Clips of scrambled cable TV erotica from the 1990s

Originally published at:




I never saw that stuff unscrambled, wasn’t it all softcore / simulated?

1 Like

Ok, ok… I’ll go first. This is how I made it through puberty without blowing a gasket. It was pre-90s porn scramble but, godammit, it’s all I had.


Ah yes, the good old days. I can vividly recall how toggling back and forth between two channels would create a brief second of clarity on the scrambled station and it would allow for the person to get an idea of what was going on.


Bullshit. This is not 90s cable-TV scrambling.

I know suppressed sync and video inversion when I see it.

These clips are of digital video. You’d never see any kind of temporal “streaking” in analog scrambling, which tended to operate on a frame-by-frame (or field-by-field) basis.

ETA: this is the real thing


It’s ___so___beautiful!!!


Right there with you with 1980s cable scramble. Never underestimate the desperation of a horny adolescent boy when it comes to accessing porn.


Setting the tuner knob to a precise point between channels would strip out the scrambling and provide a fuzzy, black and white, but clearer video signal.


I had some friend figure out back int he analog scramble days that if you poured salt water on outside cable box, it would bypass the filter for a moment and you would get a clear picture.

On the digital scrambled Youtube videos, is that enough info to unscramble the picture, or since it was “leaked” from the cable box, was part of the info discarded? And I assume it needed some sort of key to decrypt?

1 Like

My brain immediately went to Negativeland:


That’s not what that looked like! I remember the real thing


I used to work for a guy who started his production career dubbing tapes in an editing house that mostly did porn.

Apparently they edited around the hardcore bits, using B-roll that had been shot specifically not to show anything entering anything else directly. Same porno you could get at that “stationary store” down by the train station. Or find in a box in the woods. Just edited ever so slightly for TV.


That first one really put the style in doggie style.

Exactly. I remember that an OTA station scrambled sports even transmittet in PAL having a sync suppression and a luminance inversion on a frame by frame basis, if you tried to go a bit of out of tune and tweak the horizontal sync pot you gould get a partial idea of what was happening on the football field.


The highlight of my 15th year was discovering that on my buddy’s C-Band receiver at the farm, you could trick it into decoding the scrambled video by changing channels using similar encodings that you were authorized for very quickly. There was always a half second of scrambled video when you switched to one of the authorized channels before it unscrambled, and if you went back and forth a bunch and had a little luck, you could trick it into thinking you hadn’t changed channels and decode the locked one. Didn’t work on the audio though, but at 15 in a farmhouse an hour from the nearest town it was exciting enough to get the video.


You are going to want to watch Bjork’s, “Pagan Poetry”.

This is not at all what it looked like. And where is the sound? The video scrambling had a lot of white noise and none of the digital compression artifacts of these clips. And there was sound. You could hear snippets of the amazing dialog that cable porn was known for.


Our cable company had set-top boxes with a literal lock and key. It took us all of 15 minutes to find that key.


I remember getting cable for myself in my bedroom in the very, very early 80’s. No other TV in the house had cable.

I’m pretty sure it was one of these:

Plugged into my 13 inch black and white TV.

So you lucky people with color TV’s, you don’t know the pain of trying to watch scrambled video “Was that a breast? Or an elbow?”

Now get off my lawn.