Widevine is a proprietary digital rights management (DRM) technology provider used by Google Chrome and Firefox web browsers (and some of its derivates), Android MediaDRM, Android TV, and other consumer electronics devices. Widevine Technologies was purchased by Google in 2010. Widevine technology supports various encryption schemes and hardware security to securely distribute video content to consumer devices according to rules defined by content owners. Widevine mainly provides a Content Decryption Module (CDM) as a client to Google Chrome and other browsers and devices. Widevine is free to use by content providers and as such does not charge any fees for license generation or device integration.
Widevine is a vendor of digital rights management software. One of its early technologies included a software system that replaced smart cards that eliminated the cost and logistical complexity of the card's distribution and introduced the abilities to process more sophisticated rights. It was purchased by Google within an acquisition trend that represented the search company's development needs.
Widevine DRM is used with the Chromium-based proprietary web browsers and on Android. It supports MPEG-DASH and HLS. Google Chrome and Chrome OS make use of Encrypted Media Extensions and Media Source Extensions with Widevine. Over thirty chipsets, six major desktop and mobile operating systems, and Google properties such as Chromecast and Android TV have adopted Widevine.
It is also used by Firefox since v47, released in 2016, by default on Microsoft Windows and optional on Linux; it can be uninstalled or disabled in the browser settings. Prior to that, Mozilla used Adobe's Primetime DRM library for some versions.
Open source projects
- Shaka Packager – Google developed open-source content packaging solution available on GitHub. The packager supports MPEG-DASH and HLS for VOD or linear based content.
- Shaka Streamer – Google developed simple configuration file based tool for preparing streaming media content.
- Electron Framework – Widevine partnered with castLabs to integrate the Widevine client into the Electron framework for use with desktop application development. The integration, however, still requires anyone who wants to distribute/use it in their application to sign a license agreement with Google.
- Kodi - starting from version 18, the add-on InputStream Helper installs Widevine automatically on supported platforms for DRM playback.
In 2019, a developer tried to bundle Widevine in an Electron/Chromium-based application for video playing and did not get any response from Google after asking for a license agreement, effectively blocking DRM usage in the project. He later got the reply:
I'm sorry but we're not supporting an open source solution like this— Google Widevine Support, https://blog.samuelmaddock.com/widevine/gmail-thread.html
The same happened to other Electron projects.
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nearly 4 billion devices
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