Digital Cable Descramble
Is Digital Cable All Digital? What can be descrambled?
No, digital cable is not all digital. Here’s an interesting fact to note: Typically channels 1-125 on your digital cable system are still analog. How do you know how many scrambled analog channels you have between channels 1 and 125? Simple: Disconnect your digital cable box and plug your coaxial cable coming from your wall directly into your television. Then scroll through channels 1 – 125. Every time you see a scrambled channel, you’ll know this is a standard analog scrambled channel. Analog channels can be descrambled with traditional analog descrambling equipment, which is widely available.
Many people with digital cable simply connect an A/B splitter to the cable coming in from the outside.
This switch is made by L-com. L-com has developed a series of modular, low-frequency manual switches having coax connectors for use in digital communications, video and data applications. These are non-constant impedance switches designed for use at frequencies up to 15MHz.
Once the A/B splitter is in place, people switch the splitter to A to watch television with a regular digital cable box, and they switch it to B to watch television through an analog descrambler. It’s literally that simple.
Note: Cable companies can use a technique called Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) to try to determine how many devices are connected to your incoming cable. In simple terms, a tiny, short test signal is sent into your residence and the time domain reflectometer determines the number of connections by the various echoes returned down the cable. Since each device is at a different point along the cable, they can be counted. Each splitter, filter, etc. will affect this count. A simple way to avoid being probed is to install a CATV amplifier just inside your premises before any connections. This isolates the other side of the cable from the outside, and a TDR will only show one connection to the amplifier.