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October 30, 2009

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Sacred Cows and the New Pay-TV Marketplace

My compliments to Andrew Glasspool and his colleagues at Farncombe Technologies for two important, closely argued white papers published this year that are barometers of the changing times we live in. Their most recent paper, published this  week, on the Common Scrambling Algorithm (CSA) mandate that many pay-TV deployments must accommodate illustrates very succinctly how technical decisions that once were wholly supportable now hobble the transition of traditional pay-TV players to the new competitive world. My only misgiving here is for any sense in which the specifics of this issue might reflect on the reputation as a whole of the DVB. The guidance of the DVB and its contributors has been instrumental  to organize and commercialize digital pay-TV around the globe, and continues to do so.  The timely critique of a single technical standard should only be a cause to celebrate open debate - and legacy CA players who rush to the defense of this particularly sacred cow should see it as such. Rather, like scientists who see a grand theory smashed on the rocks of experimental evidence, we should recognize that the changing landscape does require a new assessment of the relevance of certain standards and grasp the challenge that this brings.

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