Cable modem owners hack for free cable TV

Drawing on old-school methods to splice cable TV lines for unauthorized use, hackers say they can buy a splitter at the local electronics store and easily run an additional line from the cable modem (news - web sites) line for the computer into the television. Without a set-top box, the result is free, basic, analog cable; with an illegal converter or set-top, hackers say they have access to premium channels such as HBO and Showtime.

"I only get (basic) cable. I don't subscribe; it just comes to my house along with the cable modem signal," said Noah, who wished to keep his last name anonymous. He saves roughly $40 a month on cable but spends about $42 a month on Internet access.

"Lots of people do this if all you want is analog cable," he said. "All cable services are run through the same line; they can't just cut power to analog cable and still give you a cable modem."

Cable operators have battled this form of piracy for years, but it's taking on new urgency in the race to build high-speed Internet service. Broadband providers are struggling with costs, with AT&T just last week instituting a price increase for cable modem customers.

155 comments for 'Cable modem owners hack for free cable TV'

> Working for a broadband conpany I can tell you that most times this is true. The only way to block the analog tv channels is to install a filter on the plant wiring. This is undesireabe because the current filters alter the levels on the entire cable system. So odds are the cable modem signal coming into your house has all the basic TV channels for free.


The "smart" cable companies will require you to buy basic cable, before you can get internet access. This is how all cable providers around my area have it set up.

Does anyone know a list of "clear memory codes" for various Digital Cable box PPV events? These are the button sequences for clearing PPV orders from the box when the orders are blocked from the view of the cable company by a high pass filter.

Ok, there is a cable modem and no channels at all, (only a few fuzzy), and there is one filter on the line in the cable box. The filter was removed (channels came in) and the next day it was replaced by the cable guy (not a routine check). If the filter was placed behind the cable modem but after the tv cable, would this work?

I originally signed up for basic cable (28 channels) about three years ago. A couple of years ago my cable wire was cut and they came out and installed a new one and all of a sudden I was getting extended basic cable (~60 channels). So for 2 years I have had extended cable for $12.95. Two days ago as I was leaving to work I notice a cable technician doing something to the cable box out on the road. When I came home that night I realized what he was doing, installing a low pass Arcom filter on the line at the box.
As luck would have it he was going in the same direction as I was and I noticed he only stopped at various houses. I am assuming they check out people with basic cable form time-to-time to ensure they have a filter.

So my question is, are there any ar dummies out there that will just pass through the signal without any loss? I don't want to remove the filter incase the guy comes back and visually checks that a filter is installed. So I want to basically place another filter that looks the same on the ourside but is just an end-to-end connection on the inside. So are there any "fake" Arcom filters out there?

Does anyone know of any software programs that can test for, identify, or otherwise determine if any filters are on your cable line?

Also, I've had a cable descrambler for a short while. One day it just stopped working. It stays on the Home Shopping Network. The channel changes on the box but the tv channel stays the same. When I remove the descrambler, cable goes back to normal (basic service)0. Could this possibly be that 'signal' I've heard about that can disable descramblers?


ez to hack it...!!! all you have to do is.... heheh takes a 6yo baby to do so..
simply cut the cable get a triple spliter one for the tv one to the box --the other to go to cable company.....hehehehehe...

A Little Food for your thoughts.
Most homes are using a single coax line to transmit all of the cable signals that a home receivies. The line is then feed to a simple splitter that shares the signal to multiple devices. Inside a persons home they may choose to extend the length of their cable to reach a room that is a far distance from the wall patch. When the cable is extended the signal quality and level deteriorates. It is fully legal to extend the connection in your property. There are a lot of people that do this. The cable company would waste a lot of money chasing down low signal problems on every home in their area that has problems. I have been working with Cable DSL for a few years, and never have I seen the cable company run an additional line to a house or builiding from the distribution block or line. In order to block the analog signal, you would have to use a totally seperate line and enabledisable that line as necessary. Cable Modems DO NOT receive digital signal from the cable company, it receives strictly analog. A modems purpose is to MODulate(MODem)deMODulate(MODem) a signal from analog to digital and vice verse. (**Reference all existing white papers and technical manuals on modems**. The cable companys exisiting system is analog. It would cost them billions, if not trillions, of dollars to upgrade to a line that can carry a digital signal. If you have not seen a cable man diggin up your yard and everyone in your neighborhood, then you are not using a digital line. They way the cable company controls the signal is through Frequencys. The cable company does receive and send signals. If the cable company could not send and receive information, then no one with a cable modem would be able to access the internet. If you purcahse more PPV shows than the cable box is worth, then all you have to do is break it and they will never know how much to charge you when you return it. Remeber, computers are still a new technology and their security methods can be bypassed

I am using high speed cable and I removed my filter about 3 months ago. I am watching free tv since then. I don't know there is anything that cable company does when he finds out. Will they sue me or put a new filter in? Any comments....

