- Smart cards look like credit cards. These have a computer chip
about the size of a fingernail implanted in the card. It can hold up to
100+ times more information than standard magnet strip cards.
Typically they have a microprocessor and a substantial amount of
memory, say 1 Megabyte.
The smart card's CPU
typically is 8-bit.
The CPU's speed typically is slow, 3-5 MHz. It has some RAM
128-258 bytes) and ROM for the operating system. (A higher-end
operating system size is around 24 KB) and EEPROM (which acts like a
hard drive in a PC and can be erased and re-written on.) It can't
interface with keyboards, monitors and other peripherals but it does
have an I/O interface to communication with your set-top box
which in turn communicates with the content provider.
The card's built in miniature integrated circuit can
hold information about you - a bank balance, a phone card, timer and
even medical records. Passwords
determine who has access to the card's information. Smart cards can
modify the information they hold. Connection to a bank is not
necessary to use them. Some Web TV, Satellite service providers,
Cable service providers and others use them for security and monetary
transaction purposes. Smart cards are also used to identify you
as the subscriber and thus allow you access to a network.
The subscriber inserts their
smart card into the set-top boxes’
Smart Card Slot(s). (Typically the set-top box will have one or two slots. The
Smart Card Slots are part of the Smart
Card Reader.) If there are two Smart Card Slots in the Smart Card
Reader, typically one would be for electronic commerce transactions and
the other for providing authorization and authentication for the
subscriber to access the various services their provider offers.
Card Reader - Standard set-top boxes
can contain two slots for
'reading' the cards. One would be for
electronic commerce functions and the other for providing authorization
and authentication for the subscriber to access the various services
their provider offers.
Card Slots – (Smart Card Expansion
Slots) - The opening(s) on a set-top box
where the user can insert his/her smart card. Advanced slots can accept
next generation Smart Cards without having to change the Smart Card
Televisions – TVs with Smart Card functionality built into them.
Often the TV also has other advanced functions.