USA: Cardless conditional access systems (CAS) leverage a combination of hardware security protections built into the System on Chip (SoC) video processor; software mechanisms that protect secrets and software/hardware that detects and responds to tampering attempts.
Many operators today see software security as catching up to hardware security in terms of ability to cost-effectively protect content, especially in emerging markets with low content value (measured by monthly average revenue per user, ARPU, for Pay TV services).
“Cisco (NDS) has shipped the most units of cardless security to Cablevision based on its K-LAD system,” according to Sam Rosen, practice director at ABI Research. “However, Nagra and Irdeto are leading this wave of shipments in low ARPU regions, while Verimatrix’s cardless technology is robust and gaining market attention.”
Cardless CAS has been used for a number of years in two-way IPTV systems, where the set-top box can exchange information continuously with the CAS server. However, these systems provide many opportunities to offer robust security that differ from traditional broadcast (one-way) networks.
We are entering a wave of cardless CAS delivered over one-way cable or satellite networks, which cannot rely on exchange of information from the set-top box to the CAS server, except perhaps during device installation.