Direct TV was one of the very first large distributors of smart card technology in their product. Each receiver has a smart card located inside that is keyed to the subscriber, and the decryption of the digital satellite video stream is completed by this smart card.
The access card, acts as a "license plate". The access card provides security and the encrypted information allows you to control your direct TV system. The access card allows Direct TV to store billing information that is specific to your account. The card contains a microprocessor that enables the card to act as a supporting processor for your satellite receiver. Wonderful isn't it?
Today, smart cards are used for an assortment of applications, together with electronic customer identification for wireless GSM phones in Europe and Asia and as new credit card offerings from Visa and american express card.