|| Cable Piracy ||
|| by ||
|| Psycho Bear ||
|| Thanks: Mad Poo Bandit ||
After reading another G-file on cable theft that was almost completely
inaccurate and totally wrong, I felt that I was obligated to write a G-file
about cable piracy that really does work.
There are two ways to scramble pay-channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The
Movie Channel, Disney, Playboy, Bravo, etc.). I call them the "old" way and
the "new" way. (Yeah I know it's dumb)
The "old" way of scrambling channels works this way: The cable company
sends a clean, unscrambled signal of ALL the pay-channels, and only at the
"junction box", "cable box", "green dome" or "beige dome" are they scrambled
(this is not really true...a few channels like Disney, in my area, are
scrambled...so you'll just have to go without Goofy).
The cable company sends a clean signal out to a neighborhood in large 2
inch diameter underground cable. At every 4 houses; 4 houses square, that is
to say you, your next door neighbor, the house behind you, and the house
behind your next door neighbor (or every 2 if your house backs up to a street
or a park etc.) this underground cable comes out of the ground and into a
"green dome" ("beige dome" if it's every 2 houses) is split into 4 separate
coaxial cables (the same size as the cable in the back of your TV), and the
signal boosted. Then, depending on what each of the 4 houses subscribes to,
certain channels are scrambled.
The cable company scrambles channels by screwing the cable into a 3"
metal cylinder. These cylinders can range in size from 2" to 4" but it is
usually 3". The cylinder will have a sticker on it with one or more letters
telling what channel(s) is scrambles. For instance if it scrambles channel
20, it will say "NF-G", the last F being the important letter. If it
scrambles channels 20,21,22 it will say "NF-GHI". Cable companies are weird,
so they might put two of these cylinders on, say one "NF-G" and one "NF-HI",
but it will do the same job the as the aforementioned.
GETTING CABLE IF YOU DON'T SUBSCRIBE:
This is for the "old" way you've just read about. First, you'll have to
find where the "green dome" is. The "green dome" will be either a green dome
(of course) or a beige dome, with a yellow "Cable theft is naughty" sticker on
it. Like I said above, you have a one in 4 (or 1 in 2) chance of having it in
your own backyard. If it's not in your backyard, then find out whose backyard
it is in, and go over there some day when they're at work or something.
Now that you've located it, you must get the master lock off. There are
three proven methods of doing this. You can either kick the living shit out
of it, or take some pliers and grab the loop that the lock goes into, and bend
it off by twisting it back and forth, or take heavy duty wire cutters and cut
the loop off. And don't worry about the damage you've done; cable men do the
exact same thing, and if you're lucky they might have done it already! So it
won't appear to be anything out of the ordinary.
Once you've got the lock off, you can take the big green dome off. You
will see a box with 4 terminals (places to screw in cable):
| o o |
| | <-- the "box", each "o" is a
| o o | terminal to screw in a
| | <-- metal pole/big cable
they may or may not be any cable currently screwed into these depending on if
you and your neighbors subscribe to cable. If someone does not subscribe to
cable, there will simply be a terminal where the cable is not screwed in. The
terminal where the cable is not screwed in might have a little dull grey 1"
cylinder to prevent you from getting cable free. See, the cylinder is hollow
and will carry no signal, so if you reconnect the cable to it, you will get
nothing. DO NOT RIP IT OUT!!! I have, and it will rip the terminal right out
with it and then the cable company WILL come out to fix it. These things use
the same idea as child-proof bottles; you have to push "in"/towards the "box"
and then unscrew. It will take awhile to do this, so don't get perturbed.
So, if you are not currently subscribing to cable at all, there will be
an unused terminal, and one end of a cable lying somewhere in the dome. All
you have to do is reconnect the unused cable to the unused terminal, and there
you go! Instant Cable with all pay-channels included!
If you are paranoid, you can connect it at 6 pm (when the cable company
closes for the day), and then disconnect it before 9 or 10 am. This way, even
if they come out and look at it, it will be disconnected--nothing unusual.
