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Home-Based Authentication for TV-Connected Devices

Home-based authentication is a TV Everywhere (TVE) feature aimed at reducing the need for users to manually enter login credentials while they are in their homes. Also referred to as HBA, In-Home Authentication, Network Authentication, Auto Authentication or IP Authentication, it allows users to bypass the step of entering MVPD credentials by performing a subscriber lookup based on methods such as set-top box (STB) identification or client IP address matching. This is simple from a technical perspective when the user is able to login on the same device on which they are consuming content. The same is not true for TV-connected devices, such as game consoles, network media player appliances, smart TVs, etc. The standard HBA workflow happens between the user and the MVPD during authentication, however connected devices usually do not perform authentication. Connected device applications typically depend on Programmer services to manage authentication.

These devices typically go through an activation (or pairing) step, wherein the Programmer client or MVPD portal requiring authentication displays a unique code and instructs the user to go to an activation website from a web browser. That website takes the user through the standard authentication process and establishes the user’s identity. After having established the identity of the user, the website then prompts for the code displayed on the screen, which will allow it to link the user to the connected client.

This activation step is required because some clients do not support HTML rendering, or do not have browsers that support all the features required by MVPDs, essentially making a direct login solution impractical. This activation approach adds an extra step to the user’s end goal of consuming content. The process is often slow, error-prone and, to the user, commonly perceived as an unnecessary obstacle to content consumption.

The OATC has published user experience guidelines for HBA (“Home-Based Authentication User Experience Guidelines for TV Everywhere”), addressing clients that support direct login, e.g. TVE websites and mobile apps. This document expands upon these guidelines to include TV-connected devices in addition to providing technical guidelines to implementation.

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