HomeMobile EuropeViaccess advertorial - The challenge to secure mobile broadcast TV

    Viaccess advertorial – The challenge to secure mobile broadcast TV


    With DVB H being acknowledged as the official standard for Mobile TV in Europe, the OMA BCast Smart Card Profile standard is the latest application framework to be released and promises a great number of advantages

    After satellite, IPTV, TV over the internet, Channel editors have yet found another promising distribution channel with mobile broadcast TV. This new medium will not act  as a substitution product but as a complementary solution to access your favourite channels on the go. Where the promise is simple and appealing, the setting up of the value chain is not that simple. A glimpse at the variety of stakeholders involved in finding a satisfactory business model gives an idea of the inevitable headaches to be encountered before market launch.

    Among them, you'll find channel editors, regulators, broadcast and mobile operators, usually third party network operators, handset providers, regardless of issues about connected devices versus non connected (without GSM capacity) devices such as PMPs. And this is only at business level. Transpose this to technical level and you add some more complexity, with key issues such as responsibility over customer management, equipment, software integration. In order to make mobile broadcast TV a success, standardisation is key.

    Regarding the broadcasting technology, the European union is pushing strongly for the adoption of DVB-H. Regarding the application framework, the latest standard, currently considered in a number of European countries, is OMA-BCAST. The Open Mobile Alliance normalisation body, considering interest of all stakeholders, has defined a model where all constituents' interfaces are normalised and interoperable. This simplifies industrial challenges by minimising integration complexity and scope, and defining clear responsibilities for each provider of a part of the system.

    OMA-BCAST introduces unique new possibilities for Operators.
    First, OMA-BCAST allows to create a network agnostic service platform for a convergent unicast (3G) and broadcast (DVB-H) Mobile TV. OMA-BCAST encompasses the key services expected by the market such as electronic program guides, interactivity, data casting as well as some advertisement management capabilities. Another key aspect is the introduction of a new standard for guaranteeing services and content protection called OMA-BCAST SmartCard Profile (SCP). This profile relies mainly on the SIM card to deal with the security on the handset. It takes benefits of mobile operator's 3G network to perform authentication and delivering customer keys in a secure and safe manner. All the interfaces between the SIM card and the operator's server are completely standardised excluding any proprietary interface implementation and thus market fragmentation.

    OMA BCAST end-to-end framework includes:
    – the Service Guide, providing description of channels, programmes and interactivities 
    – the video encoders or transcoders that format the video content and scramble it 
    – the DVB-H IP Encapsulator for transport over distribution network 
    – the Conditional Access System, securing revenues and protecting content.
    – The SCP server will comprise two key elements with headend signal packaging, and SIM Centric deciphering capabilities.
    – the BSF server, interface with the operator's client database and the access control system 
    – last but not least, a DVB-H/3G OMA compatible handset with a SIM card
    With this model, unlike other versions of standards such as OSF, there is no fragmentation of the handset market as only one integration of a standard agent is required by handset manufacturers. All other parts of the end to end system functions through well defined interfaces, and regular meetings called ‘Test fests', organised by OMA, allow all providers to tests intensively their solutions within the ecosystem.

    Yet as for all recent standards, interpretation of key features can compromise interoperability, and this is another challenge to address. By just replacing one part of an end to end system you might end up with unexpected incompatibilities. It is therefore key to select the adequate providers, and make sure they are compatible with one another.

    From the Mobile Operator's perspective, the SIM card hosts yet another key application, as the container for core security of mobile TV. Security renewal becomes a key issue since a threat on the mobile TV security would trigger one of the two : either putting at risk the content deals, either changing all SIM Cards impacted. As a mobile operator, before selecting your SCP server, special attention should be given to countermeasures and responsibility over security.

