Irdeto Access B.V., in short Irdeto, is a private limited liability company registered in the Netherlands. The company develops software technologies, content management and distribution solutions and end-to-end services for the protection and monetization of digital content in digital TV, IPTV and mobile environments. It is managed from a headquarters based in Hoofddorp near Amsterdam and one in Beijing.
Irdeto’s products include smart cards, software-based pay TV conditional access systems and other chip- and software-based technology broadband, workflow and distribution. The products are applied to protect mobile media and TV content that is broadcast in a variety of standards based environments like Broadcast TV, S-DMB, T-DMB, DVB-H, or is used to protect content already present on a device, for example on mobile phones that are compliant with OMA 1, OMA 2, or on devices that apply other types of digital rights management (DRM). Additionally, Irdeto produces software and datacenter security solutions, Business support systems and middleware for set-top box software.
Irdeto's customers include pay television operators, telcos, content owners, and consumer electronics manufacturers. Irdeto is a unit of media group Naspers (JSE: NPN), which also includes a group of pay TV sister companies in Africa, Europe and Asia.
Irdeto reports that 500 customers worldwide use its technology on more than one billion devices and applications. The company currently has 900 employees and offices in 25 countries and holds over 200 patents with an additional 350 patent applications pending.
The company was founded in 1969 by radio engineer Pieter den Toonder in Dordrecht, The Netherlands. The company name is a contraction of Ir.—the Dutch abbreviation for a university-educated engineer—and the founder's surname.
In 2004, Irdeto and its Seattle, Washington-based mobile DRM business partner Lockstream Corporation together launched one of the first IPTV deployments in North America. In 2005, Irdeto acquired certain assets and liabilities of Lockstream though exact terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
In 2006, Irdeto acquired the assets, customers and employees of competitor Philips CryptoTec (makers of the Cryptoworks product line). CryptoTec had over 100 customers and more than 50 employees. The purchase price was not disclosed.
In 2007, Irdeto acquired privately held content security firm Cloakware for $72.5 million. Formerly an Irdeto partner, Cloakware software and data center security technology is used for fighting fraud and piracy over digital video and IP networks. Also in 2007, Irdeto acquired IDway SAS, a Paris-based middleware vendor and former Irdeto business partner that develops open software for digital TV consumer devices. The acquisition helped expand Irdeto’s integrated offerings for set top box (STB) manufacturers. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
In 2008, Irdeto acquired Entriq, a pay media company founded in 2000 by Irdeto employees to focus on emerging broadband markets. With Entriq’s acquisition of DayPort in 2008 prior to its own acquisition, Irdeto expanded its offerings to include content management and distribution of digital media over the Internet. Also that year, Irdeto acquired IBS Interprit, a provider of software for customer care and billing.
Preventing security breaches
All pay TV conditional access vendors are confronted with piracy and it is part of their business to prevent it from happening.
Irdeto introduced its first digital conditional access system in 1995, and a version with improved encryption technology was released in the late 1990s. The first smart cards with Irdeto 2 were brought to market in October 2000 and implemented at Multichoice in South Africa. A phased swap-out of older cards took place between October 2000 and end 2001. In September 2009 the company announced Irdeto version 3, also called CAS 3.
Irdeto, like nearly every pay TV conditional access provider, is constantly building additional security mechanisms into its technology to prevent piracy, including using technology from its Cloakware group company. Irdeto plays an active role working with federal authorities, local police and customers to break pirate business models and combat piracy in the pay television market.