Cisco Videoscape

Fate Acquired by Cisco Systems
Predecessor NDS Group Ltd.
Founded 1988
Headquarters Staines, United Kingdom
Key people
Dave Habiger, CEO
Abe Peled, Executive Chairman
Products VideoGuard Conditional Access
Videoguard Connect DRM
MediaHighway - Set Top Box Software
Broadband IPTV
XTV Digital Video Recorders DVRs)
Unified Headend
Interactive TV
Number of employees
5,500 as of Mar 2012
(4,200 technical)
Parent Cisco Systems
Subsidiaries Jungo

Footnotes / references

Other statistics: (12/2011)
CA/DRM              125 million pay TV households
Middleware          214 million devices

Digital Video Recorders    47 million deployed;

Cisco Videoscape (Formerly NDS Group Ltd.) is a Cisco-acquired development group, which develops software for the pay TV industry (including cable, satellite and others). NDS Group was established in Israel in 1988 as an Israeli start up company.[1] It was acquired by Cisco in 2012. The company is currently headquartered in Staines, United Kingdom.

Filling The Executive Chairman and CEO roles at NDS is Abe Peled with former CEO Dave Habiger having left in 2012. The company's major product is the VideoGuard conditional access system, which is used by more than 85 leading pay TV operators around the world. NDS technology includes end to end connections for satellite, broadband IPTV, Hybrid, OTT, and EPGs. It has launched VideoGuard Connect, the DRM for Pay-TV, designed to help TV operators to seamlessly extend their pay-TV services to connected media devices, enabling secure ingestion, delivery and consumption of premium content over both managed and OTT networks while maintaining subscription privileges across devices. NDS also provides advanced advertising, professional services and system integration services. New ways to secure content on PCs, tablets, and other devices are displayed at IBC and CES.

Cisco Systems announced the acquisition of the company in March, 2012.[2] It was later acquired successfully and in 2014 its name was changed into Videoscape, becoming a part of Cisco.


NDS Israel headquarters in Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem

The company was established in 1988 as News Datacom (NDC) by Dov Rubin, Jonathan (Yoni) Hashkes, Michael Dick & Yishai Sered - and soon joined by Mickey Cohen & Gershon Baron - in partnership with News Corporation and the Weizmann Institute, a university and research institute in Rehovot, Israel. The company was based on technology developed by the Israeli cryptographer Adi Shamir and his partner Amos Fiat.[1][3] Shamir and Fiat devised a coding solution for the encryption system used in satellite broadcasts.[4]

In 1992, one year after finalizing its product, the company was acquired by its primary customer, News Corp, for $15 million, and renamed News Digital Systems (NDS).[1] In 1999, the company began trading as a public company on the NASDAQ stock exchange. In 2009, Permira and News Corporation announced a $3.6 billion arrangement for buying the public holding in NDS, turning it into a privately held company.[5][6]


Legal issues

Israeli tax investigation

In 1996, NDS was investigated by Israeli authorities for allegations of tax irregularities. None was proven but NDS later paid a $3m settlement to close the case.[15]

Canal Plus Lawsuit

In 2002, Canal Plus accused NDS of extracting the UserROM code from the MediaGuard cards and leaking it onto the internet.[16] According to The Guardian, the NDS laboratory in Haifa, Israel had been working on breaking the SECA-produced MediaGuard smartcards used by Canal+, ITV Digital and other non-Murdoch-owned TV companies throughout Europe. Canal Plus brought a $3 billion lawsuit against NDS but later dropped the action. News Corporation agreed to buy Canal Plus's struggling Italian operation Telepiu.[17][18]

Echostar lawsuit

Echostar sued NDS for $1 billion for piracy and copyright infringement of the Echostar viewing card codes and for aiding the distribution and supply of pirate Echostar viewing cards for the Echostar-owned Dish TV. EchoStar alleged that in the 90’s NDS was responsible for the compromise of EchoStar’s satellite television programming platform through the posting of code on the DR7 website. NDS vigorously defended the allegations made against it, establishing that NDS played no part in the compromise of EchoStar’s security system. In 2008, a jury in California convicted NDS of violating the Federal Communications Act and California Penal Code, cleared NDS of other charges, and awarded $1,500 in damages.[19]

In August 2010, the Ninth Circuit stated in its decision that “EchoStar did not succeed 'on any significant issue' or 'achieve any of the benefit it sought in bringing suit' under the Communications Act.” The Ninth Circuit awarded NDS US$18 million and concluded that “There is no question that NDS successfully defended against all of EchoStar’s claims based on or related to its theory that NDS was responsible for the compromise of EchoStar’s satellite television programming security system.”

In February 2011, the Ninth Circuit further stated, “NDS was the prevailing party in this litigation and that EchoStar fails to meet the legal definition of a prevailing party on any of its claims.”

In January 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States of America denied a petition to hear a challenge by EchoStar. EchoStar and NDS agreed that the terms for satisfying the judgment should be met by 9 March 2012.

