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When did you first get cable TV (non OTA)?

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by ejjames, May 2, 2010.

  1. jkane

    jkane Icon

    Oct 12, 2007
    The house I grew up in and the house my brother still lives in plus the house my Dad lives in now still do not have cable. Central Wisconsin. The land of fresh "dairy-air". Even cell phone service does not work there.

    Our cottage also does not have cable. It barely has electricity and phone service. They just put up the first cell tower last year.

    My first cable was after I joined the Army. It was so amazing to see more than 3 channels!
  2. the_batman

    the_batman AllStar

    Sep 20, 2007
    1977 back in Alabama
  3. Phil T

    Phil T Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    Mar 25, 2002
    I think you are right, it must have been CATV because I remember the channels being very fuzzy.

  4. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

    Nov 15, 2005
    1979 - Philadelphia

    Don't recall the carrier... but remember the big push button box, that had an a/b/c switcher so you can have 39 channels.

    I remember the 50ft cord that it was attached to, and vividly remember sitting up on the counter by the basement windows watching TV... waiting for dad to come home from work.
  5. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

    Jul 8, 2002
    New Hampshire
    1976 - Nashua NH - Time Warner Cable TV

    I remember the entire lineup.

    2 - WGBH Boston (PBS)
    3 - WMUR Manchester (ABC, Ch 9)
    4 - WBZ Boston (then NBC)
    5 - WCVB Boston (ABC)
    6 - WLVI Boston (then IND, Ch. 56)
    7 - WNAC Boston (then CBS)
    8 - WSBK Boston (then IND, Ch. 38)
    9 - Couldn't have anything on that channel due to interference from WMUR CH 9.
    10 - WJAR Providence (NBC)
    11 - WENH Durham NH (PBS)
    12 - WPRI Providence (CBS)
    13 - CKSH Sherbrooke Quebec (SRC / CBC)
  6. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

    Feb 23, 2007
    Uxbridge, MA
    1979 in Webster, MA.

    I don't remember the whole lineup, but I do remember HBO and seeing for the first time their movie intro on my 27" Trinitron. The intro showed you flying through a little city while using the same music they still use today. I remember seeing a piece on how it was made!

    Also - HSN caused quite a stir the first time that came on!


    EDIT: Found the 'making of'!

  7. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    Lincoln Cable Television (later acquired by Charter)
    Lincoln City, Oregon ~1974

    This is an area that is essentially cut off from OTA by the Oregon Coast Range of small hills ("major mountain range" in Atlantic Coast parlance).

    They had about 20 channels including all Portland DMA and Eugene DMA and some superstations. I later remember signing a contract for Showtime that said that they wouldn't play movies older than two years out of the theater.

    The system included a weather channel that had a B/W camera panning and pausing (maybe the gauges were spinning about the camera???) at analog gauges for wind speed, wind direction, humidity, barometric pressure and temperature.

    Comcast dragged out cable to my main residence in 1994 and replaced it all with fiber a couple of years later. Let's just say I lost interest when they went digital. ;)
  8. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    My parents got cable in 1976. The cable box looked similar to this one (black & silver with a big knob), except ours had only a 2-position knob, labeled "2-13" and "Showtime".


    We moved in mid 1977 and got a new box, very similar to this one, with a slider for a tuner:


    I'm not sure what the cable company was called, but around 1980, they were bought out by Viacom, and soon after, we were upgraded to our first "modern" cable box, the Zenith ST-1600:


    This box got the family well into the 1990s, eventually being replaced by a General Instruments model sometime in the mid-90s.

    I bought my house in 1996, and very soon after moving in, my then-roommate/tenant and I went in together and bought a DirecTV system:

    We paid:

    - $150 for a Sony 18" dish with 2 (!) outputs on the LNB (a single-output LNB dish was only $99!).


    - $349 for a Sony SAT-A2 receiver (didn't even support DD5.1).

    - $99 for a "Do-It-Yourself Satellite Installation Kit"


    And then we got to do the install ourselves.

    At the time, DirecTV didn't carry any premium movie channels; you had to subscribe to USSB, a separate company, to get them on your box.
  9. ARKDTVfan

    ARKDTVfan Icon

    May 19, 2003
    early 80s (circa 1982)

    I remembering watching Gallagher on Showtime back in 1985 (yes mom let me watch that)
  10. TheRatPatrol

    TheRatPatrol Hall Of Fame

    Oct 1, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Wow a lot of work to make that intro, but it was a great intro, really got you pumped up to watch the movie.

    Ours looked similar to that one too, it had more channel numbers on it and didn't have the on/off switch. My dad had it sitting on the end table so you could change channels from the couch.
  11. jacksonm30354

    jacksonm30354 Icon

    Mar 29, 2007
    1972-1973. Columbus Cablevision (which became TCI which is now Charter).
    2 - HBO
    3 - music (audio only)
    4 - WRBL-TV3 CBS
    5 - ESPN
    6 - WANX-46 Ind from Atlanta
    7 - WTCG-17 Ind from Atlanta (predecessor to TBS)
    8 - WYEA-38 NBC (now WLTZ)
    9 - music (audio only)
    10 - WTVM-9 ABC
    11 WJSP-28 PBS/GPTV

    I may have some of those wrong as I was only 5 :). We may not even have HBO or ESPN right off the bat as I don't think they launched until 1974 or 75. I do know They shuffled WTBS to 13 and they replaced WANX with WGN and moved it to 12. 7 became USA and 6 became CBN.

