Stealing Sports Programming through Cable, Satellite or IPTV: Ongoing, International
One of the auto mechanics who worked at my dad's repair shop here in Norwalk, Conn., moonlighted for a while as a Cablevision TV technician.
The technician - let's call him Timmy - had still another side-job where he'd get some pocket money "de-scrambling" signals through illegal set-top boxes, effectively giving basic package Cablevision subscribers access to premium channels for a one-time, cash fee. The Dinans participated in that program. (It was easier than pressing the old A and B buttons - A B A B A B A B - as fast as possible to get access to Playboy after 8 p.m.)
The art of stealing TV access - cable, IPTV or satellite - knows no international borders.
We hear today that the popular Arabic-language Al Jazeera Network's sports TV division - Al Jazeera Sport - has forged a deal with a Dutch company that helps companies protect access to their digital access.
Amsterdam-based Irdeto is set to protect the network's premium content with more than a half-million of its so-called "Smart Cards."
Specifically, the agreement is targeting the Gulf region's prolific illegal TV set-top boxes, which decrypt pay-TV channels - including pay-per-view and video-on-demand options.
Here's what David Canellos, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Irdeto, had to say: "Irdeto and Al Jazeera Sport have been successfully partnering in the Middle East for more than three years. We are very pleased to expand on this strong partnership and look forward to continuing to support the success of Al Jazeera Sport as a leading pay-tv operator in the region."
A glance at Al Jazeera Sport's Web site gives us a good idea of why the company's services are so desirable. The coverage - which serves nearly all of the Middle East as well as much of north Africa - is expansive, featuring all those sports that many of us U.S. citizens can't be bothered with: soccer, tennis, Formula One auto racing.
The company has more than two million subscribers in the region, and Al Jazeera Sport has an existing relationship with Irdeto, which encrypts its Nilesat satellite transmissions through the its Conditional Access System or "CAS."
The agreement announced today expands Irdeto's encryption services to two other satellites - Hotbird and Arabsat - so that content is protected for any subscriber accessing Al Jazeera Sport via any of the three satellites.
Games of TV-stealing cops and robbers have come a long way since my brother and I developed callous on our fingers from the A and B buttons on the old cable remotes, but the game essentially is still the same.
I wonder what kind of business Timmy would be able to generate in Morocco or Saudi Arabia?
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