Harmonic Deploys VOD Encryption


Harmonic said it had begun deploying technology that will allow cable operators to avoid the pirating of on-demand videos.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based supplier of digital-video systems said it had begun to install equipment that encrypts movies, TV shows and other content when transmitted to customers, partly in response to the unauthorized lifting of on-demand videos that has been spawned by HDTV sets, according to Nimrod Ben-Natan, its vice president of solutions and strategy.

He said new digital-television sets have tuners that allow knowledgeable users to “force-tune” their sets to pick off videos that they have not ordered.

If they know the right frequencies, they can set their sets to pull in videos ordered somewhere in their neighborhood, by other customers, Ben-Natan said. Such force-tuning has taken place in Los Angeles, he added, where information about the frequencies to tune into gets shared.

The first cable operator to deploy Harmonic's “Narrowcast Services Gateways” with encryption was Insight Communications, a New York-based operator that serves 1.3 million customers in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.