DirecTV receivers on eBay - why so expensive?

Browsing around eBay, I see a bunch of old Directv receivers for sale, generally with the remote, instructions and standard access card. Some of these auctions go up to $100. Why? I can’t help but guess that some of these are being used to “hack” the system, since you can add a second receiver to your current system for less than that, right?

Are the buyers engaged in any kind of illegal activity that causes these prices? Are the sellers?

Anyone have the inside scoop?

From what I understand, the older receivers and cards are the ones that hackers can reprogram so that all the satellite channels can be viewed for free. Apparently, they either can’t reprogram the newer receivers or it is a good deal more difficult to do so.

Last time I looked at satellite TV, they wanted around $200 for a new receiver at the store.

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.