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Conditional Access - (CA)
(Last updated in 2012)

Conditional Access
- (CA) - (In terms of Interactive Television.) (May also be known as: Authentication, Access Control System) - CA is an encryption/decryption management method (security system) where the broadcaster controls the subscriber's access to digital and Interactive TV services.  This can ensure that the person is who he/she says he/she is (authenticity). It also offers security for purchases and other transactions.  The subscribers have a set-top box or the equivalent that allows him or her "Conditional Access" to the services available through that service.  "Smart cards" and/or a private PIN number are most often used to access the services, and/or premium services, by the end-user (subscriber.)  The system is primarily made up of 3 parts: (1) signal scrambling, (2) encryption of electronic "keys" which the viewer will need, and the (3) Subscriber Management System - ensuring those who have bought the scrambled programming, are able to receive and watch it.
Subscriber Management System (SMS) is a combination of hardware and software as well as human activities that help organize and operate the company business. The SMS contains all customer relevant information and is responsible for keeping track of placed orders, credit limits, invoicing and payments, as well as the generation of reports and statistics. The SMS is part of the Customer Management System (CMS) and includes:

Entitlement Control Messages (ECMs)

Entitlement Management Messages (EMMs)

Subscriber Authorization System (SAS)

If the customer’s set-top box or built-in, has a “Common Interface” (CI), and it’s often best if it does, the set-top box or built-in can be used on more than one encryption system. Consumers can use detachable hardware, which allows them to receive encrypted services they pay subscription fee(s) for. The interface between the set-top box and the CI hardware is standardized so that the same set-top box can be used to handle a variety of encryption systems.

Some Conditional Access systems are/were:

    * NDS' Open VideoGuard
    * NagraVision's Nagra
    * Canal+ Technologies' MediaGuard
    * Telenor Conax - Conax-CAS3
    * SkyStream's DVB-Simulcrypt
    * Microsoft's "Access"

Other CA systems are/were associated with: Viaccess, Irdeto, Eurocrypt & Seca.