Microsoft® PlayReady® DRM

Microsoft PlayReady DRM (“PlayReady”) is a comprehensive content delivery and management solution for entertainment products and services across all platforms and types of devices. PlayReady supports all content types and various user scenarios for premium VoD and Live TV. The flexible business models enables versatile user scenarios including subscription services, advertising, rentals and single purchases. PlayReady technology is pre-integrated with Microsoft browsers, operating systems as well as some smart TVs and set-top boxes. Adaptive bitrate streaming formats that can be used with PlayReady include MPEG-DASH, Common Media Application Format (CMAF), HLS, and Smooth Streaming.

Security options with Microsoft PlayReady DRM

The PlayReady Client Security Level defines how robust a client is against unauthorized use. There are two security levels (SL), SL2000 and SL3000. The higher the SL, the more robust the client: 

  • SL2000 is the original security level that was created by Microsoft from the launch of PlayReady DRM. SL2000 Clients are commonly referred to as “Software-DRM” Clients, because their robustness is backed mostly with software means. On some specific integrations though they could also make use of some hardware cryptographic functions.
  • SL3000 was introduced by Microsoft in 2015 along with PlayReady DRM v3 to formally define their “Hardware-DRM” Clients. In SL3000 Clients, the core functionalities of the PlayReady DRM stack must be implemented via hardware in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) of the processor. Hardware-based PlayReady is supported on a multitude of devices, including both Windows and non-Windows devices such as smart TVs, phones, and tablets.

Intertrust ExpressPlay Multi-DRM Service and PlayReady DRM

Intertrust’s cloud-based ExpressPlay multi-DRM service features support for PlayReady version 4, which implements the standards-based Common Encryption (CENC; ISO/IEC 23001-7:2016) using AES–CTR and AES–CBC encryption modes. A key CENC advantage is that a single protected file-set can be streamed to multiple devices, regardless of the DRM system they support, thereby eliminating the need to create and store multiple file-sets. 

The ExpressPlay multi-DRM service enables PlayReady protected content playback on all kinds of CE devices, from Microsoft and third-parties:

  • ExpressPlay DRM delivers PlayReady DRM licenses to OTT and multi-screen streaming operators and their subscribers, anywhere, using our cloud-based service and PlayReady native clients
  • ExpressPlay DRM supports PlayReady DRM client SL3000 to enable hardware protection via the TEE, which is usually mandated by content owners for premium and UHD content.

Please refer to the DRM Compatibility matrix for a full overview of the device types supported by Microsoft PlayReady DRM, and to our DRM FAQ for an explanation of technical concepts and terms. For more information on the PlayReady DRM from Microsoft, please visit

Intertrust has amassed more than 20 years of experience in designing, developing, operating and supporting DRM systems including the ExpressPlay multi-DRM service that enables the use of all common DRMs and a vast array of client devices. The Intertrust Professional Services team consists of highly experienced staff, who will make sure each project is executed and delivered on time. 

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Discover first-hand how ExpressPlay DRM with PlayReady support can protect your valuable assets and facilitate content licensing. Get started by requesting your free 30-day trial.

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The ExpressPlay multi-DRM service also provides support for:

For a full DRM platform comparison, please visit our multi-DRM platform comparison page.