stealing cable is kinda stupid, but the way I see it they stream to everyone at the same time, its a unicast transmission, much liek radio waves, and if you dont have anything to "pick it up with" youre screwed, in a way. but there are ways to counteract that.
unicast transmissions are one stream sent and copied to everyone else, unlike multicast, which is individual copies carried over the same lines to each person, so each person gets thier own "version" of the stream. unicats everyone gets teh same thing, but , is in such a way that changing channels dont affect the whole neigborhood.
cable is simply a unicast transmission, broadcasted over the lines much liek radiowaves, and all you're simply doing is capturing it. much liek tapping into a CB or such. or picking up wifi signals. you're literally not stealing it, youre "capturing it" and besides that it dont cost much to broadcast a cable signal. and its not packet driven ether, if its done in such a way as a descrambler box, since its analog, those are RF signals, and no digital form.
think seti! (just had to say that!) seti is cool.
someone has broacsted a website out to space I thought was funny it was craigslist.com space.com is awesome!!! wonder what the aliens were thinkin!