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(photo credit: courtesy)
The HOT cable and YES satellite services will start transmitting digital (HD) broadcasts late this year or in the beginning of 2008, according to officials at NDS, a UK-based data encryption company that was founded in Jerusalem 18 years ago.
HD, facilitated by patented NDS technology, sets new standards for high-resolution viewing of TV, as well as of interactive content via the Internet and cellular phones.
NDS held its first-ever tour for journalists of its Har Hotzvim center in the capital on Monday, where more than 1,000 of its nearly 3,000 employees work.
Company officials said they didn't open the company's annual exhibition of new services to the press in an attempt to gain clients - who come largely by word of mouth - but to attract more engineers and other professionals to work for the company in the capital.
The highly profitable NDS, with annual revenues of $600 million, holds 34 percent of the world's market for the data encryption that makes HD possible and is eager to invest some of the $500m. in its bank account to purchase relevant companies.
According to Abe Peled, NDS's Israeli chairman and CEO, its strategy is to focus not only on the developed world, including North America and Europe, but also on developing counties such as India and China, where a growing middle class is ready for such services and hardware costs are rapidly declining.
"Some 500,000 new subscribers in India have been signed up in just four months. It is only the beginning," he said.
Peled said its technology made NDS the world's leading provider of conditional access to digital pay-TV operators. Its smart cards provide subscribers with access to digital services while preventing piracy.
This enables satellite and cable broadcasters to market the widest possible range of digital content while ensuring that subscribers pay for what they receive and receive what they pay for, Peled said.
NDS technology secures $32 billion a year in pay-TV revenues, and there are almost 70 million active smart cards in use in 25 countries and 15 languages. The potential market for HD TV is huge, as there are 1.73 billion households around the globe with TVs, more, said Peled, "than the number of families who brush their teeth." Of these, 142.7 million are digital TV subscribers.
Among the company's new technologies, some of them already available abroad, are HD television for subscribers over cellular phones and portable video players; Internet-based video that can be enjoyed in rooms that lack a computer; a special disk-on-key that transfers media for which one has purchased a subscription to a laptop computer that can be watched anywhere in the world; the wireless sending of personal content - photos, music and the like - over a home network to screens in all the rooms of the house; and the integration of broadcast TV from around the world with Internet and advertising on a single digital screen.
Users of NDS technology can digitally record programs on one channel while watching another - and halt them during broadcast while children eat dinner and then watch them where they left out without missing a scene.
A feature on the NDS tour will appear on Sunday's Science and Health page.