How Long Has Cable TV Been Around

The inception of television, as one of the most iconic technological inventions of all time, opened doors to a new era of entertainment. With a TV set transmitting video signals over long distances, news, dramas, talk shows, and various forms of entertainment became a reality. The face of television we see today has been a result of major transformation and up-gradation. If you look back to the times when the first TV set was created and compare it with its recent versions, you will utter, “Eureka, we have come a long way!” During this journey, the television industry has grown remarkably and cable television has found a central spot in almost every household across the country and the world. The birth of cable TV has marked the beginning of limitless entertainment. 

Once considered a luxury, cable TV is now a basic commodity. All thanks to the praise-worthy cable providers like RCN cable, for instance, that have diced out extraordinary cable TV plans at budget-friendly rates. Therefore, as per your affordability, you are likely to find the most suitable cable TV package for your entertainment needs. Having said that, let us take a walk back to the times when cable TV first came into existence and how it evolved to its crucial modern form that we witness today. Let’s go!

Birth of Cable TV

It can be hard to tell exactly when cable TV first came to the scene. In the early times, all the signals were transmitted over the air. Therefore, those who lived in any remote area far away from the broadcast stations were not able to access the signals, and so, they could not enjoy television. Then, came the community antennas back in 1948 when the world first experienced cable TV in the true sense, marking a new technological era in the history of entertainment. 

FCC Halts New Broadcasting Stations

Since the creation of the first cable network in 1948, there was an instant rise in TV popularity and it led to a large number of new broadcast stations budding throughout the United States. This also paved the way for some signal interference issues, so FCC stopped the construction of new broadcast stations, which was a good initiative as it helped streamline the existing infrastructure. 

A Slowdown in Cable TV Growth

The next two decades witnessed tremendous growth in cable TV subscriptions. Many saw cable TV as a strong competitor to the local channels. This is why the broadcast television industry started putting pressure on FCC to take action. Consequently, in 1962, cable companies were restricted to import broadcast signals from a specific long distance. 

This had a major setback on the growth of the cable TV industry and subscriptions. Thus, few people subscribed to cable TV in the 1960s. It was not until the 1970s when the cable industry saw a rebirth. 

The Comeback of Cable TV in the 1970s

The constant resistance enacted by the cable companies led to the loosening of the FCC policies to prevent broadcasting signals from a further distance. This once again opened doors to progress and growth for the cable industry. More investments in its infrastructure and propagation were witnessed that eventually resulted in wider coverage and better reach during the 1970s.

Rapid Progress in the 1980s

The cable industry, which was already booming, gained more impetus during the 1980s. It gained an instant boost when Congress agreed to the Cable Communication Policy Act, allowing relaxed regulations and supporting the growth of infrastructure to facilitate cable networks. 

Cable Industry in the Recent Times

Cable is now no longer a luxury rather it has become a staple of the American lifestyle, being accessible in far-flung areas and available to the majority. With cable TV becoming more and more popular, the cable companies stepped up their game to survive the rising competition among each other and to assure maximum customer retention. Hence, they made use of the existing cable infrastructure to provide high-speed cable internet services – a big move that served the cable industry in the ever-changing digital world. 

Especially with Netflix turning the tables in the entertainment industry since its creation in 2007, the rising streaming services have been posing serious competition to the cable industry and speeding up the cord-cutting trends. Nobody knows if the cable industry is to become obsolete or continue being a competitor to streaming platforms. 

Final Words

The aforementioned history of the cable industry has been exciting and has had its twists and turns, eventually reaching to its widespread coverage and popularity we see today. We do not know what the future holds for cable TV, but in the times we stand today, it will be true to say that the impact of the booming online streaming services on the cable tycoons will be tumultuous. Despite having its importance in the American lifestyle, cable TV does seem to be standing at a turning point today, where it might need to make some major decisions to catch its pace again and survive the competition.

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Last modified: June 29, 2021


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