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CHAPTER 3 - ADDRESSABLE AND NON-ADDRESSABLE CABLE TELEVISION CONVERTER BOXES

This guide was written to educate interested parties on Cable Television descrambling, descramblers and some of the various methods used to defeat scrambling methods on premium cable or pay cable television stations. The author of this guide is simply exercising every Americans First Amendment right, Freedom of Speech. The intent of this writing is not to defraud or promote the theft of cable services. This guide should not be interpreted as legal advice, if you have legal questions contact a lawyer or your local authorities. Be warned that stealing cable services is illegal, and there are severe penalties for anyone caught doing so.

As noted in the previous chapter, there are two different types of converters: addressable and non-addressable. We will begin this chapter by explaining addressable converters.


When the term "addressable" is applied to a converter, it means that some of the converter's functions can be manipulated from a remote location via the cable input line. The remote location is usually a computer at the cable company's central office. Common functions that can be changed by the cable companies include adding and canceling movie channels, turning on P.P.V. events and completely turning off subscriber boxes. In more modern cable systems, the cable company can even send messages to individuals or groups by addressing their specific cable box. In the event that a subscriber is not home when a message is sent, the converter stores the message so that it can be viewed on the TV when the subscriber returns. Up until now, communication has only been one-way (meaning that the cable company can "talk" to the converter, but the converter can not send information back to the cable company). New boxes are capable of both receiving information from and sending information back to the cable company. This new technology will allow the cable company to monitor viewing habits of subscribers and will also allow them to control theft of services more easily. It is certain that many people will be opposed to this sort of technology that will allow the cable company to spy on you and see what programs you are watching.


Some of you may wonder how the cable company is able to "address" individual boxes. The answer is that each addressable converter has a unique electronic serial number that is programmed into the microprocessor inside the box. When the cable company wishes to change the functions of your
converter, they use their computer to send out a signal through the cable lines that looks for your serial number, or "address." Although the signal passes through all of the cable lines and reaches every persons converter on that system, it only makes a change to the converter whose serial number matches the one in the computer's instructions.


If you are not sure whether or not you have an addressable converter, there are a couple of simple ways to check. First, look on the bottom of your converter and read any information that is found there. You are looking for something that reads "....addressable converter....". If you cannot find anything on the bottom of your box, check the user's guide that the cable company should have provided you with when they issued you your converter. Read through this guide and it should tell you if the converter is addressable. If you still can not find it, call your cable company and ask to order a premium movie channel. Ask them if it can be turned on immediately, or if they have to come to your home to turn it on. (If they can turn it on immediately, you have an addressable box.)


Non-addressable converters cannot be controlled by the cable company. A converter that is non-
addressable can only pick up the basic cable channels, unless the converter is being used in conjunction with a filter system, which will be explained in the next chapter. Cable companies will sometimes issue non-addressable converters to customers who do not order movie channels and who do not have cable-ready TV sets. A non-addressable converter is much cheaper than an addressable converter, so if a person does not have a cable ready TV and does not subscribe to any premium stations, it is more economical for the cable company to provide a non-addressable converter. If you have a choice, go with an addressable converter instead of a non-addressable one.

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