I know the cable companies occasionally sent "bullets" to destroy
illegal/unauthorized descramblers and equipment. Is it possible the
flashing was caused by damage from a bullet or other cable company
The Philogynist <thephilo...@gmail.com> wrote:
I know the cable companies occasionally sent "bullets" to destroy illegal/unauthorized descramblers and equipment. Is it possible the flashing was caused by damage from a bullet or other cable company countermeasure?I don't think so.
The bullet stuff was limited to the c-band satellite decoders (Videochipher) which used an access card that was reprogrammed with the pirate software. At some point the engineers figured out not only how to deactivate the card (disable the pirate software) but also cause the card to "loop" where it couldn't be reprogrammed anymore. There were unloopers later on but they were never 100%.
With the cable tv systems, most of them (jerrold, hamlin, scientific atlanta, others) mostly relied on horizontal sync suppression with the audio moved from the 4.5Mhz to "somewhere else".
The problem was, once someone figured out how it was done, there really was no protection anymore. They started to experiment with video inversion where whites became blacks, blacks to white and everything inbetween shifted between those two points.
Since the pirate box had no clue how to deal with that, it would show up as a photographic negative when the inversion was on and normal when not. The problem with this whole new level of protection was it didn't really work well out in the field. Legit subscribers sometimes would get the flash glitch, usually it was the complaint of a shift in contrast levels.
This inversion method could be applied to every other frame of video (I guess 15x per second) with most systems, generally it was applied to random intervals. But, besides cable tv back then was analog and problems with signal strength to customers homes, most tv's and vcr's (all analog based) didn't help the situation.
I beleive most cable companies that upgraded to the newer systems just quit using the video inversion all together at some point. Just too many complaints from customers.
So no magic bullet involved, just a modification to some cable systems.
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