Following last week’s launch of a CI Plus module by Kabel Deutschland, Sky Deutschland CEO Brian Sullivan has indicated there is a “pretty good chance” that Sky might produce its own CI Plus module that could work with IDTVs (integrated digital televisions). Like KDG, Sky uses conditional access from NDS, its launch of a €69 in partnership with the Chinese supplier SMiT a major breakthrough given the earlier reluctance from NDS to entertain the plain common interface predecessor to CI Plus.
Sky is attempting to develop its relationship with Germany’s cable operators, last week announcing a triple play offer with the overbuilder Net Cologne, and confirming that a cable version of its new Sky+ personal video recorder would be made available.
“We haven’t 100% decided yet, but there is a darn good chance that over the next couple of months we will go ahead,” said Sullivan. However, he added that while he was happy with the distribution model he had concerns over the specification relating to PVRs, which are not supported. “If you have a TV set that has one of the few that also has a hard drive included in it, the way CI Plus works is that the content is decrypted before it goes on the disk, the problem with that is that the Hollywood studios won’t then let me broadcast anything to that device, because anything that is on the disk still has to be encrypted before it goes on the disk.
Sullivan expressed hope that the problem could be solved because at present the PVR functionality had to be disabled.
A difficulty for Sky is that if there were problems with some CI Plus units, Sky would potentially get the blame. Sullivan said this could potentially be resolved by producing a list of compatible TV displays.