An increasingly competitive conditional access (CA) market has moved the battleground to the emerging markets. Digital Broadcast maps out the current state of play among the region’s CA leaders as they ready their clients for the next round in the fight against piracy.
Nagra – Iraq, Mobision
The Mobision mobile TV service launched in Iraq this May, was not only the first DVB-H service in the region, it was also the first outing in the Middle East for Nagravision’s Micro SD based conditional access system.
The Nagravision cards allow any consumer with a certified DVB-H handset to subscribe to Mobision by inserting the MicroSD Card into the mobile device and activating the service using an Interactive Voice Response system.
The cards also contain additional flash memory allowing users to store their own personal data, such as videos, pictures and music on the conditional access card.
SIDSA – Qatar, Al Jazeera
Building on its previous three-year deal with Al Jazeera Sport, conditional access firm SIDSA agreed an extended ten-year agreement with the broadcaster last year.
SIDSA will be responsible for protecting the broadcaster’s pay TV content including the European Champions League coverage, and the network’s HD channel.
Following the Al Jazeera announcement the firm has turned further attention on the region with a strong showing at CABSAT and a promise to ramp up its activities across the region.
SIDSA is hoping that its experience across DVB-H, IPTV and satellite platforms and its product range over these three mediums will entice new business from companies looking to exploit the large and small screens alike.
Irdeto – Bahrain, Orbit
Irdeto is one of the longest serving conditional access companies in the region and has served all of the major pay TV networks in the Middle East at one time or another.
The company also holds a permanent base of operations in the region from the Dubai Studio City complex.
Orbit currently simulcrypts its signals using technologies form Irdeto and Nagra.
Viaccess – Jordan, ART
Pay TV operator ART announced in Novemebr 2008 that it would migrate its set top box population to the Viaccess Praha Card (Proactive Against Hacker Attacks) system.
Viaccess and ART have worked together for over 11 years.
“Our world class content protection products will bring premium content to ART consumers,” says François Moreau de Saint Martin, Viaccess CEO at the time of the announcement.
“The extension of our partnership with ART for the Middle eastern market is proof of the benefits provided by our security technology.”
The deal is also a reaffirmation of ART’s confidence in Smartcard based security systems.
“Being the main player of pay TV in the MENA region, ART network needs to be the pioneer in adopting the latest technology that is shaping the future of our industry,” says Abdul Aziz Yamani, CEO Arab Media Corporation, to which ART belongs. “The shift is of strategic implications and Viaccess technology meets our requirements and objectives.”
The Praha system combats card-sharing, according to Viaccess, a technique widely used in several Middle East markets including Egypt and Lebanon.
CoreTrust – Jordan, ART (Satellite/IPTV hybrid)
ART’s hybrid satellite/IPTV service is protected by Korean CA developer CoreTrust.
The company was selected for its experience of handling IPTV, cable and satellite networks for clients in its domestic market.
“CoreTrust has provided content protection solutions to major telcos, satellite and cable operators in Asia, North Africa and Middle East for the past decade,” says Arab Media Corporation’s Yamani.
Latens – UAE, du
Software-based CA developer Latens scored the IPTV contract with UAE telco du back in 2007. That service goes live this month under the banner du+. Offering many of the more complex services that a true two-way network facilitates also causes additional headaches for CA systems and digital rights management (DRM) structures.
The company has developed a strong relationship with its client, which has helped it to make further headway in the Middle East, according to Andy Mathieson, VP marketing at Latens.
With the du+ IPTV rollout representing a major landmark in the development of the platform in the region, the company can consider this a major victory ahead of future IPTV services set to launch across the region.
Latens does not presently have a permanent presence in the region, but has acknowledged that this situation is under review and previously identified Dubai as the natural location for such a base.
The company also has major clients and a research and development centre in India.
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