Wider Future for Conditional Access and Digital Rights Vendors

The new study, `Conditional Access and Digital Rights Management,` considers global trends in revenue and shipments across cable, satellite, terrestrial, IP/telco, mobile and portable content technologies.

Oyster Bay, NY - November 11, 2004 - Conditional access - - the means to ensure that only authorized users can obtain licensed content - - traditionally applied mainly to cable and satellite platforms. It was provided almost exclusively by four companies: Motorola, Scientific Atlanta, NDS, and Nagra.

That is now changing, according to new investigations by ABI Research. The new study, "Conditional Access and Digital Rights Management," considers global trends in revenue and shipments across cable, satellite, terrestrial, IP/telco, mobile and portable content technologies.

This wide -ranging investigation identifies several factors driving and supporting an expanding CA/DRM market, according to ABI Research's director of broadband and residential entertainment technologies, Vamsi Sistla.

While traditional markets in cable and satellite distribution will continue to provide the lion's share of revenues, the number of platforms has been drastically increased by energetic new arrivals: IP and telco, portable and mobile, and some forms of terrestrial distribution.

This means not only that CA/DRM markets have grown dramatically, but that they are being filled by new vendors aiming to capture niches while incumbents may be more focused on their traditional customers than on emerging platforms.

Other encouraging developments, according to Sistla, include the CableCard initiative, part of the new breed of digital cable -ready TV hardware. There's also DSG: the DOCSIS Set -Top Box Gateway standard from CableLabs, which would allow STBs to seamlessly upgrade their conditional access systems via the network.

Finally, there are software -based encryption/decryption initiatives. "Traditionally," Sistla explains, "if you, as an operator, deployed your STBs with one conditional access provider, you were locked into that relationship. To change CA provider could mean replacing millions of boxes. By using software upgrades, you could either switch CA vendors, or update your CA systems transparently.

Sistla concludes by cautioning that these software solutions need to pass the test of time to provide same quality of service as the smart cards.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations that support annual research programs, quarterly intelligence services and market reports in wireless, automotive, semiconductors, broadband, and energy. Their market research products can be found on the web at www.abiresearch.com, or by calling 516.624.2500.

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