In the early 2000s cardless Conditional Access (CA) systems began to appear as an alternative to smartcard solutions for the protection of content in one-way broadcast networks. These early systems were largely software-only solutions, lacking some of the rigorous security features which were common in contemporary smartcards. In 2012, Cartesian (previously Farncombe) conducted an industry survey and authored a white paper exploring the future of cardless broadcast security. We revisit this survey in 2017 to explore the state of the art in cardless CA systems and the security features they now depend on in modern SoC hardware.
Our white paper goes on to explore the evolving requirements for a modern CA system. The introduction of UHD content and the need to provide an environment to control and manage content piracy extends the role of CA beyond simply content encryption. We find that these requirements cannot be fully met by a smartcard alone, which results in the need for highly secure SoC environments for both cardless and smartcard systems.
Our survey respondents have also observed the changing requirements of a CA system, and the maturing of cardless systems. Our white paper shows that 52% of our respondents agree that cardless systems are now comparable to smartcard systems, and 74% feel that they will not be using smartcards 5 years from now. Cardless systems are now a genuine alternative to smartcard systems for network operators.
Download our white paper to find out more.