Sunday, July 10, 2016

Seeking Comment: Pay Channel Activation Convenience

Let's assume TV broadcasters transmitted both free and pay channels in the air. The pay channels are encrypted with AES-256. This is not like CableCard; each channel has its own code, like Wi-Fi, and the code can change monthly, yearly, or even stay the same forever. The frequency of change is up to the broadcaster.

If you had a Yagi on your roof connected to a "cable" box that could decode the pay channels only if you entered a code mailed or emailed to paying customers, how would you prefer to enter the codes?

  1. A keypad on the front of the box, or an onscreen keyboard controlled by the remote. You tune in the particular channel and enter its code, and the box remembers it until it changes.
  2. The codes are emailed to you by each individual broadcaster. Using Excel, you copy-paste them into a CSV file, place it on a MicroSD card, and stick it in your box.
  3. The codes are mailed on cards as both readable text and a QR code. You connect your (preferably Android) phone by Bluetooth to the box, open a cable box app, and scan the codes, instantly activating each channel, albeit one by one.
  4. You have a lightweight, nonintrusive Windows app on your computer. You put in a MicroSD card and click Synchronize. The app has your customer info which you entered during installation. Each broadcaster's server verifies your info and returns the code like Windows activation, but (ideally) minus all the grief. The app loads them all onto the card in a matter of seconds, and you stick it in your box.
I'm open to other suggestions, as well. Tell me your opinion in the comments.