This article is from the Satellite TV FAQ, by Gary Bourgois email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
This is a common misconception. While it is true that most of the CABLE
services are scrambled, many of us see this as a feature. If you DO
desire HBO, THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL, ETC, you WILL need a[ descrambler, AND
a subscription to these services. However, there are over 150 channels of
programming "In the clear" that is NOT scrambled, and many of these
provide a lot of entertainment and information. It all depends on your
personal taste. Most of the sporting events are not scrambled. PBS is
not scrambled (Four separate feeds) and many other services are also
available free for the taking. NOT to mention HUNDREDS of audio services.
There is more on satellite that you can get for FREE than you would ever
have time to watch.