This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (January 2017)
The main differences relative to previous DRM schemes from Microsoft are:
- Some popular features that were already present in other DRM schemes in the market have been added; these include the concept of domain (group of devices belonging to the same user which can share the same licenses), Embedded Licenses (licenses that are embedded in the content files, avoiding a separate step for license acquisition) and envelopes (the ability to DRM arbitrary, potentially non-media content). It is also the protection scheme for IIS Smooth Streaming, Microsoft's adaptive streaming technology.
- It is platform independent: unlike other Microsoft DRM schemes like Janus, PlayReady can be ported to any kind of portable device, even if it uses non-Microsoft technology (OS, codecs, media player, etc.). But Microsoft itself has never developed or released a version of its PlayReady DRM for any open Linux distribution.
PlayReady competes with other proprietary DRM schemes and even more with DRM-free software, most notably Apple's FairPlay introduced in iTunes and QuickTime. There are several other DRM schemes that are competing to become the dominant DRM technology (e.g. Widevine).
Microsoft released the first version of the PlayReady suite (Porting Kit for devices, PC SDK and runtime, Server SDK) in June 2008. Silverlight 2.0, released in October 2008, supports content restricted with PlayReady. As of Silverlight 4.0, the implementation of Microsoft PlayReady in Silverlight supports offline content (via persisted license), subscription scenarios (via chained licenses) and online, streaming-only content (via simple non-persistent licenses). Output protection support was also added in Silverlight 4.0.
PlayReady is supported on the Silverlight implementation of Windows Phone 7.
Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008 and Windows 7 can allow content providers, such as TV stations, to use the PlayReady PC runtime to locally encrypt premium TV content, including otherwise unrestricted cable and satellite TV signals.
- PlayReady 2.9 and below is backwards compatible with Windows Media DRM 10 content, meaning that content encrypted with WM DRM 10 (for instance, content for PlaysForSure devices) will play on a PlayReady terminal.
- PlayReady will no longer be compatible with PlayReady 3.0 and above.[clarification needed]
- PlaysForSure compliant devices won't play PlayReady-encrypted content.[clarification needed]