How Do I Detect Bootleg Satellite Receivers?

By Greyson Ferguson

It is important not to use bootlegged satellite receivers.
i Nick M Do/Photodisc/Getty Images

When using a specific satellite provider (such as DirecTV or Dish Network), you get a satellite receiver directly from the company. When using FTA (free-to-air) equipment, you are able to use any receiver available, so there is no issue with this. But using a bootlegged receiver with your pay-to-use satellite service may be illegal, especially if you are obtaining the content without paying a monthly service fee. If you notice anyone doing this, you may want to report the situation to the satellite provier.

Check the front of the satellite receiver. It should have the service provider's name ("DirecTV," "Dish Network") printed right on the receiver, even if the device is not made by the company.

Look for a card access panel on the receiver. Pay-to-use receivers require an access card to be inserted into the receiver, as this informs the receiver how to unscramble the programming. However, if no access card slot is available, it is a good sign the receiver is a bootleg.

Read all the text on the receiver. If none of the text is in English (especially the control information printed on the rear of the receiver), the receiver is more than likely a bootleg.

Check the user manual. All receivers from the pay-to-use service providers come with a manual. If no manual is provided, you know the receiver is fake.