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Is the Motorola digital cable “Blackbox” legit?

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Motorola Digital Cable “Black Box”

You’ll find many con artists online selling boxes like this one, but similar pitches for boxes of different makes and models are also prevalent. Beware of “digital cable blackboxes!” To the best of my knowledge, no digital cable blackbox in existence today actually works like the scam artists claim. I do believe some people have tried to alter digital cable boxes to get them to work, but I have yet to hear of one single success story.

In studying products like these, I tested a Motorola blackbox from a company called [Censored]. [Censored] actually did do something with the box to alter it. Look at the back of the box in this photo I took below:

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The square metal attachment and the two black cables shouldn’t be herez
(see yellow box below).

This entire metal protrusion and two black cables sticking out of the box were added by [Censored]. What is it supposed to do? Will this really get you free digital cable? It’s really hard to tell honestly. One thing I can tell you for sure is whatever they did here did not work at all. Maybe they just add something to the box that makes it look like they did something? After receiving this box I tried to contact [Censored] numerous times for support and every single contact attempt I made went completely ignored. They were obviously not interested in supporting their non working digital cable blackbox. Since receiving this box I have not been able to speak with anyone at [Censored] one single time.
UPDATE: I received an interesting email from an employee of the Motorola Broadband Communications Sector. Apparently the attachment above does in fact come standard with many cable boxes. Thus if this box was modified in any way at all, the modifications must have been internal. Here is the email:


That silver box on the back of the DCT2000 is an rf-bypass box, it comes standard with many types of our cable boxes. If a box is purchased legitamately, the installation instructions would have come with it:) Its purpose is to let analog cable through to a tv/vcr while still having use of your digital “tv out” connection. That’s its ONLY purpose. It will never let you “bypass” the encryption system or anything else for that matter. Just an fyi since i appreciate, for once, an internet site not condoning the theft of digital cable.

No matter what was altered in the blackbox above, here’s my take on why this box never worked: Digital cable boxes must be activated by your local cable company in order for them to work. Once a box is activated, your cable company is going to try to poll it. If your box does not respond to the polling signal then you are going to be booted off the network. No matter what people do to alter digital cable boxes, they’re not going to beat the cable company’s box activation requirements.

That doesn’t stop the con artists from making all kinds of elaborate claims, however. People trying to sell you boxes like this will claim they not only block your Pay per View billing from being sent back to your cable provider while allowing your box to communicate with your cable network anyway, they claim the box will also descramble all Premium Channels such as:

Pay-Per-View channels
Adult channels
Movie channels
Special order sport channels
Special events
Basic channels
Extended Basic channels

If this were true, it means you could get ALL programming, Pay per View events, and Premium channels entirely free. Essentially, boxes with claims such as these were created to beat the system in every respect. Or so the person trying to sell it to you says, anyway.

So, how does [Censored] claim the “modified” Motorola blackbox above works? First and foremost, they tell you that this is the actual box that many digital cable providers use, such as Comcast (which is true). Then the story continues like this: “These boxes are purchased at low prices directly from Mexico. The boxes are then opened and modified. First, the ‘memory chip’ that works with the Pay per View component of the box is replaced by a ‘zero memory chip.’ Essentially, the box has no ability to remember anything at all. Thus the box cannot possibly transmit billing for the Pay per View programming you order. Second, this box is pre-programmed and pre-activated to receive all pay premium channel programming.”

Well, all of that sure sounds good. Of course, unlike analog cable that was a one-way communication medium, digital cable is a two way communication medium. Thus even if such a box with a “zero memory chip” actually existed, your cable company could poll your box and would immediately know that you had a modified box. Your cable services would be shut down in no time flat. If ANYTHING inside your cable box is altered, it’s most likely your cable company will know because they can “talk” to your box at any time, and poll it for anything they’d like. Plus as I mentioned above, digital cable boxes must be activated in order to work at all (a box cannot “learn” your local cable system simply by being plugged into the network). Digital cable boxes have seriously good technology folks. And if you think the technology in these boxes is good, the anti-theft technology coming out in brand new high definition cable boxes is even better.

Bottom line: Don’t buy cable blackboxes that are advertised to work with digital cable. If you do, you’ll be throwing away your money. There are numerous scammers out there willing to take advantage of would-be cable pirates looking to get free digital cable. NEVER SEND SOMEBODY A PERSONAL CHECK.