CQ:Digitisation of Cable TV in India has brought many new CAS companies in the field from all over the world. Now we also have an India made CAS sponsored by the Government. An ordinary cable operator/MSO gets confused over features and costs. What should be the main criteria of selecting a CAS for a digital cable system?
Vidar: Selecting a CAS system is more important than just fulfilling the DAS regulations. In near future the operator will meet competition from other operators offering apealing streaming content to tablets, smartphones and the possibility to do time shift, start over and catch up on STBs. To avoid churn most operators will need to establish the same services. When introducing such services the operator needs to have a CAS system supporting CAS and DRM in a unified way to make such services seamless. So operators should look for a CAS supplier that also supports DRM. CryptoGuard is proud to be the first CAS vendor that supports the native free DRMs that comes with the devices. These DRMs are free to utilize for operators and approved by Hollywood studios.
CQ:Is there any way a CAS can be certified by the government once for all rather than every operator trying out different CAS and getting the audit done from BECIL.
Vidar: This is absolutely possible and CryptoGuard will be happy to support such an initative.
CQ:Suitability of a Cardless CAS in cable system
Vidar: When choosing a cardless system it is important to select a CAS vendor that have their CAS solutions approved by an independent audit company like Farncomb or approved by Hollywood studios. The reason for this is that it is harder to make a secure cardless solution than smart card solution. CryptoGuard is approved by Farncomb and approved by all Hollywood studios.
CQ:How to select an SMS & Billing systems so that it can be integrated with the CAS without any problem?
Vidar: The easiest choice is to select a SMS system that already is integrated with the CAS system. CryptoGuard CAS is integrated with all major SMS systems in India.
CQ:Can the operator go in for different vendors for CAS and Billing Software? Some CAS work only in the STBs manufactured by the same company. How do we overcome this problem?
Vidar: There is no problem having different vendors for CAS and Billing as most Billing vendors are integrated with CryptoGuard. Choosing a STB vendor that also provides CAS is not a good choice as these CAS/STB vendors seldom want to work with other CAS vendors to ensure that other CAS vendors support these STBs. The result is that the operator is stuck with this CAS vendor to operate these STBs. Also these CAS/STB vendors dont want to work with the STB vendors as they want to sell their own STBs, The result is that the operator is hooked into one supplier of STBs. This is not just a challenge when negotiating price for next delivery, but it may be that this CAS/STB vendor does not have the features the operator look for.
CQ:What features are essential in the most economical middleware?
Vidar: For regular zapper STBs the most economical middleware is the one that comes with the STB. Choosing another middleware adds a cost to each STB and it should be good reason when doing that. Such reasons can be by example if the operator want a common interface for STBs of different brands or new services like catch up and video on demand. CryptoGuard have several partners that can offer a unified user experience across different STB brands.
CQ:Can a co-operative of cable operators in small town of Phase III and IV share a CAS and SMS to reduce cost and yet comply with the regulations?
Vidar: The CryptoGuard CAS system has always been a true multi operator system where many operators can share one system. Then each operator can have a separate web admin access to their part of the system without making any issue for other operators.