European Space Agency

NextGen CAS for Sat Broad - Next Generation Conditional Access Systems For Satellite Broadcasting


This study will determine the causes of the current problematic situation regarding Conditional Access Systems (CAS). It will detail how the lessons learnt should impact the development of new CAS for broadcast services.

Because the industry developments have been mainly restricted to the needs of major players until now, the study will not target the main players of the industry but specifically focus on the requirements of micro-broadcasters.

The study will determine how ESA could provide beneficial support for the development of systems adapted to these specific players.


Digital TV broadcasters in Europe currently face a very high level of fraud, which seriously threatens their revenues. The proprietary systems developed for conditional access have shown to have weaknesses which can be quickly exploited by hackers. Multiple ways to by-pass the conditional access systems are explained in detail and largely disseminated on the Internet.

While content protection is critical to secure their revenue potential, this situation has generated a general mistrust of access control systems among the broadcasters. This suspicion is also shared by other categories of players, such as micro-broadcasters.


ESA is willing to provide beneficial support for the development of the next generation conditional access system.

The study will provide a recommendation for ESA to strategically sustain the development of enabling technologies and support an adequate system for micro-broadcasters.


Not Applicable.


This study includes five steps:

  • CAS Market Overview
  • Threats and weaknesses of CAS systems
  • Requirements for the next generation
  • Technology developments that may influence the next generation
  • Feasibility and appropriateness of an open approach

This last step will be the conclusion of the study and include a recommendation.

Octalis is also contacting broadcasters to gather requirements on conditional access systems. If you are interested, please feel free to contact Octalis (

Current status

The study is now completed. The Executive Summary, the Final Report and the Final Presentation are available.

Status date

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 13:29