ARM announces anti-piracy chip

It's not all about DRM anymore -- we're entering the realm of hardware.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
Credit: ARM

In the midst of announcing a range of new processors at Computex 2013, ARM has announced a new type of piracy protection -- the Mali-V500.

In an announcement today and as reported by sister site CNET, the British chipmaker revealed a number of new silicon designs that cater for a range of future mobile devices.

Among the new processors is the Mali-V500; a mid-range mobile chip which reduces system bandwidth by over 50 percent in comparison to current processors. The Mali-V500 is a multicore video solution which is capable of scaling from a single core, reaching encoding levels of 1080p/60 and is also capable of decoding to multiple cores at 120 frames per second -- all the while supporting 4K resolution.

However, the chip design also centered around preventing the piracy of 1080p class video through the use of TrustZone security technology. According to The Financial Times, ARM also consulted Hollywood Studios while designing the chip, which is able to prevent the copying of copyrighted video as it is streamed or decoded on a mobile device. Chris Porthouse, director of market development for ARM’s media processing division commented:

"Hollywood movie studios and major content distributors like Netflix and others are demanding for premium or early window content -- their highest-value content -- to be protected not just by digital rights management but by the hardware, all the way from download through to display."

In addition to the piracy-thwarting hardware, ARM also announced a number of chips for mobile devices. The Cortex-A12 is more powerful than the Cortex-A9 and is planned for mid-range smartphones; whereas the Mali-T622 graphics processing unit is apparently 50 percent more efficient than its Mali predecessors.

ARM believes that 580 million mid-range smartphones and tablets will be sold in 2015. We can expected the new range of chips that ARM will produce to accomodate this predicted consumer trend to be available in mid-2014.

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