Sophia Antipolis, 14 March 2014

ETSI has launched a new Industry Specification Group on Embedded Common Interface (ECI) for exchangeable Conditional Access (CA) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions. The work of this ISG is to consider a standardized environment for a general purpose, software based, embedded, exchangeable CA/DRM system. These standards should allow consumers to be able to continue using equipment and content they have previously paid for, after a move or a change of network provider, or access content from multiple service providers using the same device.

TV operators have established digital TV platforms which implement standards for basic functions, extended with proprietary elements. Most Conditional Access and Digital Rights Management systems used for broadcast or IP based content distribution capture consumer equipment by binding it with proprietary security related elements. As a result, consumer equipment configured for use in one network or platform cannot be used in a competing network or platform. This lock-in effect seriously restricts the freedom of many players in digital multimedia content markets. Preventing this constraint can only be achieved by interoperability of the Conditional Access and Digital Rights Management solutions in consumer equipment, based on an appropriate standardized security architecture.

The key benefits of a software based CA/DRM system are:

  • Flexibility and scalability due to software based implementation,
  • Applicability to content distributed via broadcast and broadband,
  • Support of multi-screen environments,
  • Opening of the market by avoiding lock-in for platform operators, network/service providers, and consumers,
  • Open eco-system fostering market development.

The first meeting of this newly created group will take place at ETSI on 8-9 April, 2014. Participation is open to all ETSI members as well as organizations who are not members, subject to signing ISG Agreements. A complete list of ISG ECI members is published on the ETSI Portal pages for ECI. For information or how to participate please contact Dr. Hermann Brand of ETSI at or