Be careful cable companys monitor their or your signal levels closely. If your signal level changes, it throws a red flag for them to see. Every splitter added takes signal away, and shows the cable company a spiltter was added or some other problem to the cable lines or modem, which in turn brings them right to your front door. There is no way around the filter. The filters block all undesired signals except those needed for the cable modem. There is one filter most cable companys do use which stop signals from going to their main cable lines from all the TV's, if this filter is not in place and you hook your TV up your TV connection can shut down all the modems on the network. (which means your TV being hooked up without this filter can shut off a 100 or so modems coming off the same node as you. which means the cable company is going to come looking for the problem you just caused) Not all cable companys use them, but the companys are not stupid and know what is going on it is only a matter of time before the cable company, and a police officer show up at your door step informing you that you just commeted a felony. To the people who think a six year old can do this do not understand cable TV, because a six year old does not understand they do not try, that is why you don't see many six year olds sitting in fedral prison!!!!!!!!!

There is no button sequences. You just blocked your box from being veiwed by the your cable company, which is what they call a non-responing box which means they will come to check out why it is not responding. Your going to get busted. The high pass filter theory is all B.S. The PPV is still on your box and you will pay for them. On your remote push cable, then push power, once you hit the power button you have 3 seconds to push O.K. or enter on the remote go to menu 1 and you will see how many the PPV's you have to pay for. If you don't remove the filter now and let the box be polled, they will poll it when you return it, and you will pay for the PPV then. Either way your paying. All the people that think they can unhook the phone line and do the same thing I got news it does not work. Go to read the articles and see how much of this stuff is B.S. You got scamed do a little surfing before buying.

I am about to remove the filter so I can theoretically receive a tv signal. I have the same situation as the poster above, in that I get a few crappy channels in the 62-75 range and everything else is snow. Will they know that I did this? And more importantly, the filter has security devices on it to prevent removal. Is there more to it than just cutting it out and re-splicing it with a coupler in between? That won't screw up the frequencies or anything? (That last part is just kind of a guess - I doubt it would, but if someone could confirm that doesn't happen, I would be more confident.

Uh ... you sound like you are smoking rock.

You mean you want to know how to feed a video cable line into your computer video card and learn how to become a video editor? You should try film school. But that's a lot different than hacking. You're using it in the wrong context.

Let me first say that everything I am about to post is straight from a college course on networking.

What this guy just said is BS. The cable company broadcasts all cable channels which means they can only SEND, not recieve. Since it is sending a lot of information, it does a technique called TIME SPLICING, which will alot so many miliseconds for each channel (AA,BB,CC,AA,DD) based on importance.

Now, your cable company no matter who they are, can not read anything filters or descrablers that are connected to the pole or underground wire. This is a FACT!

Now, noting that up to this point we are talking about analog signals which is basically how they origionally started sending cable when cable first came out. Digital cable is the newest technology, no more then 10 years old. The only thing that your cable company is not telling you is that your cable can not be digital because there is NO DIGITAL SIGNALS coming through that line. Your digital cable box just recieves dual station signals to help double the video quality, but the signals are still analog and will always be analog.

The digital boxes can and will send an analogical signal back to your cable company, but only this new technoloy. If you put the filter on another TV, then your cable company can not detect it. Also, they can detect cable modems. Luckily where I live (Philly), the cable company makes so much money they don't careawho is stealing cable ($90 Billion last year from ripping people off). It is not worth for them to chase cable stealers. This information came straight from a customer of mine that works at the cable company. Also he told me to not pay because they rape you with prices, but I hope you already know this if you are reading all these messages.

I hope this information was helping in determining how cable works.


Sorry, but the signal level they see can't possibly be for a level lower than the neighborhood node, which is affected by lots of factors bigger than your single splice. This big brother pipe dream of yours is ridiculous.

