Two-way networks lead to cardless CA

By Julian Clover | May 21, 2009 | 09:57 UK

The move of pay-TV operators towards two-way networks is driving a shift towards cardless conditional access systems, according to TV Conditional Access Systems In Two-Way Environments, a new white paper from the Farncombe Consulting Group.

The consultancy says that although the traditional CA vendors have been developing their own cardless solutions, they have encountered competition from technology providers that originally entered the market to serve the IPTV and over-the-top television markets.

With the boundaries between the traditional one-way pay-TV networks beginning to blur with the two-way networks, Farncombe predicts the IP-based CAs will enjoy greater success with traditional pay-TV operators in the mid-term.

However, Farncombe says that in one-way broadcast pay-TV networks, smart card-based security systems are preferable to cardless ones, provided attention is paid to control word security. Cardless systems are at risk from so-called ‘perfect cloning’ in a way that smart cards are not. Significantly, if a system is breached, the replacement of smart cards is significantly easier than redeploying set-top boxes.