Conditional Access Module

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Conditional Access Module (CAM)

A Common interface (CI) module can be used to house many different peripheral devices, such as a modem, additional memory, games consoles, or more usually a Conditional Access Module (CAM) - sometimes referred to as a Common Interface Module (CIM, CI module). The CAM provides space for one or two smartcards (depending on the CI) supplied by the broadcaster. In theory, any CAM that complies with the CI specifications should fit in a CI module, but whether or not you can get it to work with VDR is a different matter...

Encryption systems

There are various different encryption systems, which are not mutually compatible. The CAM must be suitable for the system you wish to decrypt - often a CAM is only suitable for one system, while other CAMs can be used with a number of systems (e.g. the Joker CAM).

Below are examples of encryption systems (their use and sample broadcasters are given in brackets):

  • Irdeto
  • BetaCrypt (previously used by Premiere)
  • Premiere Nagra (currently used by Premiere)
  • Seca (Aston Canal+)
  • Viaccess (previously used by Viasat)
  • Conax (Canal+ Scandinavia, SVT)
  • CryptoWorks (ORF, Xtra Music Payradio, Wizja +, MTV, DigiTurk, CzechLink,
  • NDS (Sky, currently used by Viasat)
  • Nagravision

The best-known CAM is probably in the Alphacrypt CAM, which works with VDR. Unfortunately CAMs are not usually particularly cheap, costing between 60 and 180 euros (the Alphacrypt CAM is at the top end of this price range). Obviously you can sometimes obtain them more cheaply on the second-hand market.

Mascom now produces an Alphacrypt Light CAM, which works well with VDR (tested with vdr-1.3.16 and Fujitsu-Siemens DVB-C PCI with CI) and KabelDeutschland Digital or Premiere. The high-street price for this CAM is 66 euros.

It is imperitive that you find out in advance whether the CAM is compatible with your broadcaster and VDR.

List of supported Conditional Access Modules (CAMs)

This list is taken in part from

Note: no guarantee is given for the accuracy of this information, since it has been compiled by many users! The accuracy of the list is dependent on user updates, so please update it with your experience of unlisted CAMs.

Module Name Hardware / Software Version Encryption System Notes
Irdeto AllCAM 4.6
Irdeto AllCAM FreeCAM 2.0.20 Premiere Nagra with S01 card
AlphaCrypt 1.0 from 19/05/2001 AlphaCrypt
AlphaCrypt 1.0 with firmware 2.03 AlphaCrypt (not tested)
BetaCrypt (not tested)
Irdeto1+2 (not tested)
CryptoWorks (not tested)
Premiere Nagra with S02 and K02 cards
as of firmware 3.x the
parental access code cannot be
decactivated for all channels.
AlphaCrypt light 1.01 with firmware 3.01 tested with KabelDeutschland Digital and Premiere
Aston 1.03 Seca
Aston 1.05 Seca
Cryptoworks Cryptoworks
Telenor Conax Conax
Viaccess SMC Microsystems Black Label Viaccess
Viaccess SMC Microsystems Red Label Viaccess
Viaccess SMC Microsystems 1.0 V481, application V1.05.001 Viaccess
MagicModule PentaCrypt 1.05, 1.08, 1.09
GlobeCam 2.04
Tetracrypt 1.0
Gammacrypt 0.12b
No CA license

Premiere issue two types of card: S01 and S02. Please specify which version you have tested.


Problem: Using an SCM Viaccess CAM with a Nexus DVB-S 2.2, the card sometimes fails to receive, while the TV-Out still works.

Solution: It works again after removing and reinserting the CAM.


Conax works well with all distributions and an original subscription.