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Old 08-24-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Space Coast
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It was some time in the early to mid 70s. I have no idea what the channels were, since I was just a kid and spent most of my time playing outside then watching tv. I remember getting HBO when it first became available in our area in the mid 70s.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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How many have cable now?
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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My dad had cable growing up in the 1970s as a teenager.

When we moved up to Duluth in 1990, we were hooked up for cable. At the time it was "Bresnan", which provided about 30 channels. 36 was the highest channel until a major expansion of the system in 1993 RIGHT after we got it disconnected before moving to our present house (where there is no cable, then or now). I remember the following channels:

2 - Showtime (scrambled)
4 - KDLH CBS (off-air channel 3)
5 - KBJR NBC (off-air channel 6)
7 - Public access
9 - KMSP (Minnesota's "superstation" from St. Paul)
11 - WDSE PBS (off-air channel 8)
12 - WGN?
13 - WDIO ABC (off-air channel 10)
14 - 36: Lifetime, AMC, TBS, A&E, MTV, VH1, CNN, CNBC, The Weather Channel, Bravo, Discovery Channel, TLC, ESPN, MSC (Midwest Sports Channel, now known as "Fox Sports North"), TNN, TNT, USA Network, probably a few that I missed
Mid 20's (scrambled): HBO, Encore, The Movie Channel, Cinemax

After they expanded the system the highest channel was in the 50s or so. I remember them adding E!, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, the Sci-Fi Channel, among others. The analog system expanded into the 60s by 1995 or 1996 and into the 80s by 1999, at which point there was digital cables.

I uncovered a local newspaper from 1985, and the channel numbers on the cable TV listings only went up into the lower 20s or so. Interestingly, WKBD out of Detroit was offered as a superstation.

When we moved to our present home, there was no cable, but (initially only C-Band) satellite and a service called BEAM TV were available. BEAM TV used scrambled UHF channels, which could be unlocked for a monthly payment. The following was the line-up:

15 Sci-Fi Channel
27 CNN
30 TBS
32 USA Network
34 Discovery Channel
38 Family Channel
56 Showtime
60 Nickelodeon

(Yes, there were only eight channels)

In 1996, we ordered Primestar. At the time, there was also DSS (DirecTV / USSB) and the newly-launched Dish Network, as well as the traditional big dish (which had begun its long decline). Primestar required a 365" dish, but we had lots and lots of land so there was no problem. Initially it offered about 70-80 video and 7 (yes, 7) audio channels, as well as around 4 or 5 pay-per-view channels - quite inferior to DSS or the best satellite dish at the time, the "big" dish (which were also very expensive equipment- and installation-wise). Primestar's channel offerings were greatly expanded when they transitioned to a new satellite, although the "newer" services associated with the smaller dish systems (such as an Electronic Program Guide) were still unavailable.

We couldn't afford Primestar anymore in late 1998, when we dropped it for off-air reception of the four local stations.

In October 2000, we had a Dish Network system installed, which was a major relief in terms of channel selection. I remember browsing through all the new channels - Link TV, Free Speech TV, Discovery Civilization, etc. In March 2010, however, we couldn't pay the bill on it any longer.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:04 AM
 
41,049 posts, read 42,779,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
First time my parents got cable was in the early 1970s in rural Montana. There was, and I believe still is no over the air stations in that part of the state. But there was a cable TV system
Ironic that many rural areas have trouble getting cable now but it's rural areas where it got it's start right here in Pennsylvania.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:15 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,796 posts, read 44,303,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Ironic that many rural areas have trouble getting cable now but it's rural areas where it got it's start right here in Pennsylvania.
Yep. Much of the northern tier of PA couldn't get reception so some locals started a cable company.

To answer the original question:
Around 1964. Four Pittsburgh stations (2, 4, 11 and 13 PBS) and Channel 6 out of Johnstown. Which was two more than could be received via the rotating antenna on the roof.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:51 AM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,139 posts, read 9,221,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Moved into a house where the cable had been left on, so I had it until the squirrels ate the connections. That was in 1979. Channels 2-13, but my FM radio cold be hooked up to cable, too, since the FM band came in the gap between channels 6 and 7, and the cable company tapped into that too, so it was like having a big outdoor FM antenna. The premium Movie Channel was on one of those, but I was filtered out for that. This was in a town 70 air miles from the nearest off-air TV transmitting tower, so it was fairly essential -- no usable signal with rabbit ears. There were only a couple of cable-only channels then, I think maybe just WGN and TBS, everything else I got was just local stations.
I remember that the cable service I had in the early 1980s offered FM radio. The best thing about it was that they had FM stereo simulcasts for movies on HBO and Showtime. In those days of mono TV it was pretty cool to be able listen to the movies with stereo sound from the radio.

Quote:
Kaboom and Asheville, your systems were probably Community Antenna systems, where a mountaintop antenna picked up available signals and hard-wired them into individual homes. That technology first became available in 1948.
In my case I don't think it was CATV. CATV was mostly a 1940s & 50s thing. By the mid-50s most cable systems started using microwave relays to pick up stations from farther away. CATV was only good in areas that were less the 100 miles from the nearest TV station. Where we lived, we were about 300 miles from the nearest TV station. The farthest station we received was over 600 miles away in Spokane WA. Plus there were no mountains near by to put that big an antenna on.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,799,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
I remember that the cable service I had in the early 1980s offered FM radio. The best thing about it was that they had FM stereo simulcasts for movies on HBO and Showtime. In those days of mono TV it was pretty cool to be able listen to the movies with stereo sound from the radio.



In my case I don't think it was CATV. CATV was mostly a 1940s & 50s thing. By the mid-50s most cable systems started using microwave relays to pick up stations from farther away. CATV was only good in areas that were less the 100 miles from the nearest TV station. Where we lived, we were about 300 miles from the nearest TV station. The farthest station we received was over 600 miles away in Spokane WA. Plus there were no mountains near by to put that big an antenna on.
It's true that microwave was used, but enormous off-air receiving setups were also utilized by early cable TV providers. The cable system in Thunder Bay (then Port Arthur), Ontario used a gigantic array of antennas to get WBAY channel 2 out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, some 300 miles away.

This was also the way some network affiliates picked up their programming in the olden days from other affiliates on the same network.
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
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Default when did you first get cable tv ?

2006 through 2011 was first/only time my household had cable.

Grew up in home solely with broadcast (over-the-air) tv networks (the "big three" & PBS).
In my teens (circa 1990), family moved to urban area that had local FOX affiliate (one extra channel was a big deal at the time, it was 25% more than I'd previously had).
Of course, when visiting friends, I was able to watch a little MTV or whatnot.
Then I moved to rural place where I could only get 2 channels, but I coped with that for over a decade before getting cable service.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Here.
14,543 posts, read 13,269,944 times
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We had cable before infrared remote control was invented (or in widespread use). So the "remote control" was connected to the TV with a cable, which made finding it easier.

The remote control had a row of buttons, I think about 15. Then there was a three-way switch on the side, so each button could be used for three stations. So a total of about 45 stations. But many of them were "public access" that just showed a blank/fixed image.

This would have been in the late 70s.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Ohio
3,441 posts, read 5,346,083 times
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I first got cable about 1987 after moving into my own place, I had 70 some channels if I remember right, I had it for a few years and had it turned off, being a late twenty-something I was almost never home.

Back then MTV actually showed music videos 24/7, none of this "momma's big snatch" reality show crap.

Pauly Shore was a video jockey on MTV late 80's early 90's.

Court TV(now trutv) played court cases 24/7, some live, some taped.

Last edited by Trackwatch; 09-08-2012 at 09:32 AM..
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