You’re full of it
first of all the maximum penalty for stealing cable is something like 2000 fine and or 1 yr in jail.
Second you think that your one little splitter is going to drop our signal enough to cause a problem??
You think the cable company is going to be able to narrow the problem down to you? Sure! The best were going to be able to do is find what amps the problem is between that could be miles!!!
Don’t give your input on something you don’t know a dam thing about!!!!!!!!

I have a question for anyone out there. If I purchased my own digital cable box, is there a way that I can reprogram it myself since it is mine to recieve cable I am paying for, or do I have to take it in and have it custumized and programmed by the local cable company. If I can do it myself, can someone advise me how. Also, I was reading a lot of chat about the Hi Pass Filters, and I had an idea theoretically and I want to know if it holds true with you more experienced and knowledgable types.

Legally I am allowed to own my own equipment so as not to have to rent it from the damn cable company. So I have one digital cable box (Motorola) in the living room of my house that I rent from the local armed roberrers I mean the cable company. I pay four dollars a month or something like that from them to use the box because I pay for digital cable. Here is my question. Legally, can't I take a new box that I purchased from ebay or whereever and have it programmed by my cable company to use in another room of my house. There are two reasons I am asking this question, one is because I can't recieve any channels higher than 72 in any room of my house without that box being connected to that specific tv in the other rooms of my house. The second reason I am asking is because if it is my property, then I shouldn't have to turn it in to be polled when I leave, thus being able to charge all the pay-per-views I want on it with a filter and not having to worry about it.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Please advise on this chat board, and/ or e-mail me at

Okay moron, that "has worked with cable/DSL for years". First, Cable and DSL are completely unrelated. Second, you obviously don't know shit, the "modem" is from MODulate, and deMODulate? Are you retarded you dumb ? An 8 year old could figure it out. So, just a little food for your incompetent thoughts, modem is derived from MOdem, and DEModulate, thus creating MODEM, you stupid . Now shut the up, learn to spell, i.e. "seperate" spelled separate, you dumbass, and "purcahse"?!? That is probably more along the lines of the fact you can't type, so keep your dumb ass off forums.

- I can't stand dumbfucks who think they have any intelligence at all...

Holy shit this is the first post I've ever seen here that is accurate and 100% true!!! Do you people really think a cable company would come here to scare you off!?!?!?!
Whatever......... keep trying, I think it's funny when I disco people for $400 nonpays when they've only had it for a month. You're better off downloading movie's off gnutella............

Dude, traps block analog signal, and yes there are digital signals on cable networks. Please read above, to my earlier post about digital signal on an analog medium. And having a cable modem doesnt qualify you as "working with Cable DSL for a few years". You obviously dont know what your talking about.

"The cable company broadcasts all cable channels which means they can only SEND, not recieve." ROFLMFAO!
You can't be serious in this posting!

You should have gotten an F in the class then as the cable company does receive as well as send. How do you think that data from your modem and PPV gets back to them?? If they can do that don't you think they are smart enough to also use this sata stream for their own security use as well? They do monitor the signals and levels on return data streams and will check out changes in your levels. The levels are monitored everyday allday 24/7. The good cable companies do block analog channels on modem lines. Blocking the PPV data on your converters from going back is a temp soloution as they will poll the box when returned to the office and charge you for all of them on the spot. A good cable company limits the number of PPV bought beofre it stops if polling isnt working and a order is created to send service techs to house to determine why polling is not working. The days of the dumb old cable company are over guys, they have changed and are playing the high tech security game now and they are pretty good at it as most ways they create security is to exploit the BS that is passed around on boards like this and they actually generate revenue off of PPV sales to people that think they can get it for free and buy more than they would if they thought they would have to pay for it and actually do pay for it as the cable company isnt as stupid as you think.

I currently have regular cable & didn't subscribe to any premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax & showtime. If I bought a digital cable box such as the the Motorola DCT2224/1661 ABCDEFG already configured to receive all premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and the Movie Channel, I receive digital cable channels?

Yes, you can buy your own cable box, all you have to do is give the serial number to the cable company. If its a Motorola, I'd bet it's a DCT2224 or similar. The number may be something like: GIxxxxxxxxxx. The cable provider will then "HIT" the box to accept all the proper channels in your account.If you use the Hi-pass filter, the box will still show up as a 'non-responder', and they will come running to find out why. I've never dealt with a customer owned non-responder in my 3 years, so I don't know how they would handle it exactly. I suspect you may be able to get away with a few PPV's, but if they susspect your trying to thwart them they may just remove your box number from the system. (it wont work anymore). I'd say a customer owned non-responder is something to draw attention too. While you may get a few, it wont last. Also, I've seen those Hi-pass filter auctions saying that they're 'digital descramblers' in addition to hi-pass filters. This is WAY wrong. All it is is a filter that blocks 5-42Mhz, nothing more.

