TV Asahi assessing new Flash Video technology

TOKYO — The TV Asahi network, together with three corporate partners, launched a test Monday of a new technology to prevent illegal copies.

In association with TV Asahi Mediaplex, Internet Initiative and Skillup Japan, TV Asahi is testing new Flash Video streaming technology, with copyright protection provided through an Adobe FlashMedia Rights Management Server.

The current Flash Video streaming used by TV Asahi, as well as other Japanese broadcasters, provides a high level of security, but the new encryption technology incorporates digital rights management (DRM) data into the Flash Video file itself, so that if the file is used illegally, it will be impossible to play back the video. In this way, the technology strengthens content rights protection.

Japanese commercial networks now strictly limit streaming of their programming to PCs and mobile devices out of concern that users will make illegal copies. The new technology is aimed at addressing those concerns and encouraging the expansion of streaming services.

In developing the technology, TV Asahi and Mediaplex have been providing the content and developing a program guide, while Internet Initiative has been in charge of network infrastructure and server operation and Skillup Japan has been contributing its expertise in copyright protection technology, including file encryption.

The content for the test is “Car Graphic TV,” a popular TV Asahi travel show that has been on the air since 1984 and webcast since 2002.

The test will run until Dec. 15 on the TV Asahi website.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more