Hem, Manager, DEN Network

"The Simulcrypt Standard addresses the requirements for the co-existence of two or more CA systems at a head-end with the objective of sharing a single broadcast environment. "

With competition growing in the market in terms of cost and acquiring maximum TV subscriber's Simulcrypt has become common in the Industry. Simulcrypt is nowadays opted by many cable and DTH companies and many are moving toward it due to:

  • Competition in terms of price and need to acquire more subscribers.
  • End up the monopoly of single CAS solution provider in their network.

Although Simulcrypt is more complex in terms of implementation and needs much effort and skill to manage but still industry is moving toward it because of business advantages since money matters at the end. Every business requires some form of investment and enough customers to whom its output can be sold on a consistent basis in order to make a profit.

Simulcrypt can be defined as using more than one CAS (conditional access systems) in a single network.

The DVB-Simulcrypt specification is a digital video broadcasting (DVB) protocol and standard published by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) for use in broadcast television head-ends. The standard was introduced by the DVB Project in 1997 and has been adopted by the vast majority of video head-end vendors around the world (the one glaring exception being the U.S. cable industry). The Simulcrypt Standard defines how CA systems should interface to certain head-end components in order to exchange keys and CA-specific messages for the purpose of scrambling the content prior to transmission, and descrambling the content in the receivers such as set-top boxes (STBs). It specifies the system architecture, timing relationships, messaging structures, extended interoperability, and control. The Simulcrypt Standard addresses the requirements for the co-existence of two or more CA systems at a head-end with the objective of sharing a single broadcast environment. This is based on the concept of a shared scrambling and descrambling method while allowing each CA system to perform its proprietary and secret key management through a common protocol of end-to-end CA messaging.

Simulcrypt uses multiple STBs, each using a different CA system, to authorize the programs for display. The different ECMs and EMMs required by each CA system are transmitted simultaneously. Each STB recognizes and uses the appropriate ECM and EMM needed for authorization.

Advantages of Simulcrypt:

  • Interoperability between multiplexers/scramblers and CAS.
  • Enable dual CAS strategies: Use of more than one CAS in the a deployment, with unique STBs per CAS
  • Enable CAS swap strategies: Like Dual CAS, but one CAS is gradually replacing the other, STB by STB

DVB-Simulcrypt is a widely accepted and core part of the modern digital broadcast system. Operators who understand the flexibility enabled by adoption of this standard have used it to transform their business.

By adopting Simulcrypt the network becomes more complex and requires more efforts and skills to maintain it like if a service is not scrambled in one CAS then it will run as FTA/FTC in the other CAS as well. Extra efforts are therefore needed to monitor the services in multiple CAS environment and same is with configuration as well, if you are running single CAS then you will have to configure the stuff for one CAS but with more than one CAS engineers managing the system will have to be configured multiple times depending on the number of CAS at both MUX and CAS side.

But advantages rule over the disadvantages when we talk of Simulcrypt and this is the reason that it has a global demand. Including Europe and the United States many big/small DTH and cable companies in India are using Simulcrypt and the number in continuously increasing at a very fast rate due to the advantages of Simulcrypt.