PowerVu has decoders that decode signals from certain satellites for cable distribution services. These decoders can also be used just like the FTA (Free-To-Air) satellite receivers if properly configured. PowerVu was considered very secure since it uses a complicated system to authorize each PowerVu receiver and trace its history of ownership and usage. Most PowerVu users are professional cable or satellite companies, using the service and equipment for signal redistribution, because regular users cannot afford it.
On March 10, 2010 the hacker called "Colibri" published after previous work done in 2005 a cryptanalysis of a PowerVU system implementation, describing a flawed design that can be used to gain access to the encryption keys and ultimately decryption of the transmitted content. The information in references has since move to this address.