Tangent is correct.
The early DirectTV cards could be programmed to receive every channel. Newer cards had features that would not allow this, thus older cards became more valuable for the pirate-minded.
I have two friends who used this feature - one used an “acquaintance” to program his card for him. When the DirectTV folks occassionally sent signals to “burn” the bootleg cards he had to go back to his “acquaitance” to get the card fixed.
The other friend was more tech savvy and could reprogram his card using his desktop computer. Once while watching HBO the card got “burned” by DirectTV - he pulled it out, stuck it in the computer and HBO was back on inside of five minutes.
As time goes on these cards get more and more valuable - I haven’t been on ebay lately but I imagine the card sellers are dancing around a few legal loopholes when describing their cards. IE they don’t say “Can be used to steal porn!” but have something like “Generation I spec 2.33 chip” or some such description that people that WANT to steal porn are looking for.