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When this happens, illegitimate viewing is disrupted.
Many of these channels carried programming from major network television affiliates, although these are disappearing, particularly on Ku-band. Most were members of secondary terrestrial networks, including both US English language and Spanish language broadcasters, and content from satellite broadcasts often fed over-the-air digital subchannels of terrestrial stations.
On occasion, where a pay-TV service's encryption system has been very seriously compromised, to the extent that it can be emulated in software and without the presence of a valid access card, hackers have been able to reverse-engineer an FTA receiver's software and add the necessary emulation to allow unauthorized reception of pay TV channels.
Manufacturers, importers, and distributors of FTA receivers officially do not condone this practice and some will not sell to or support individuals who they believe will be using their products for this purpose, use of third-party software usually voiding any warranties.
The use of renewable security allows providers to send new smart cards to all subscribers as existing compromised encryption schemes (such as Nagravision 1 and 2) are replaced with new schemes (currently Nagravision 3).
This "card swap" process can provide pay-TV operators with more effective control over pirate decryption, but at the expense of replacing smart cards in all existing subscribed receivers.
The receivers, meanwhile, remain able to receive unencrypted DVB-S broadcasts and (for some HDTV models) terrestrial ATSC programming.