If cable systems cannot carry 'digital' signals, than how do 'digital' channels only take up 1Mhz of bandwidth when analog channels take up 6 Mhz? Did they 'compress' the analog signal for the digital channels?????? You dummy, it carrys digital information on an analog medium. RF by nature is analog, but it is only a carrier for the video/audio/digital information. Congratulations, you took a class on networking!!!! I took classes on broadband cable systems covering CATV, HSI and digital telephony, does that mean I can talk about optical data storage. And you should have failed that class if you think the cable company cannot detect cable modems. How do cable modems get there IP address? DHCP, I know in my crappy $100 router I can see everything requesting an IP via DHCP. Even if you know ethernet networking doesn't mean you know HFC networking. ("Hybrid Fiber Coax" by the way). Please don't trust just anybody who says the work for the cable company, I couldn't keep track of all the times I've heard: "The person on the phone said it's the box causing the problem, blah blah blah". Less than a third of all the people at the cable company know jack about how it all works. Unfortunatly, not all the installers/service techs know either. I can't even type fast enough to give you the thrashing you deserve. So , shut up about things you know nothing about.

BRAVO to the last line...
Not to be the devils advocate here, but c'mon...anyone with a IQ (or ASVAB) over 50, and any experience in signal modulation/demodulation of any type be it RF, SHF, VHF, UHF, ETC... can tell that Mr. Cable guy actually knows what the he is talking about. I am not a cable guy, but rather a SATCOM guy, but data/voice modulation, demodulation, multiplexing, and transmission medium principles are the same no matter why you are applying them...
OK, moron...
"The cable companys exisiting system is analog. It would cost them billions, if not trillions, of dollars to upgrade to a line that can carry a digital signal."
Analog signals are used to TRANSMIT modulated digital signals from point to point for distance purposes. Digital signals (pulses between two voltage levels -- e.g. +5VDC for a one and 0 VDC for a zero) can't go very far, unless you are using fiberoptics, which just isn't practical for long distances. Digital signals (ones and zeros) are modulated on to the analog signal to be transmitted by representing the ones and zeros by some sort of change (frequency --FM, amplitude--AM, phase--PM/PSK, etc). For example in Frequency Modulation (FM), ones and zeros are represented by changes in the signal's frequency...simple huh? Of course that is just the basics...but now maybe you will have a clue. I have no idea what modulation techniques are used in cable TV/cable modem, but when Mr. Cable guy says at least twice in this thread that digital signals are modulated onto anolog signals, I have some clue what he is talking about, and I don't go trying to say...
"Cable Modems DO NOT receive digital signal from the cable company, it receives strictly analog."
Stricty analog? Man, the bandwidth on your cable modem must suck! It sends and receives digital signals that are basically "riding" on an analog carrier dumbass! BTW any digital toys you may have that send to or receive from a satellite (GPS, DISH, DIRECTTV, etc.) works the same way, just a different frequency range, and the atmosphere is the transmission medium.

First of all just to let everyone know a digital cable box as well as a cable modem all work off of mac code, as the data stream comes into the device the mac code is looked at if its not that devices mac code then it ignores the packet of data sent, I know this because I used to work for our local cable company before I quit and move on to a better job, EVERYTHING that is done to your converter or modem is based on that devices MAC code, as for polling thge box to find out ppv's, well lets see if they could do it over the cable line then why in the world would you have to have a phone line connected to it?? So to me sir it does sound like you are just trying to scare people off from testing and exploring and finding out just how BAD the cable tv and sat. company's are raping the coustomers that they do service, FREE TO AIR is the way it should be if the big wigs dont like it then maybe they shouldnt put the signals out over the airwaves

I would like to point out that OLD network technology for LAN's used a coax cable just like your cable tv cable... Thicknet and Thinnet. Computers in those days didn't have a little radio station in them to send and receive data... they were digital. Digital cable boxes have little processors and memory in them, much like computers do. That must mean that cable tv is digital.

