TV and Radio

What is encryption used for in digital cable TV?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. In the early days of cable TV, the world was introduced to the "scrambled" channel. Cable TV providers used this jumbled group of images to encode their premium content. The scrambled channel meant that if you didn't subscribe to HBO or any of the other premium channels, you couldn't unscramble the signal and all you saw was the scrambled mess of colorful static. If you did subscribe, however, the cable box on top of your television would be able to unscramble the picture, and you could watch the channel. Now that cable TV offers digital cable service, the scrambled image has been replaced by encryption. If your cable box doesn't have the correct key -- if it is content to which you don't subscribe -- then you will see either a blue screen or an advertisement.

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