Microsoft PlayReady

Secure audio/video content against unauthorized use, and help monetize content

Microsoft PlayReady content access and protection technology is a set of technologies that can be used to distribute audio/video content more securely over a network, and help prevent the unauthorized use of this content. This technology is used for defining, incorporating, and enforcing rights for digital media. The service provider and content provider can control the expiration date, the number of times a user can play the content file, the resolution of the content that can be played on a screen, the type of screen that content is rendered to, and many other control settings. PlayReady technologies can be incorporated into media applications on televisions, set-top boxes, mobile phones, tablets, personal computers, and other devices to enforce the content access rules defined by the content owners.


If this documentation differs from the language included in the Licensing Agreements, in the Compliance Rules document or the Robustness Rules document, those documents take precedence.

Widely deployed

Microsoft PlayReady is a Content Protection Technology that is massively deployed in the world. PlayReady runs on all sorts of devices and apps, and all operating systems. Thousands of services around the world and more than four billion devices use PlayReady.

Microsoft PlayReady content protection is proven, versatile and scalable. The development of Microsoft PlayReady is the culmination of over 14 years of research and development, with significant patent portfolio and a large R&D investment in content protection technology. Microsoft provides valuable and reliable IP protection to over a thousand licensees from all parts of the ecosystem to deliver millions of secured, premium content and assets. What makes PlayReady so effective in an ever-evolving marketplace is Microsoft’s direct collaboration with the media industry leaders, content providers, OEMs, Service, and Network Providers to develop features and functionality for premium entertainment scenarios.

PlayReady can work on non-Windows platforms (such as iOS and Android) and is used by most major online video services today. Visit the Licensing page to learn about licensing PlayReady for your business scenarios


As of 2018, the latest version of PlayReady is 4.0, released in October 2017. It adds support for content encrypted in AES-CBC mode, in addition to the content already supported in AES-CTR mode. Find more about the different versions of PlayReady here. We recommend that services and device manufacturers update to the latest version available. However, the PlayReady ecosystem includes servers and clients running various versions of PlayReady. Please see that same page to learn more about the interoperability of PlayReady Clients and PlayReady Servers.

PlayReady 3.0 and later supports media content composed of audio and video, such as music or movies. Earlier versions of PlayReady (1.X and 2.X) support other types of content, such as executable applications and ebooks. 

Links to other Sources of Documentation

Programming Reference