. In this case, the Content Decryption Module (CDM) and Encrypted Media Extension (EME) standards built into the Safari browser are used instead of the implementation in the client app.

Why Choose PallyCon Fairplay DRM

Simple setup

Offline Support

Pay as you go with Multi DRM service (WV,FPS and PR in a single workflow)

No need to develop and manage individual components like Key server and Key Security Module (KSM), Client application, and FPS Content.

PallyCon manages and provides a key exchange server, keeps updating the service as per Fairplay updates.

Provides service in both API based and SDK based models.

FairPlay DRM Integration Flow (with Pallycon)

FairPlay DRM Integration Flow - PallyCon

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Integration Document (with PallyCon)

PallyCon Multi DRM service provides integration APIs and SDKs to support various client environments such as PC, mobile, OTT, TV platforms.

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PallyCon Multi DRM service provides integrated DRM license management and client integration of PlayReady, Widevine, and FairPlay easily and quickly.

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Fairplay DRM FAQ’s

How does FairPlay work?

FairPlay-protected files are regular MP4 container files with an encrypted AAC audio layer. The layer is encrypted using the AES algorithm. Upon attempting to play a file, the master key stored within the file is then matched to the user key, and if successful, allows playing.

What is FairPlay Streaming?

A delivery mechanism for secure keys that are protected on both the network and client. It secures the delivery of streaming media to devices through the HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol. Using FairPlay Streaming (FPS) technology, content providers, encoding vendors, and delivery networks can encrypt content, securely exchange keys, and protect playback on iOS, tvOS, and macOS.

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