Hacking freesat


Inactive User
Aug 10, 2001
At glance, the title of 'Hacking freesat' seems to be an oxymoron. How can you hack something that is widely available for 'free' and why would you want to?

Something that is little understood is that 'free satellite' has been around for many years, it is nothing new and multi-channel digital choice has always been available without a subscription to Sky. The new business and brand, to be known as 'freesat', brings this knowledge of non-subscription satellite directly into public view. The idea is equipment that offers simplicity with choice, low costs, and wide coverage reception, will make the alternative of 'satellite tv' widely understood.

So freesat is merely seen as the business of making on-screen software of satellite equipment more suitable than Sky's on-screen software, that has been around almost unchanged for more than a decade. Or perhaps making the on-screen software better than the numerous free-to-air receivers that have no uniformity, plus (more importantly) lack ability to provide tv listings. The on-screen software, known as the 'Electronic Program Guide' or EPG, is where the business begins and ends its campaign for supremacy. Freesat vs FreeSatFromSky vs Free-to-air, is all about providing the user-friendly full-feature EPG that consumers want.

It can be argued that channel content and marketing is more important, but the majority of the nation still choose 'free', which isn't business that will be openly advertised or sought by Sky, since their aim is 'Pay tv' consumers. If something is good then word-of-mouth can be very successful, just like the success of freeview.

So how does all this have anything whatsoever to do with hacking? Well in the battle of the EPG / on-screen software, we find that there are two different methods of transmission used which both involve secrecy and non-public information. Sky use the 'OpenTV' platform which is far from 'open' and has not been hacked in all the many years it has been used, whilst freesat uses MHEG to transmit its EPG data. They arent exactly known as encryptions, but they do provide data in forms that can only be recognised if you know the secrets to make sense of the streaming numbers.

MHEG-5 platform used by freesat simply isn't as secure as the OpenTV data. Work from enthusiasts is providing progress in the disassembling of the data, with software development improving. Developers MSWindows screenshots here- http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/3627/fsp2gf8.png - http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/417/dvbviewersetuplc0.png

This form of hacking may not provide any obvious outcome, or reason to exist. Whats the point of reading all the data that EPG's use? Well the point is that we easily forget the 3rd form of receiving satellite tv >> Free-to-air non-branded equipment! Enthusiasts already use these types of receiver because they can offer more overall, even though they lack features like the simple freesat EPG and its 7-day TV schedules. The question is, what could the '3rd option' develop into if it also had all the benefits provided from this 'secret data'? The picture begins to unfold as to why 'Hacking freesat' is relevant and far from being an oxymoron. Try competing and selling against unlicenced products that can unofficially use the service you fund and the whole game can look very different!

So perhaps freesat should have immediate concern? Well piracy may not always be a killer, far from it. Just look at the Xbox360, or the Wii, or the Nintendo DS, which all seem to do extremely well despite piracy, and arguably beat competition with increased popularity due to 'a little' copyright breach.

Free-to-air vs freesat vs FreeSatFromSky. The winner may perhaps be consumers, the loser being subscription channels. Irrespective, hacking will always exist and continues in places you wouldn't necessarily expect.



Member ++
Aug 11, 2005
If a popular Patchable receiver like the Technomate for example could read the Freesat EPG data then I thing sales would boom :)


Member ++
Nov 24, 2006
somewhere I found something about Fortec Passion developers looking into reading the Freesat EPG stream.