NDS Pitches Prepaid-TV Option

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NDS has extended its conditional-access system to let cable and other pay-TV providers sell prepaid access to video services to lower-income consumers, similar to the way mobile-phone services are offered in many parts of the world.

The U.K. vendor this week is launching VideoGuard Pre-Paid, an add-on module for its flagship CA system. NDS is partnering with Brand-ID Europe, a provider of prepaid-payment services that will supply the back-office payment component for the solution.

The concept has garnered interest from operators in several emerging markets in South America, Europe and Asia, according to NDS product marketing manager Howard Silverman. "With a pay-as you go system, instead of having to make a long-term commitment, consumers can buy TV service via scratch cards or vouchers for particular bundles or time periods," Silverman said.

The VideoGuard Pre-Paid system lets subscribers purchase credits for future viewing options or for immediate activation, using Brand-ID Europe's system. The entitlement rights are then sent from the operator's headend directly to the smart card inside the prepaid subscriber's set-top box to allow access to the chosen content.

Operators can use the VideoGuard system to offer different prepaid options, such as pay-per-view, pay-per-time, pay-per-channel, pay-per-bundle or pay-per-subscription, as well as provide different payment options including pre-entitled scratch cards and smart cards, or e-vouchers activated via text messaging or a Web portal.