Digital Cable Box

pirate cable box

Digital Cable Box How Cable Pirates Get Caught

There are many ways for a pirate to get caught. Since stealing cable is illegal in the U.S., you can be fined and sent to jail for theft of service. Cable companies claim to lose millions of dollars in revenue every year because of pirates, so they are serious in their pursuit of ridding them from their system.

A pirate will often show-off the fact they can get every channel to their friends. Pretty soon lots of people know about it, and then the cable company offers a “Turn In A Pirate and Get $50″ program. A “friend” needs the money and turns the Pirate in.

A pirate or more likely, unsuspecting housemate of a pirate who knows nothing about what’s going on calls the cable company to report a problem with the equipment or signal. The cable company makes a service call and finds gray-market equipment connected to the cable.

During a pay-per-view event such as a fight, the cable company offers a free T-shirt to all viewers. Little does the “Pirates” know that just before that message appeared on the screen, legitimate viewer’s boxes were told to switch to another channel while still displaying the original channel number.

So now the legitimate subscriber continues to see the “original” signal, without the T-shirt offer, while the pirate gets an 800 number plastered on the screen. The pirate calls, and the cable company gets a list of all potential pirates…


The cable company temporarily broadcasts some soft-core pornography onto what is supposed to be The Disney Channel (and vice-versa). They simultaneously reprogram subscriber converters to re-map the channels correctly, so the change is transparent to all but non-company converters. Those who call to complain about the “non-Disney” entertainment (or cartoons on the Playboy channel) are more than likely to have gray-market decoders or digital cable box.