    Columbus (the one in Georgia by the way, not Ohio) had 2 cable companies each assigned different neighborhoods. TeleCable (now Mediacom) expanded beyond 2-13 YEARS before Cablevision. I'd have to go to my friends homes in Telecable areas to watch MTV and they got it on launch (1982) I think it was 1985 or so before Cablevision expanded beyond 2-13.

    Interestingly, Columbus added a 3rd cable company - Knology - in the 90's. So most neighborhoods have a choice between Knology/Charter or Knology/Mediacom. Competition at first brought prices down, but now they aren't really any less than what Comcast offers where I am in Atlanta now.
  12. B Newt

    B Newt Icon

    Aug 12, 2007
    When I was a kid we got cable in Dublin California in 1964.
  13. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

    Feb 23, 2007
    Uxbridge, MA
    I remember as a kid in the early 60's living near Hartford, CT there wasn't cable, but there was a pay OTA station. It was channel 18.

    I don't know what was on it, because our family did not subscribe. You needed a decoder box to see it.


    The channel aired between 1962 & 1968. The idea died because the Zenith's Phonevision descrambler could not do color (according to a TV guide article).


  14. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    In Salem Oregon, we had a short visit from the OnTV OTA pay channel. It used UHF and a simple scrambler. It was interesting in that they would occasionally send content in the clear. I remember them sending an adult feature in the clear one evening.

    I also remember seeing something about an OTA pay channel in Chicago that used a special spherical antenna.
  15. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Milton, WV late 70's.

    We got the local networks plus WGN, WTBS (which was something else back then before Ted named it after himself) and WXIX out of Cincinnati. Loved all the baseball I could watch on WGN and WTBS. I do remember not getting MTV at launch and wanting it so badly. Of course, we didn't have DVR's to record Friday Night Video's back then. :)

    I ended up with DirecTV because I got married in 1994 and we were moving into a new neighborhood. CATV had not been run down our street yet, so while we were on our honeymoon, my parents had DirecTV installed for us. It was way better than cable, so I have never looked back.

    Edit: WTBS used to be WTCG Channel 17.
  16. jazzyd971fm

    jazzyd971fm Godfather

    Sep 1, 2007
    Got TCI cable in 1989. Upgraded to digital about 10 yrs later (by then went from TCI to ATT to Charter) When I moved in 2003, switched to DirecTv and never looked back ;)
  17. xmguy

    xmguy Active Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Middle, TN
    McMinnville, TN

    Growing up. I sad C-Band Stationary sat for main channels and premiums. But prior had OTA. Sat was from early 90's to 94-95.

    Got CableVision basic analog cable in 94-95 (later bought up by Charter). Since I was a kid I knew the main ones. BTW Sat was locked on G5 Sat.

    2- WKRN (ABC)
    3- WZTV (FOX)
    4- WSMV (NBC)
    5- WTVF (CBS)
    6- Local Access
    15- WGN (recorded Knight Rider on this one every Monday)
    25- Nickelodeon
    27- Disney (I think)
    46- SciFi Channel
  18. sadoun

    sadoun AllStar

    May 28, 2002
    I never had cable tv service. Always OTA or satellite. I had my 1st fully motorized C-band dish with Toshiba receiver back in 1989.
  19. n3ntj

    n3ntj Hall Of Fame

    Dec 18, 2006
    Growing up, my family first got cable TV around 1981 or so.. TeleMedia was the cable company (later became TCI, then Adelphia, it's now Time Warner where my parents still live)

    I can still remember the basic cable lineup from day 1:

    2 - HBO
    3- USA Network (used to watch the NY Rangers when they were on there)
    4 - WUAB - 43- Loraine/Cleveland (Ind)
    5 - WQLN - 54- Erie (PBS)
    6 - Community access (sometimes also carried WKYC, WEWS, WJW in Cleveland)
    7 - WICU - 12- Erie (NBC)
    8 - WJET - 24- Erie (ABC)
    9 - WSEE - 35- Erie (CBS)
    10 - WTBS Superstation (Atlanta)
    11 - CHCH - Hamilton, ONT (Ind)
    12 - Local ads/NOAA weather radio (didn't have programming since it would interfere with WICU)
    13 - CKCO - Kitchener, ONT (CTV)

    I've had D* since I bought my first home in 1998 and would never choose our local cable company (Comcrap).
  20. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

    Jul 21, 2002
    1981, Kansas City. Got a slider box with 35 channels including filler such as the old Satellite Programming Network, which provided slow-scan still photos and news. I care mainly because that's why they had to add an E to ESPN when it started.

    At the time, I was working for a morning newspaper, so I didn't get home till 1:30 or 2 in the morning. During the day, cable meant the difference between about 25 watchable channels on the box vs. 6 OTA. By the time I got home, it was the difference between about 20 vs. 1 OTA. Huge difference! (Remember when most OTA stations would sign off at night?)

    About 20 years later, my job included a super-low employee rate for cable TV. (Long story.) When I got laid off, I barely had time to make it home before the rate went up to normal. Dish Network was running a $9/month intro rate, so I bought a 311 at Sears and never looked back.

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