Monthly Archives: June 2011

New pay-TV card-sharing scam uncovered in Cyprus

A rare example of a so-called ‘card-sharing’ pay-TV piracy operation has come to light following AEPOC’s announcement of a police raid in Cyprus.
On June 14th a 49-year-old Cypriot man was arrested for illegally providing subscriptions to the pay-TV offerings of BFBS, BSkyB and Nova.
The pirate is accused of having provided illegal pay-TV subscriptions to nearly 1,400 clients in Cyprus and across Europe – earning at least €100,000 over an eight-month period, according to some estimates.
Card-sharing exploits a weakness in the DVB conditional access system through which a legitimate smartcard is hacked to provide a stream of access codes which can be distributed for a fee to consumers unwilling to pay the full price for a pay-TV subscription.
Farncombe discussed the nature of this weakness in detail in a White Paper entitled: Towards a Replacement for the DVB Common Scrambling Algorithm.

Informa forecasts low usage of 3DTV despite rapid penetration increase

Informa Telecoms & Media has a new global forecast out for 3DTV take-up, which is pessimistic about the extent to which 3D functionality will actually be used.
The company is predicting that global penetration of 3DTV-ready displays will rise “fairly impressively”, from 0.2% of TV households in 2010 (~2.9m households) to 16.9% penetration (236.2m homes) in 2016. (Click on thumbnail below).

However, says Informa, only a third of that number (around 78.5m) will be active and regular users of 3DTV content. In other words, 3DTV will be more of a ‘feature’ that some will opt to use and others won’t.


Plum Consulting: ‘Using L-Band for mobile downloads in EU could generate €54bn over 10 years’

A new study by Plum Consulting argues that using the so-called L-Band in Europe (1452-1492 MHz) for a terrestrial supplemental mobile downlink could address burgeoning requirements for download capacity in the mobile sector, and generate net present value of up to €54bn over ten years.
Plum notes there is currently”a significant asymmetry of mobile communications traffic, with up to eight times as much data being downloaded than is being uploaded.” This is due to the very rich content being made available, ranging from videos, to apps and to books.
Plum concludes that the L-Band is “the ideal solution, not just to help address the spectrum crunch but as an important step forward in achieving the EU’s Digital Agenda target of providing 30Mbps access to 100% of European citizens by 2020.”

Heavy Netflix streamers bear out pay-TV ‘cord-cutting’ fears

New research from The Diffusion Group suggests that although the propensity for ‘cord-cutting’ (i.e. downgrading or termination of pay-TV subscriptions) in the USA is mainly associated with economic stringency, this changes amongst heavy users of Netflix video streaming.
TDG found that 61% of moderate to heavy Netflix streamers cited online video usage as the top reason why they would do so. Only 24% of this group cited economic issues as their main rationale.
For the average Netflix user, however, the finding was reversed: only a third would cord-cut because they thought use of online video was substitutive.

Verimatrix introduces StreamMark watermarking to protect early-release premium VOD

Security solutions provider Verimatrix has launched its new watermarking technology, StreamMark, to address the embryonic market for ‘early release’ premium VOD content in the USA.
The new market was engendered by an FCC waiver last year which allowed cable operators to use so-called “selectable output control” technology to prevent viewers from recording a movie while being shown on a TV set.
The studios had been reluctant to allow premium VOD content to be released ahead of the standard four-month moratorium between first-run theatrical showings and home video release without such a blocking technology being allowed.
The FCC’s attempt to introduce a similar control measure, the ‘broadcast flag‘, was over-turned by a court ruling in 2005.
StreamMark’s notable features appear to be that it works server-side (rather than in the set-top box), and can be applied to encrypted content without the need to access the keys, using a process called ‘byte replacement’.
The idea is that for each movie the system provides a set of marked/altered frames to substitute for the original ones. Then, each time the movie is streamed, the system designates a unique subset of these frames to be replaced on the fly at the server.
This unique combination of substituted frames identifies each one-to-one stream, and therefore the user ordering it.
If that stream is pirated – for example by the user recording the movie off their HDTV display using an HD camcorder and making it available online – the watermark should persist, revealing the identify of the pirating household.
ADD: Within days of the Verimatrix announcement, VOD specialists SeaChange International and watermarking firm Civolution said they would be collaborating to offer the latter’s NexGuard forensic watermarking for premium video-on-demand (VOD), targeted at cable operators looking to launch early release content.