During the next few years, cable systems will apply digitally compressed video technology to provide a vastly expanded selection of programs and services to subscribers. The cable industry has a unique opportunity to apply fresh thinking to requirements for conditional access and security in the digital era, having lived for almost a decade and a half with addressability applied to analog signals.
This paper discusses the process and criteria by which alternative conditional access methods and architectures can be evaluated, and suggests desirable key attributes and features. The industry should not place on its systems/hardware suppliers the entire burden of assuring security, functionality and compatibility. A fresh approach to permit system operators and programmers to thoroughly evaluate security, in particular, should be an essential part of the process.