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DVB Common-Interface (DVB-CI)

DVB-CI defines an interface between a DVB receiver (TV set, Set-Top-Box, Bluray recorder etc.) and a PC-Card module (Conditional Access Module, CAM). It consists of a transport stream interface and a command interface.

On the transport stream interface, a DVB Transport Stream can be routed through the module and optionally be descrambled. The command interface transfers commands like start descrambling. The DVB-CI dissector processes command interface traffic and some hardware events such as module inserted/extracted


DVB-CI was defined by DVB in 1997. An extension document followed in 1999, but the extensions defined there were never implemented in practice.

CI+ added content security and other features on top of DVB-CI. CI+ version 1.2 was published in May 2009, version 1.3 followed in January 2011.

standards documents

Example traffic

The screenshot shows dissection of the application_info() APDU. The capture contains no timestamps. If timestamps are available, the dissector can handle them.



The DVB-CI dissector was written by Martin Kaiser ( ). It is in beta state.

The following features of the DVB-CI standard EN50221 are supported

To complete EN50221 support, fragmentation of TPDUs will be added shortly.

Low-level MMI and low-speed communication will not be supported. The same goes for the DVB-CI extensions (TS 101 699).

Once DVB-CI support is complete, the next milestone is CI+ 1.2 support.

The dissector uses pcap files with datalink type 235. The corresponding format is documented at

Preference Settings

There are no preference settings for DVB-CI itself.

However, DVB-CI uses length fields in ASN.1 BER format in many messages. To dissect these length fields, the DVB-CI dissector uses the existing BER code. To display details of each length field, select Show internal BER encapsulation tokens from the Edit / Preferences / Protocols / BER preferences.

Example capture files

SampleCaptures/dvb-ci_1.pcap startup, requests for descrambling, removal

SampleCaptures/dvb-ci_2.pcap fragmentation and reassembly on the link layer

Display Filter

Capture Filter