Ever wonder how satellite companies make their money? Well, other than that huge check you send them each month in exchange for their programming there are other clever ways satellite companies keep you from "borrowing" their services. One way they do this is by scrambling their satellite signals so that not everyone with a satellite dish and receiver box can pick up programming.
You may remember satellite descramblers from the good old days as huge satellite boxes that sat on your television and were connected to 18 foot satellite dishes, some of which had to be hand cranked. After a while, satellite companies began to notice that more and more people were purchasing satellite receivers. As premium and pay-per-view channels began to spring up satellite companies saw the writing on the wall.
First, the satellite companies charged you for your programming, and then they scrambled some of the programs so you had to buy another piece of equipment, or a chip to add to your receiver, to be able to watch the programming you had already paid for.
Generally, satellite programming was divided into two separate categories - Free to Air and Premium. You did not need a descrambler to watch this so-called Free to Air stations, but Premium or pay-per-view channels were often scrambled until you purchased the equipment to descramble the programs you wanted to watch.
Currently, your satellite receiver basically works as a satellite descrambler. All of the signals that come in through your satellite are digitally scrambled until they reach your satellite box. The box descrambles this information and puts it into a form where the satellite programs can be viewed on your television.
While satellite descramblers once were used as a way for the satellite company to make extra money, it is now a way for satellite companies to keep from being ripped off. For those of you who have satellite television, you know that you cannot turn back on a satellite box that has not been paid for, is past due, not activated, or was owned by someone else until you verify the receiver box with the satellite company.
This is so you can not use to box to steal services from the satellite company. This also explains why satellite companies don't mind leaving their satellite dishes in place even after service has been turned off. Since the signals are scrambled, it would take a technical genius to figure out how to unscramble the signals and illegally watch satellite programming.
However, Free to Air is making a comeback but not the way you would think. Some companies are producing what is know as pirate satellite boxes that basically take the digital satellite signal and descramble the signal illegally. People purchase these boxes for several hundred dollars but never pay any money to the satellite company. Satellite piracy is becoming a booming business and satellite companies are scrambling, for lack of a better word, to find a way to secure their signals so that can't be hacked.Does A Satellite Descrambler Let You Watch Encrypted Channels?