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NDS Signs Mobile TV Deal with Qualcomm

Conditional access and interactive software provider NDS has reached an agreement with cellphone chip giant Qualcomm to integrate NDS' conditional access technology with Qualcomm's MediaFLO mobile TV transmission technology.

NDS, which has previously provided conditional access to European mobile TV providers using the DVB-H mobile TV standard, will begin integration of its Simulcrypt Synchronizer (SCS) into QUALCOMM’s MediaFLO multiplexer software reference platform. It will then test its VideoGuard conditional access product with MediaFLO, which is currently used to provide Verizon's V Cast Mobile TV service in the U.S.

NDS will be customizing the Simulcyrpt Synchronizer software to meet the specifications of the FLO Forum, the group of wireless companies pushing MediaFLO as a global mobile TV stanard, so that any FLO Forum-compliant conditional access vendor can potentially integrate their technology with the MediaFLO system.

The goal of the NDS project is allowing more than one conditional access (CA) system to run simultaneously within the MediaFLO system, which would give Qualcomm the option of using open conditional access solutions from multiple technology providers. That type of flexibility will become increasingly important as more programmers target the mobile TV market, says David Richardson, NDS director of new media and business development, along with portable devices in general.

"This is where we think media is going," says Richardson. "The idea is the portability of media and the portability of rights--the seamless transfer of rights becomes so important."

For example, NDS has developed a content protection tool that works on a tiny secure digital (SD) memory card, allowing premium content to be downloaded and played on a mobile phone or the type of dedicated portable video players that Disney sells for watching children's movies on-the-go. NDS has also managed to fit its conditional access system on a USB key that can be plugged into a set-top or PC to allow access to premium content.