Thursday, 11 July 2013

Select a CAS carefully

1.Basic consideration for selecting a CAS : Selecting a basic CAS that can be upgraded later requires a detailed discussion. This may also depend on network to network. As a general thumb rule, the trend that is widely adopted by many Cable operators in India as follows:
Experience of the CAS vendor : History of hacking, deployment in different kinds of networks, support of simulcrypt, acceptability by major content providers and its operation on one way DVB network are some of the experiences that must be considered.

Secure : Provides security at multiple layers of the ecosystem including CAS head-end servers, networking, transport  stream and client devices. Support replacement of security protocols and software without full STB image OTA – i.e. must be possible to download security module and dynamically load minimising bandwidth requirements during a security upgrade.
Network Architecture: Supports all types of networks (cable/DTH/DVB-T/IPTV/Hybrid/OTT) fr0m a single CA Head-end supporting future evolution of network.
Interoperability : Support DVB-Simulcrypt standards to enable quick integration with new DVB-Simulcrypt compliant Scrambler devices Supports integration with CAM using CI+ and integration with 3rd partyDRM systems.
CAS Client Devices : CAS must restrict provisioning of devices on the operator network to those specifically purchased by the operator for deployment on their network. Similarly it must be possible to globally ‘black-list’ boxes on which security may have been compromised preventing them fr0m functioning on any network.
Business Models and Features : Supports Pay-TV business models including Subscription TV, VOD, nVOD and Push VOD, A-la-Carte oSupports Personal Video Recording (PVR) with internal Hard Disk and USB drives
CAS Head-End : CAS can be installed on standard x86 server hardware with fully redundant system architecture to ensure very high system availability and easy recovery fr0m fault conditions.

2.Provide dedicated local support teams offering 24x7 support with quick turn-around-time for resolution

3.Phased Implementation : To save on initial investments a CAS should be able to support the following upgrades.
Segment 1: Basic features Zapper with EPG, 1 or 2 embedded games on Standard Definition STB
Segment 2: Segment 1 + USB PVR
Segment 3: High Definition STB with features of Segment 1
Segment 4: Fr0m this segment, multiple options open up like Advertisements, interactivity, inbuilt PVR disk, PPV, nVOD etc.

4.Scalability : Scalability Chosen CAS must be able to scale as per operator’s current and future requirements in terms of subscriber scaling and services scaling. As a general thumb rule, a CAS must support a minimum of 1 million subscribers and 500 services.

5.SMS & Billing System : While selecting SMS & Billing systems so that it can be integrated with the CAS without any problem, one should ensure that SMS must be fr0m a reputed company with a number of deployments in India whose reference can be provided upon request. SMS must be able to quickly create adapters using the standards based XML APIs provided by CAS vendors such as Latens.  Other Standard features to look for in SMS are :
Web Interface enabling usage anywhere
Multi-platform compliant.  Access fr0m PC, Mac or Linux based computers
Multi User Multi location
Unlimited bouquet creation for various territories and regions
Completely secure and encrypted data flow
Billing and Collection management
Optional EPG creation and Pay-per-View modules
Customized user friendly interface based on company brand flair

Working with multiple CAS and SMS vendors : Can the operator go in for different vendors for CAS and Billing Software?  Working with multiple CAS and SMS vendors may have advantages but it is accompanied with additional overheads. For CAS, Simulcrypt is a DVB protocol published by ETSI for use in broadcast TV head-ends to enable multiple Conditional Access systems to co-exist in the same network at the same time. The standard also defines the interface between conditional access systems and head-end multiplexing components.


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