DVB planning CI Plus upgrade
By Julian Clover
February 28, 2012 11.53 Europe/London

Improvements to the CI Plus standard could include an extension of the CI Plus browser to take advantage of broadband connectivity in smart TVs as well as the possibility of transcoding and watermarking.

Writing in DVB Scene Martin Gold, chairman of the DVB’s commercial module for CI Plus, said any improvements to the planned CI Plus version 1.4 would include backwards compatibility with V1.3 functionality.

“Many pay TV broadcast and telco operators are interested in delivering TV content over IP, often as a supplement to broadcast services,” said Gold. “Host devices are increasingly capable of being connected to broadband networks, and have some ‘hybrid’ broadcast-broadband capability. Beyond the budget and small screen devices, almost 100% of IDTVs on sale today have such capability”.

ISOBMFF (ISO Base Media File Format) will run alongside the more familiar Transport Stream for the delivery of IP Content

The DVB began work on CI Plus in April 2011, following agreement with CI Plus LLP to develop the standard, which enables conditional access modules to be securely used within IDTVs. It has subsequently received widespread adoption by cable operators, often replacing the set-top box when the customer requires just a basic package, though the specification includes the ability to run branded VOD services.

Part of the new extensions in V1.4 allows for enhancements to the operator experience to the CI Plus browser for use with VOD and EPGs. There is also improved support for the launching of applications through host middleware including MHP and HbbTV.

Dual tuner functionality – previously only possible with the use of two modules – is being brought in and Usage Rules Information will be extended to support Trickplay.

The commercial group has also begun work on a new form factor for the interface to replace the PCMCIA slot.