What he said is half true. The data is there all the time. You can decode it but not with a box that is used on that cable system. Those boxes are meant to have 2 way communications for ppv but the data is still there. If you allow a ppv to come through with a non two way device you can watch it but the problem is the tuner. You need a QAM tuner to decode the signal.

This has nothing to do with signal levels or interference. You are using a cable that is only rated for low frequencies to connect to your TV. These low frequency cables are primarily manufactured for hooking up VCR's and other single feed video sources to a TV via the coax input. VCR's only transmit video on channels 2,3, or 4, so this type of cable is fine for that purpose. However as you get into the higher frequency channels, these cables become very lossy. Just go to Radio Shack and buy a new cable that can handle the higher freqs (almost any cable should be fine since the low-freq cables are typically only packaged with VCR's).

"I have a cable modem, & I've always recieved cable tv at no cost, but it very fuzzy (minus the first 3 channels). how could i fix that?"
Thats an easy fix. Pay for it or face theft of service charges!
Your CATV provider.

This is due to the noise that the internet makes...the only way to correct it is to get a filter that filters out the noise...or run a secondary line from your cable box outside to your t.v. good luck

WHAT?!? cable modem signal cannot interfere with CATV. I'm not going to be to specific here, but, modem downstream is around 700Mhz, upstream around 20-40 Mhz. Standard analog cable is 50-450 MHz.

that sounds more like ancient DSL, your talking about

Who said the down stream is around 700Mhz? Did you test it? It can be from 54Mhz to 1Gig depending on where the cable company puts it. You talk like one guy came in and said it has to be around 700Mhz and that is law. The upstream can be from 5-40Mhz. And yes cable modems can cause interfernce with CATV it is called noise. Everything on this page is B.S. The only one that that makes sense is the actually cable tech not the installer there is a difference.

Yes, I did test it, at 729.008 Mhz if you NEED to know. Old cable (before digital services) uses 50-450Mhz, digital video would naturally come before HSD. That would put the downstream TYPICALLY around 700Mhz. If a cable modem creates 'noise' that affects your picture, there is something wrong with the modem. I'm the one that fixes what the stupid installer screws up for over 2 years.
If, you want to know about "hacking" your cable modem linefor free tv, I'LL TELL IT ALL HERE.

If your lucky enough to not be traped, and have a lazy cable supplier.... you get free tv.
If not, There's nothing you can do.

I am so sorry for you. You really don't understand what your talking about. If you would study more theory (electronics and induction) you would realize how easy it is to filter out certain frequencies on a line. Something as simple as a coil of wire or a capacitor can be used. I am a cable installer and I do use a special filter called an s4 filter for only allowing the internet through the line. The tech that did your installation must have just left that filter out. This is not to mention that splitting the line also reduces signal strength. Most two way splitters will cut down the signal by 3.5db. If the existing signal is low enough, splitting the line for tv just might kick the modem off. I suggest you get you facts straight and apply a little common sense.

Re-hashing old topic with regards to cable TV and filters.
Is it possible to short out the filter that the provider installs?
I've removed my filter on an analog cable line 3 years ago and I guess through a random inspection, they re-installed the filter back again and now I only have basic TV again. I want to remove the filter again; but, this time short it out and then re-install it again, that way when they do an inspection again, they'll see a filter and leave me alone.

I been using cable internet and cable TV for years. Until recently my local provider charged additional $5 bucks for there internet service. Currently at $39.99, this coupled with there cable service brought my bill to $91 bucks. Far too much for the crappy programming. I decided to keep the cable internet and drop my service to basic. Channels 1-25. This service alone is $10.75 a month, but since Im a bundled customer I get $10 off.
Now this is where is gets interesting. I watch the cable man place a tier trap on the side of my house. Usually it would be on the pole but since I have digital phone that puts out 90v they have to put it on my house. After he was done, I remove the trap and of course I get everything for a low price of $40.50. But since it is risky I took that trap and gutted it out like a fish. Ran some OEM cable thrut it, solered the female end from a connecter filled it with wax and top it off with some resin. Now the filter is in place posing as a Trap. Just like the OEM. I can sleep better at night.

First of all, I would suggest you calm down. OK, so not everyone install cable TVs or wants to learn the basics of induction.

Second, I would like to point out that your message had the subject 'Cable modem owners hack for free cable TV', yet you said nothing about this.

Since you claim to be knowledgeable on the subject, may I ask that you suggest how to get the cable TV signals from the piece of cable that goes into the back of the modem.

Thanks in advance :)