Of course you can leave it hooked up ALL the time. It sounds crazy, but
Mad Poo has had the cable company come to his house four times and work on his
box, and they didn't say a word! I guess the cable linemen don't have records
of what everyone subscribes to.
GETTING PAY-CHANNELS IF YOU ARE ALREADY A BASIC SUBSCRIBER:
If you are currently subscribing to the basic cable service, and you want
all the pay-channels that you aren't already subscribing for, read this.
First you'll want to find out which cable/terminal you are. Go turn on your
TV and then go out to the green dome and unscrew one of the cables from a
terminal. Go back inside and see if you've disconnected the cable for
yourself. Once you find which cable disconnects yours, your done. And DON'T
leave your neighbors unconnected or the cable company WILL come out.
Remember how I said that cable companies scramble the pay-channels?
(above, in the BACKGROUND section) Well, those 3" metal cylinders are kept in
black plastic cases about 9" long. There are a few ways of getting the
cylinders off. The first is to get some pliers and grab the cable tight,
close to the black cylinder. Then grabbing the black cylinder as tight as you
can (so that it grips the cylinder inside), unscrew the cable. Once you've
got one side unscrewed, do the other side.
The second way is to get wire cutters and cut up the edge of the black
plastic cylinder. This is a lot easier, and this way you actually get to see
the 3" metal cylinders inside. I recommend this one.
When you're done with that, either attach the cable coming out of the
ground to the terminal (leaving you with one short length of cable; go use it
inside your house or something), or get a male-to-male coaxial cable converter
and attach the two (this will not look suspicious, as the cable company uses
THE "NEW" WAY OF SCRAMBLING SIGNALS:
Just like phreaking has it's ESS, so cable piracy has it's Addressable
Converter Box. The "new" way works like this. You have an Addressable
Converter Box at your house, which means that the cable company can talk to
your converter box and tell it which channels you are currently subscribing
to. ALL pay-channels are pre-scrambled (there is never a "clean" signal to
tap into, so the "old" way of cable piracy won't work). If you are currently
subscribing to HBO/channel 33, then the cable company will send a signal to
your converter box saying "un-scramble channel 33". So your converter box
will unscramble that channel.
The Addressable Converter Box is weird. Every hour or so, the cable
company will send out a signal to EVERY Addressable Converter Box and
depending on it's Address, it will tell it which services it gets.
Say my Converter Box's Address is 12345679 and I get HBO. So I take my
Converter Box to Mad Poo Bandit's house (who doesn't get HBO), and hook it up.
Then we can watch HBO over at his house now. See, the Converter Box can be
ANYWHERE. The only thing the cable company looks for is the Address of the
There are a couple of reasons you can't pirate cable with the "new" way.
One G-file talked about subscribing to ALL the pay-channels, waiting for the
cable company to send the signal to your Addressable Converter Box telling it
to un-scramble ALL the pay-channels. Then disconnecting the cable from the
Addressable Convert Box, calling them up and unsubscribing to all the
channels. Then when the cable company sends the signal to NOT un-scramble any
pay-channels, it will not reach the Addressable Converter Box because you have
There are two problems with this idea. First, the cable company (in my
area anyway) sends out the signal telling Addressable Converter Boxes what to
un-scramble, and what not to, every hour or so. So once you re-connect cable
after the little scheme, you'd lose the channels in about an hour or two.
The second problem is that if you leave it unconnected for too long (a
few weeks-a few months) the RAM of the Addressable Converter Box will go bad
and forget even how to work at all! This is no bullshit! When it happens,
you have to call up the cable company and ask for them to re-initialize your
Addressable Converter Box.
In some areas, they have not made the transition from the "old" way to
the "new" way completely. This is obvious: not everyone is going to go out of
THEIR way to get a stupid Addressable Converter Box. So the cable company
must use BOTH ways. So you'll have a the "old" scrambled HBO on say channel
20, and the "new" scrambled HBO on channel 33. If you are in the transition,
you can still use the "old" way of cable piracy.