ORF plans card swap

Jörn Krieger

Austrian public broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) wants to swap the smartcards of some of its satellite viewers this autumn.

The broadcaster estimates that around 50,000 to 70,000 households using cards issued in 2003 and 2004 will be affected, writes Austrian newspaper Der Standard. According to the report, the move to exchange the cards was prompted by encryption provider Cryptoworks’ only guaranteeing functionality and most importantly security of its system for a period of five years. The new cards are expected to be issued for around €27 each, with affected households – as a way of compensation – receiving a voucher for a higher equivalent.

ORF distributes both of its domestic channels ORF 1 and ORF 2 for DTH satellite households via Astra (19.2° East). For copyright reasons the signal is encrypted in order to restrict availability to Austria. The smartcards necessary for reception are only available to domestic licence-fee payers.