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Direct TV Access Card : Direct TV Card History

Direct TV was one of the first companies to have used smart card technology in their products. Each of the Direct TV receiver installed at the clients premises has / had a smart card located inside. Each of the smart cards had an unique code or key which was allocated to the customer, and the decryption or descrambling of the digital satellite video signal is finally done with the smart card. Therefore the smart card is a very important part of the whole Direct TV satellite system set up

Typically the Direct TV access card is a small plastic card usually the size of a standard credit card. It arrives with your Direct TV receiving equipment or separately in your mail. After purchase and installation of the Direct TV equipment, the smart card is very necessary to activate your programming. The access card has the details of your subscription, your pay-per-view events.

Since the Direct TV card is the only thing which contains the information on what channels you have paid for and what you are authorized and not authorized to view, it has been put into huge amounts of abuse. The smart cards are reprogrammed or pirated to allow people to illegally encrypt and decrypt the Direct TV signals this giving you access to all the channels, even the ones that you are not paid for.

Reprogramming of these cards are done by modifying the copyrighted software found in each of the cards and thus removing all blocks for un paid channels

This piracy which was rampant till a few years ago has been brought under control by the Direct TV authorities by improving the quality and security of the smart cards and also bringing the pirates under the court of law.Reference : News 1 , News 2

Direct TV in the past has introduced a number of cards

P1 Direct TV cards

Also known as F cards, they P1 Direct TV cards were used until the year 1997, the F cards pictured a satellite in the front

P2 Direct TV Cards

P2 Direct TV cards dubbed as H cards were introduced in the year 1996, although looking exactly the same as the P1 Direct TV cards, they had extra features and they were in existence till the year 2002

P3 Direct TV Cards

P3 cards, the next generation cards are nicked as HU cards are fool proof and crack proof, that's what Direct TV claimed, but hacked versions started turning up in the grey markets. Hu cards were introduced in the year 1999 but they are no longer supported. The cards featured a picture of a football player in the front. Hu cards usually came with the receivers with serial above 0001 700 000, since high piracy plagued the system it is no longer supported and was remove from the system.

Direct TV P4 cards

The current generation P4 cards were introduced in the market in 2002 to succeed the highly pirated p3 cards. They are also called "access card #4"

With piracy becoming a pain for Direct TV it introduced the fourth generation is0 7816 smart cards, they co exist with the p4 cards but they seem to have some compatibility with the p4 receivers.

Related : How does the Direct TV Access Card Work?

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