Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Underground History of Stealing Cable/Movies

Back before the world of torrents and megaupload, an industry thrived on getting the most bang for your buck when it came to maximixing your cable and movie viewing. I may be dating myself, but I lived in a time when there were only 7 fuckin channels (CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, your local channels and PBS). When cable came along it was a warped up version of TV. But still we had to figure out ways to buck the system because...who the fuck wants to pay extra right?

So I'm going to take you on a journey of how life was fuckin hard back in the day....when it came to getting free premium channels and well you know porn. Some of you may have done the same. It's a bit of nostalgia for all of us then so let's reminisce shall we?

1.) Stealing HBO (circa the 80s)

Even before Time Warner and Cablevision cornered the market, there was a way to get HBO for free before the world of Cable TV. You just had to have an antenna and box. HBO back in the day broadcasted via signal and so to get the Tyson fights you had to use an antenna stick that could be pointed in a certain direction and get the signal. It came with an old radio box to fine tune the signal. As a kid I would have to go on the roof to fine tune the signal. My dad really wanted to watch Tyson knock out somebody.

2.) The Black Box (the 80s and 90s)

If you're old enough, you remember the black box. The black box was a cable box (all different makes and models) that was reset to allow the box the accept all signals (including premium channels, PPVs and especially porn). It had other names such as cable descrambler but in essence it was set to be in test mode so all channels were accessable. The story usually went a friend of a friend who worked at the cable company could get you one for $100-$150. The drawback was the cable company could "zap" your box and reset it rendering it useless. It was risky proposition but if it remained viable, you'd get your moneys worth. One of your friends had one and stealing cable seemed like no big deal. Of course you could always have the cable guy activate your box for a fee.

3.)  DirecTV and H cards (circa the 90s)

The Internet was just in its infancy and the signal pirates were stealing serious loot. Thanks to DirecTV. All you needed was to purchase a satellite dish, a satellite receiver and a hacked H card. The dish and receiver were legit. The H card was the tricky part. eBay was a haven for purchasing hacked H cards. The card controlled what you were allowed to see. It was an actual card you inserted into your receiver and if you could manipulate it, you had all the channels. This all ended when the dish companies got smart and started zapping the illegal cards. Fun times ended by corporate greedy bastards.

4.) Napster and Limewire (circa the 00s)

I won't rehash Napster lore but Limewire was one of many P2P bit torrent programs to get the same content we wanted from the 80s. Everybody remembers their first download and the classic clips. I mean where did you watch the night vision Paris Hilton sex tape?

5.) The Torrent (present day)

Shhhh. It's still around despite what people say. I mean how you gonna watch Game of Thrones right?


So I hope that history lesson helped you understand that no matter how hard the television and movie industry try, the underground will find a way to get around it. People are willing to pay for the shows and movies they watch, be it we get what we paid for. Technology will always have loopholes. And where there are loopholes, the pirates will be.

All we want is to watch is some motherfuckin Game of motherfuckin Thrones. Why make it so hard?


  1. Ah, I miss those black box days, although I guess there's no shortage of free movies and porn online,so no loss. Cable, internet, phone service is at least double the price of what it costs overseas where more competition is allowed. Plus, cable was never willing to offer the a la carte selection of channels, so they're asking to be pirated.

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