DirecTV Questions Pirate Theft Estimates


Attendees at last week's satellite-dealers' convention here were buzzing about a report that estimated direct-broadcast satellite giants EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc. lose $1.5 billion per year to signal theft.

"I don't know where they get that number," said DirecTV CEO Eddy Hartenstein. He said he hadn't read the Satellite Business News
article and DirecTV didn't assist the magazine.

The article estimates up to 1.5 million people steal programming from DBS, citing information from hackers' Web sites and insider interviews.

Hartenstein said DirecTV remains vigilant, launching 150 civil and criminal prosecutions and sending 10,000 demand letters seeking restitution.

DirecTV also questioned assertions that its latest access device, called a P4 chip, has been hacked. Signal-integrity executive Larry Rissler said he's checked Web sites that purportedly offer hacked chips and has found no evidence of a P4 product.

"I'd be personally surprised if was already compromised," he said.