Tele Columbus opts for VideoGuard

German cable operator Tele Columbus has opted for VideoGuard to encrypt the digital television offering on its cable networks.

The technology will also be used for encryption of the new digital TV package which the company will feed to its cable head-ends via satellite from May in collaboration with Eutelsat’s KabelKiosk.

New customers will receive a digital receiver with inbuilt VideoGuard, which can also be used for internet content and interactive services via the return channel integrated in the cable networks. In order to enable existing customers to continue using their set-top-boxes, which currently use encryption systems either Nagravision or Conax, Tele Columbus will continue to transmit for a transition period in simulcrypt mode. This is to ensure a harmonious changeover to VideoGuard.

Tele Columbus currently serves around 3.7 million households. The change to VideoGuard comes as no surprise, as the company was reported to be involved in “intensive discussions” at the beginning of December 2007 with VideoGuard’s parent company NDS over the implementation of the system.

Already being used by Kabel BW and Arcor, NDS now has three VideoGuard customers in Germany. Due to ongoing piracy problems with its existing encryption system Nagravision, pay-TV operator Premiere, which already uses the NDS middleware MediaHighway for its hybrid cable/satellite and IP set-top-boxes, is currently considering a switch to VideoGuard.

“The security offered by NDS VideoGuard has never been compromised, and it offers impressive options. This is also why this system is gaining increasing significance on the German market,” explained Markus Schmid, COO and President of Tele Columbus. “With NDS as our technology partner, we can also offer the future content partners of our digital platform optimal protection against fraudulent, illegal use. We are delighted to develop the next generation of digital services on this reliable basis.”