    The paramount interest of a standard such as OMA BCAST for any of the stakeholders rely on valuable benefits:
    – Standardised interfaces: especially beneficial regarding availability of handsets
    – Simplified relationships between stakeholders: responsibilities being well defined, contractual and operations related issues become seamless
    – Time to market: by reducing integration workload on handsets and moving to interoperability issues, the lead time to build an ecosystem is reduced. Where six months on average were necessary to integrate software parts on the handset, those can now be reduced to the original integration of an OMA Bcast SCP agent by the handset manufacturer
    – Reduced broadcast network bandwidth with improved customer service access: entitlements are delivered through the 3G network directly to the customers that require access to a service
    – Optimize Deployment Coverage by allowing a 3G/DVB-H offer to coexist seamlessly.
    Provided the distribution network model is defined, as it depends on country-specific regulations, the main issues for any deployment will therefore focus on:
    – setting the adequate partnerships for acquiring contents and proposing a stimulating offer
    – selecting an adequate, pre-integrated set of providers for the end to end distribution platforms, including handsets and Sim cards.

    With an anticipated interoperability process put in place through partnerships, the best of breed vs suites debate becomes irrelevant. The best in class become part of a de-facto suite, as in the partnership approach conducted by ENENSYS, EXPWAY and Viaccess.

    The initiative launched in Q2 2008 by the three partners aims at providing customers and operators with a production ready end-to-end environment, including handset partners.

    The full scope system, available for trials and production deployment, includes optimised capacities inherited from each of the partners' exclusive features. On top of standards implemen-tation.

    ENENSYS head end system includes:
    – a Mobile TV transcoder (TransCaster) that turns IPTV or satellite feeds into H264 video stream. TransCaster can run in conjunction with CryptoCaster produt to enable a full SimulCrypt operation and secure content with Viaccess scrambling keys; 
    – a DVB-H IP Encapsulator (MobiMux), statistical encoding and Multiple Network Operators capable, that builds the DVB-H multiplexes for the various target platforms;
    – an SFN adapter that enables the synchronisation of all transmitters on the network;
    – ENENSYS also offers IP distribution means to distribute content from head end to transmitters , Test & Monitoring means (field testers, probes…) as well as a complete automated Network Management System.

    EXPWAY Electronic Service Guide Platform includes:
    – a Service Aggregator and a Service Designer that allows operators or broadcasters to manage their mobile TV offering and provide key services such as Electronic Program Guide, interactive services and advertisements;
    – a Broadcast Delivery Server that allows to push the service offering to the handset through the DVB-H networks;
    – a Unicast Delivery Server that allows to push the service definition to the handset through the 3G network.

    Viaccess's Conditional Access System dedicated to OMA Bcast SCP standard provides enhanced security and renewability. It extends lifetime of SIM cards and thus reduces SIM management costs for Mobile Operators.

    The three companies have conducted early interoperability schemes together, and announced a fully deployable solution. "We believe the best value we can propose clients with is turning the best in class products into immediately deployable solutions, and minimise integration costs" says Justin Deeley, Viaccess VP Marketing.

    "Integration level and close relationship between partners result in a smooth and simple configuration of the system with full guarantee in commercial handsets interoperability. Solution is performing and flexible enough to fit any redundancy level as per operator's requirements, thus allowing mastered integration of experimentation chain up to commercial deployment of DVB-H BCAST SCP networks. To switch from trial mode to production, a simple update of equipment makes it possible to move to an exhaustive SFN roll-out network. Such an incremental network design is the key for operators to build a secured business plan based on a sustainable system focusing on CAPEX optimization." says Eric Deniau, ENENSYS VP Operations & Innovation.

    "Having an integrated solution, full featured and carrier grade is a major breakthrough for the Mobile TV market. Operators, Broadcasters and Content Owners can safely rely on the partner's solutions to deploy a nationwise Mobile TV and to propose innovative services and contents that their users enjoy", according to Claude Seyrat, VP Marketing and Strategy at EXPWAY.

    OMA BCAST standard is the most performing standard for interactive and interoperable Mobile TV broadcast. Technology suppliers are striving to build fragmented offers around BCAST on the market, but the keystone for operators will definitely be the flexibility of the overall solution. Proven interoperability and reliability should be the core focus before deploying a trial or commercial roll out, and special attention must be paid in regards of prior tests conducted.

    This shall, on top of a robust and efficient standard selection, ensure smooth roll out of trials and production networks. Players like ENENSYS, EXPWAY and Viaccess should play a key role in forthcoming deployments with DVB H, and have shown to be ready for deployment, anticipating the market take off.