The History of Cable Television

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    Rural Roots

    Cable begins in rural areas of Pennsylvania and Oregon
  • John Walson brings Cable Television to Pennsylvainia

    John Walson brings Cable Television to Pennsylvainia
    An Oral History of Cable by John Walson Cable Television begins as Community Access Television in Mahanoy City Pennsylvainia, when John Walson provides cable television to customers of his applaince store
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    Television Licensing Freeze

    "Freeze" of 1948 In 1948, the FCC froze licensing of new television stations, despite growing comsumer demand. This demand was met by cable television. Although the demand for television was increasing, the FCC put a freeze on the granting of new television licenses. Growing demand from comsumers was met by cable television.
  • Beginning of Expansion

    Beginning of Expansion
    70 Cable Systems served 14,000 subscribers in rural areas
  • Sputnik

    History of Sputnik The first satellite is launched into space by the Soviet Union, sparking the space race. This technology would play a major part in the future of cable television transmission.
  • Major Expansion

    Major Expansion
    1964 Time Magazine Article on Cable By 1962, 800 Cable Systems were serving almost 1 million subscribers. Large corporations, such as Westinghouse and Cox, began to compete in the cable market
  • Telstar

    The Telstar Satellites Telstar, the first communications satellite, was launched into orbit by At&T. It transmitted television signals across the Atlantic, which were successfully recieved by relay stations in Europe.
  • FCC takes control

    FCC takes control
    Carter Mountain Transmission Corp. v. FCC In 1963, the FCC began regulating the cable industry as a result of Carter Mountain Transmission Corp. v. FCC. It was decided that cable fell under FCC control becuase of cable's impact on broadcasters.
  • Charles Dolan wires Manhattan

    Charles Dolan wires Manhattan
    Charles Dolan biography In 1965, Charles Dolan won the franchise rights to provide cable to Manhattan. He did this by laying cable underground, a first in cable technology. His company, Sterling Manhattan Cable would be the first to provide its customers HBO, a company that Dolan also founded.
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    Expansion and the FCC

  • Early Bird

    Early Bird
    The Early Bird Satellite The Early Bird satellite was launched on April 6, 1965 as the world's first commercial communications satellite. Early Bird had the capacity of 240 circuits , or 1 television channel, and demonstrated the possibilities of syncronous satellite communications.
  • Home Box Office

    Home Box Office
    Corportate History of HBO Home Box Office began as a subsidiary of Time Inc. in 1972. HBO purchased the rights to recent films and sporting evens and fed them to local cable systems via satelltie and microwave transmission.
  • HBO in Space

    HBO in Space
    Satcom and the Cable Boom HBO leases space on the RCA Satcom 1 and begins sending its signal to cable providers via satellite. One of its first satelltie transmissions was the "Thrilla in Manila" boxing match.
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    Deregulation, National Networks, and Rapid Development

  • Turner Creates the "Superstation"

    Turner Creates the "Superstation"
    Origin of the Superstation Ted Turner, owner of a local television channel and the Atlanta Braves, created the first "superstation" by transmitting his local station to a national audience by uploading the feed to a satellite.
  • Pat Robertson's CBN

    Pat Robertson's CBN
    The Christian Broadcasting Network The Christian Broadcasting Network, famous for its "700 Club" program, begins national progamming via satellite. CBN later becomes "The Family Channel."
  • Qube Networks

    Qube Networks
    History of the Qube Network Qube Interactive Television was the product of a joint venture between Warner Communications and Amex. The Warner AMEX Satellite Entertainment Company had original programming on 10 channels and introduced brands like The Movie Channel and Nickelodeon.
  • ESPN

    Corporate History of ESPN Bill Rasmussen, a sports announcer, came up with the idea for ESPN while trying to figure out a way to broadcast University of Connecticut basketball games to cable providers in the state. Rasmussen had to lease satellite space on his credit card to start broadcasting. ESPN soon signed deals with the NCAA and the NBA for broadcasting rights to some of their games.
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    20 Years of Channel Expansion

    1980 - 28 cable channels
    1990 - 79 cable channels
    1995 - 139 cable channels
    1998 - 171 cable channels
  • 24 Hour News

    24 Hour News
    A History of Cable News In 1980, Ted Turner founded the Cable News Network, bring 24 hour news to cable subscribers. CNN was the first of several all news channels.
  • "Ladies and Gentleman, Rock and Roll"

    "Ladies and Gentleman, Rock and Roll"
    A Hisory of Music Television MTV, Music Television, was launched on August 1, 1981. The introduction was spoken by John Lack, who simply said, "Ladies and gentleman, rock and roll." This was followed by the first music video on MTV, "Video Killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles. MTV is said to be one of the most influential cable television channels of all time becuase it drastically changed the music industry.
  • Cable Act of 1984

    Cable Act of 1984
    Complete Text of the Act The Cable Communication Act of 1984 was an ammendment to the Communications Act of 1934. It created a national policy on cable communications and competition and deregulation for franchise growth. It also granted public access channels to local cable systems, starting PEG (Public Educational Governmental) cable programming.
  • Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992

    Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992
    Cable Televsion Acts The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 reimposed rate regulations lifted by the Cable Act of 1984. Premium channels, such as HBO, were not subject to the rules passed under this act.
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  • The Telecommunications Act of 1996

    The Telecommunications Act of 1996
    The Telecommunications Act Explained The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was a major overhaul of the Communicaitons Act of 1934. The Act opened up competetion in communications industries by removing regulatory barriers. For example, a cable company would now be allowed to provide telephone or telecom services.
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    HD Broadcasting

    The first public High definition broadcasts are made in the US. On March 6, 1999, HBO begins broadcasting motion pictures in HD. By November of 1999, 70 channels nationwide are broadcasting in HD.
  • HDTV

    History of HDTV HDTV products become available to consumers. The first HDTVs cost between 5 and 10 thousand dollars.
  • The DVR Revolution begins

    The DVR Revolution begins
    TiVo Corporate History The world's first Digital Video Recorder shipped to consumers. TiVo allowed consumers to find and record shows, and watch them at their convenience. "Time shifting" has become a major part of consumer's television watching habits.
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    Cable Service Expansion

    Cable companies begin offering additional services through existing coaxial lines.
  • AT&T Comcast Merger

    AT&T Comcast Merger
    FCC documentation of AT&T Comcast Merger In December of 2001, AT&T merged its broadband and cable television divisions to Comcast, creating the largest cable televsion provider in the US.
  • Cable Internet and VOIP

    Cable Internet and VOIP
    A history of VOIP By July of 2002, 10 million people in the US were using cable technology for internet access, and 2 million more were using cable as their phone connection.
  • DTV Transition

    DTV Transition
    The Digital Changeover Many cable companies begin moving their programming channels to digital tiers, meaning cable subscribers who don't use a set top box begin to lose channels.