On 9 March 2012, NDS received from EchoStar the remaining balance of US$18,935,399.49, in full satisfaction of the final judgment, including district court fees and costs, appellate court fees and costs and all interest.

BBC Panorama

On 26 March 2012, the BBC programme Panorama broadcast that NDS employed computer hacking to undermine the business of ONDigital.[20] At the time, ONDigital was the primary TV rival in Britain of BSkyB, a News Corporation company. The accusations arise from emails obtained by the BBC, and an interview with Lee Gibling, the operator of a hacking website, who claims he was paid up to £60,000 per year by Ray Adams, NDS head of security.[21] UK broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is to investigate these claims.[22] These claims are vigorously denied by NDS and NewsCorp.[23]

Australia Financial Review Allegations

On 27 March 2012, the Australia Financial Review published further allegations about NDS' involvement in hacking the systems of competitors.[24] The Australia Financial Review also published online a sample of 14,400 emails allegedly taken from the computer of former NDS head of security Ray Adams.[25] The investigation by the paper alleges that NDS illegally undermined rivals Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when parent company News Corporation was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry. In response to these allegations, Australia's communication minister Steven Conroy called for a police investigation.[26] In response to the allegations, News Limited, the Australian arm of News Corporation released the following statement: "The story is full of factual inaccuracies, flawed references, fanciful conclusions and baseless accusations which have been disproved in overseas courts,"

Products and customers

As of December 2011, NDS VideoGuard CA and DRM were deployed in more than 125 million digital pay-TV households. MediaHighway set-top-box software has been deployed in more than 214 million set-top boxes. XTV PVR/DVR technology is used by more than 20 operators in more than 47 million set-top-boxes. It is more commonly identifiable under the names Sky+ (in BSkyB) and DirecTV+ (in DirecTV). NDS also supplies interactive TV applications, platforms, and development tools. NDS has over 5000 employees, with offices in the UK, Israel, India, United States, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Russia, Singapore, France, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Australia.

Leading customers include DirecTV (in the USA), BSkyB, Sky Italia, Sky Deutschland, SKY México, SKY Brasil, SKY Network Television (in New Zealand), beIN (in MENA), Viasat (in Sweden, Norway & Denmark), TotalTV, Foxtel (in Australia), China Central Television (CCTV), Yes and Hot (in Israel), SkyLife, CanalSat (in France), Astro (in Malaysia), Cablevision (in the USA), Indovision (in Indonesia), Tata Sky, Airtel, Hathway, Telecom Italia, Den (in India) and TrueVisions (in Thailand).

See also


  1. 1 2 3 From Underdogs to Tigers: The Rise and Growth of the Software Industry in Brazil, China, India, Ireland, and Israel. Ashish Arora, Alfonso Gambardella, Oxford University Press, 2006 . p. 84
  2. Cisco NDS Acquisition 2012
  3. David Brinn. The Israeli algorithm inside your satellite box. June 05, 2005
  4. Weizmann Institute rakes in royalties
  5. UK - Permira and News Corp. complete NDS acquisition
  6. News Corp. to de-list NDS. Globes.
  7. NDS Acquires Orbis Technology, a Leader in Software for Interactive Betting BusinessWire Dec 1, 2000
  8. Orbis Acquires Leading UK Online Interactive Games Developer, Electracade Ltd BusinessWire, Dec, 2008
  9. OpenBet in £208m management buy out
  10. NDS Acquires Certain Assets of Interactive TV Technology Company IDP in France.
  11. NDS Acquires CANAL+ TECHNOLOGIES MEDIAHIGHWAY Middleware Business from THOMSON S.A. BusinessWire Sep 2003
  12. NDS acquires Danish game design company ITE Pressbox, 02.10.2006
  13. NDS Acquires Jungo Light Reading; December 4, 2006
  14. NDS buys CastUp, as fiscal year profit and revenue rise Globes, August 7, 2007
  16. Cassy, John; Paul Murphy (2002-03-13). "How codebreakers cracked the secrets of the smart card". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  17. "Vivendi settles row with NDS". London: The Guardian. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  18. Tryhorn, Chris (2002-04-30). "Murdoch lines up Sky Italia". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  19. "EchoStar Wins Battle, Loses War In News Corp. Piracy Case". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
  20. Leigh, David (2012-03-26). "Questions for News Corp over rival's collapse". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  21. "Murdoch's TV Pirates". BBC. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  22. Milmo, Cahal (2012-03-28). "Ofcom expected to investigate 'hacking' of News Corp's pay-TV rival". The Independent. London.
  23. News Corporation’s NDS Denies ITV Digital Hacking Claims. Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  24. "Pay TV piracy hits News". Australia Financial Review. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  25. "Where the emails came from". Australia Financial Review. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  26. Pearlman, Jonathan (2012-03-28). "Australian minister demands police investigate News Corp 'sabotage unit'". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
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