Modern TVs are designed so that the owner gets maximum access to different signal sources with a minimum of additional funds. It is inconvenient for the user, for example, to control a separate satellite tuner or set-top box for receiving digital cable television channels. It is much easier when there are no additional devices, because everything is built into the TV and controlled from one remote control. This is implemented in modern TV models. But it is necessary to resolve the issue of restricting access to content to ensure intellectual property rights. Companies that provide content solve it with the help of CAM modules and CI.
What is CI and CAM module
CI (Common Interface) is a slot located on the back of the TV. Also referred to as a PCMCIA connector. Common Interface is a system that provides device owner access to encrypted content. Basically, TV channels act as content, but access can be given, for example, to a database of films and animations.
“CAM” stands for “Conditional Access Module”. The CAM module is inserted into the CI slot. A decoding smart card from a content provider (cable or satellite TV provider) is placed in the CAM module. Without it, the CAM module will not work, since all the information necessary for decryption is located on the card and is read from it during operation. In fact, the CAM module is an adapter for an access card to the provider’s licensed/paid content. The smart card contains a microchip. It provides identification of a specific subscriber in the operator’s network and unlocking content in accordance with the tariff plan. C1000-124 250-550 ACP-Cloud1 SAFe-DevOps 1Z0-1056-21 1Z0-1057-21 ATA02 Professional-Cloud-Developer L4M5
The CAM module is usually included with the TV. If for some reason it is not there, but there is a CI slot, then the module will have to be purchased separately. Alternatively, content providers provide CAM modules with the service. Usually it is offered for rent for little money.
How does decoding work?
Providers of digital content – cable television or satellite channels – transmit it in encrypted form. In order to unlock the signal of encrypted channels, you need a code that is changed by the provider according to a certain algorithm.
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This code is transmitted via the CAM module from the decoding smart card issued by the provider to the tuner. As a result, those channels that are paid for and included in the tariff plan will be unblocked, while others will remain closed. When changing the tariff plan, the provider remotely changes the codes on the smart card, opening or closing channels for the user.
In this way, you can unblock digital cable or satellite TV channels.
In order to have something to unlock, the TV must be equipped with the appropriate tuners. Reception of cable television signals is carried out using tuners – DVB-C or DVB-C2, and satellite – DVB-S or DVB-S2. Also, to receive satellite television, you must have an antenna that receives a signal from the satellite. The cable TV provider will transmit via cable.
Why CI and CAM module are more convenient
The main advantage of using CI and CAM modules built into the TV is that it reduces the amount of equipment used. You don’t need a digital cable box or a separate satellite tuner. Let’s list the positives:
The amount of equipment is reduced, it does not take up space.
There is no need for an extra outlet to connect a tuner or set-top box.
Only one control panel is used, and not two, as is the case with the console.
There is no need for additional cables to connect the tuner/set-top box to your TV. There are no additional nodes and blocks that can affect the quality of the image and sound.
There is no need to spend extra money on the purchase of equipment.
Easy to set up and connect.
Varieties of CAM modules and CI
Depending on the version, CI can support the installation of one or two access cards. Why might this be required? For example, if you want to receive content from two providers. Now, in addition to CI, there is CI +. This is an updated version of the system with an increased degree of protection against piracy. CI+ implements such features for the operator as a ban on recording programs, a permit for a one-time viewing of media content, or a ban on advertising.
CAM modules are of two types:
Single-system modules can only work with one specific type of encoding. Usually content providers supply them together with a smart card at the conclusion of the contract. Therefore, when changing the provider, you will need another module that provides signal decoding in a different network.
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Universal modules support several encoding algorithms. In this case, cards of different providers-operators can be installed in the CAM module. The device will automatically determine which decoding algorithm to use in a particular case. If you have a universal module, it is enough to get only a smart card from the provider.
What other devices are equipped with CI slots
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In addition to TVs, CI and CI + slots are equipped with receivers for receiving satellite television and some set-top boxes for receiving digital and cable television. At the same time, slots for the CAM module are available in set-top box models that are comparable in cost to a TV. In inexpensive models, such slots are usually absent.
As a result, the user of a set-top box equipped with a DVB-C tuner, but without a CI slot, will not be able to watch all cable TV channels, since they are encoded by the provider. If the CAM module is not present, only a limited range of transmissions will be available, which are not coded by the provider. Be sure to consider this point when planning your purchase and connecting with media content providers.