Canal+ homes in on India's conditional access software market

There is no official word out yet on direct-to-home (DTH) and digital terrestrial transmission (DTT) in India but if the various developments taking place are any indicators, it is not too far away. Canal+ Technologies of France, a Vivendi Universal group company, announced yesterday its intention to provide its conditional access and middleware software to satellite TV channels beaming into Indian homes, the government owned Doordarshan terrestrial TV channels, the cable operator fraternity and all the 13 companies that have recently been granted permission to set up uplinking facilities in India. 

Canal+ Technologies has expertise in designing and implementing digital TV systems and in offering its clients open standard solutions. Its technologies today already power more than 12.5 million digital set-top boxes, deployed on every continent on cable, satellite and terrestrial networks, an official release states. 

Said Nicolas Andrieu, general manager sales-Asia/Pacific, Canal+Technologies: "C+T was the first to deploy digital satellite and cable in the interactive TV space in Europe in 1996 and 1997 respectively, and, in 1998, was the first digital terrestrial player in interactive TV in the world. It was also the first to deploy a Java-based middleware solution in 1999. I feel certain that Canal+ Technologies will play a major role in India's interactive TV revolution as well."

Over 20 digital platforms around the world already use C+T's software called Mediaguard and/or Mediahighway, including the Malaysian satellite operator, Astro Measat, which has deployed over 600,000 digital set-top boxes and the US cable operator WINfirst which has deployed iTV (interactive TV), over a fibre-to-the-home digital cable network. C+T has already deployed its CA system with the Zee TV bouquet in India. 

Added Bhaskar Majumdar, CEO, Recreate Solutions, the India representatives of Canal+Technologies: "C+T is keen to licence its technology to Indian set top box manufacturers as it has done internationally. It is also in the process of establishing relationships with all the major components manufacturers and software houses using C+T software including Mediaguard and Mediahighway's integrated development environments." 

As far as the licencing is concerned, one player that Canal+ is reportedly in talks with is Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd (HFCL). We are talking to HFCL to make the set top boxes in India. We are working out details of the deal like the licence fee etc, Andrieu, has been quoted as saying 

Canal+ Technologies is an international provider of interactive TV solutions which offers a range of flexible products to broadcasters and digital operators around the world. C+T has achieved leadership through innovation as it has the ability to integrate both head-end and set-top boxes. C+T has been a radical innovator right from inception in the 90s in the fast moving areas of TV Browsing, Pay-TV, Enhanced TV, Internet TV, T-Commerce, Entertainment and Personal Recordings. C+T was the global first to deploy a very popular horse racing home betting application in the millenium year 2000 and was also the first to deploy iTV over a fiber-to-the-home cable network in 2001. 

Recreate Solutions is a London-based company, with a major development centre in Mumbai, India. Canal+ has appointed Recreate as its representative in India for the Indian pay TV and DTH scenarios. Recreate Solutions has also been mandated to develop interactive TV applications for Canal+ for the latter's Mediahighway platform.

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