A year-old "unbreakable" scrambler that has kept satellite dish owners from receiving pay television channels for free has been broken, cable hackers said. John MacDougall, a Florida man who is known as Captain Midnight and who once used a satellite to beam a complaint about Home Box Office prices onto television screens nationwide, said hackers can break HBO's state-of-the-art Video Cipher 2000E scrambler. HBO began using the video cipher on Jan. 15, 1986. Other pay channels also use the equipment. Most of those firms insist that hackers have not beaten the cipher.