Since its launch, Astro transmits programming with encryption to mitigate signal piracy. The receiver (also known as an IRD, or "integrated receiver-decoder") utilizes ISO/IEC 7816 smart cards which tell the receiver how to decrypt the programming for viewing. Astro is now utilizing a third generation of access smart cards.
The first generation of smart cards were used until 2004. The encryption uses the SECA Mediaguard.
The second generation of smart cards were introduced in 2004 and used until 2008. The encryption uses the improved version of Mediaguard.
The third generation of smart cards were introduced in 2008. This is the current "standard issue" smart card. It uses the NDS VideoGuard encryption system.
Set Top Box Manufacturers
Generation Manufacturer Model Year Introduced
1st generation/launch product Philips INS 610 1996
2nd generation Philips DSX7072 1999
Nokia DVB 8750s 1999
3rd generation Philips DSR4201 2004
Thomson DVB 850s 2004
4th generation Thomson 860N 2010