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Sky TV's UHF Service Cracked 16 May 2002 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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TV tuner cards are an increasingly common component of many home PCs these days.

They cost little more than a regular video card but offer the ability to tune in to the same VHF and UHF free-to-air (FTA) broadcasts that a regular television can receive.

Another attractive feature of these cards is that they allow you to use your camcorder (even the old analog one) as a digital camera -- you just play back the tape and capture whatever frames you want to use as a still image.

However, there are other things you can do with that clever little card -- watch Sky's UHF pay TV channels for instance -- for free.

Coming Up This Week
In response to reader demand, I'll be publishing and archiving an updated version of my guide to website promotion and online marketing. If you've got a website that needs more traffic, or if you're trying to sell products or services online then this is the type of information that you can pay big money for elsewhere. Don't miss it.

Over the past few years I've seen various pieces of software on the web which claimed to decode the VideoCrypt system and I've always wondered whether they'd actually work on a Sky TV signal here in NZ.

Well, according to one Kiwi (who, since this column was published has pulled the relevant webpages from his site -- for obvious reasons), they do.

Yes, if you'd prefer to pay a few dollars extra for a video card with tv tuner capabilities (preferably one that also has a TV-out connector so that you can plug your large-screen TV set in rather than rely on your PC's wimpy little monitor), you can get a lifetime of access to NZ's largest pay TV service at no extra cost.

Now don't get me wrong -- I don't condone this type of theft for one minute -- I'm simply citing this as yet another example of just how difficult it has become to protect intellectual property in the 21st century.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • VideoCrypt... - Ben
  • VideoCrypt decoding... - Pete
  • hvcplus for decoding sky... - Richard

    From Yesterday...

  • The Music Industry... - Nick
  • Kills iMacs... - Matt
  • Norton Antivirus Upgrade... - Graham
  • cds and viruses... - Brett
  • Have Your Say

    I believe that there has been a very small black market in special VideoCrypt decoders which don't require a smart card for some time -- but the number of people who have access to such devices is extremely small and unlikely to threaten Sky's bottom line at all.

    A software-based solution that can be downloaded anonymously from the Net and installed on a regular PC is perhaps a whole different story though.

    Given the choice of handing over a fist-full of $10 notes to Sky each month or downloading a piece of software -- what do you think that many students and young people will do?

    Hey, now little Johnny can watch Sky sports in his bedroom on his PC while mom and dad watch the movie channel, so who (apart from Sky) is going to bitch about that?

    How long, I wonder, before Sky just turns off its UHF service, relying instead on its satellite-based digital broadcast? I guess the existance of this software is extra incentive to do so.

    Have you tried this software? Did it work for you? What do you think about the ethics of using this software to watch another channel in the bedroom if you've already paying for a Sky subscription?

    Note -- I feel it worth reminding readers that downloading software from the Net and installing it on your PC always involves an element of risk. You don't know what "hidden features" may lurk within and there has been a growing trend for some packages to include spyware or adware products. I have no idea whether this is the case with the software referred to here.

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    Security Alerts
    Security flaw in Microsoft Office for Mac (CNet - 18/04/2002)

    A trio of MS-Office security vulns (TheReg - 10/04/2002)

    Two new "critical" bugs patched in IE (ZDNet - 01/04/2002)

    Second Java hole poses Windows risk (CNet - 20/03/2002)

    Microsoft offers patch for Java software (CNet - 06/03/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    New Klez worm squirms across Internet (CNet - 18/04/2002)

    Aphex E-mail Worm Has A Way With IRC, Instant Messenger (NewsBytes - 11/04/2002)

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