CI+ is the abbreviated form of common interface plus. This term denotes a decoding technology which is primarily used in the pay television industry. It enables the decryption of encrypted television signals for reproduction on a television set without a separate set top box.

This is accomplished through a CI+ module – an electronic device which is inserted directly into a compatible television set.

A CI+ module has similar dimensions to a standard credit card, but is much thicker. In order for a CI+ module to work, it must include a smart card linked to a pay TV service (a cable TV provider, for example). UPC, Switzerland’s largest cable TV operator, offers a CI+ module with a smart card which it markets under the Digicard trademark. UPC charges an additional monthly fee for the use of this module.

In Switzerland, CI+ modules have two main uses: The viewing of encrypted channels by cable TV customers and; the viewing of Swiss public television broadcasts via satellite television.

Customers of Swiss cable TV services can typically view the most popular channels directly on their television without a CI+ module. However, a CI+ module is required in order to view additional channels without a set top box. Channels which can only be views using either a CI+ module or a set top box include the HDTV versions of popular German channels like RTL, SAT1 and Prosieben, the majority of channels in non-Swiss languages and many sports channels and special interest channels.

Television viewers who want to watch public Swiss television channels via satellite TV using a satellite dish must use a certified CI+ module containing the Sat Access Card supplied by the SRG/SSR. You pay a one-time fee of 60 Swiss francs for this smart card. Residents of Switzerland do not pay additional fees for the service. If you live outside of Switzerland you can still access public Swiss television stations via satellite, but you pay an additional fee of 120 francs or more.

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