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Encyclopedia > Cable television in the United States

Cable television in the United States is a common form of television delivery, generally by subscription. Cable television first became available in the United States in 1948, with subscription services in 1949. Recent data shows that 84.8% of all American homes have access to cable television [1]. Coaxial cable is often used to transmit cable television into the house. ... The subscription business model is a business model that has long been used by magazines and record clubs, but the application of this model is spreading. ...

Contents

History and regulation

During the television licensing freeze of 1948-1952, the demand for television increased. Since new television licenses were not being issued, the only way the demand was met was by Community Antenna Television. The first American CATV System is believed to have been developed in 1948 by Robert Tarlton. He had interest in an appliance store that began to carry televisions. A major problem in selling televisions in Lansford, Pennsylvania was that the stations which were available were received very poorly due to Lansford's location in a narrow valley roughly 100 miles from New York City and Philadelphia, PA. Lansford is a borough located in Carbon County, Pennsylvania. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... This article refers to the largest city of Pennsylvania. ...


Tarlton and several other prominent town businessmen built an antenna on the top of a nearby mountain and strung a wire from it to Tarlton's shop and his house. The businessmen, including the founder of Jerrold Electronics Corporation, Milton Shapp, also developed a basic infrastructure (including the first cable signal amplifier, developed by Jerrold) to deploy and distribute the cable wire to homes in the community for a fee. In 1949 the world's first cable company was incorporated as The Panther Valley Cable Company, which eventually became Blue Ridge Cable Television. [2] Jerrold Electronics was a provider of cable television equipment, including subscriber converter boxes, distribution network equipment (amplifiers, multitap outlets), and central office equipment. ... Gov. ... Year 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Another system was built less than 20 miles away in the nearby town of Mahanoy City, PA at roughly the same time with very little or no common knowledge between the two systems. The Mahanoy system was founded by John Walson. The Mahanoy system eventually became Service Electric Cable Television. Mahanoy City is a borough located in northern Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. ... John Walson Sr. ... Service Electric Cable TV is a cable television company serving Eastern Pennsylvania. ...


Both Panther Valley and Mahanoy were originally three-channel systems and were upgraded to five. Other systems were built: some conceived the idea independently, others didn't, and others laid claim to the title of first.


Federal interest

On August 1, 1949 T.J. Slowie, a secretary of the Federal Communications Commission, sent a letter to a CATV pioneer in Astoria, Oregon, L.E. Parsons, requesting he "furnish the Commission full information with respect to the nature of the system you may have developed and may be operating." He did. This is the first known involvement of the FCC in CATV. An FCC lawyer, E. Stratford Smith, determined the Commission could exercise common carrier jurisdiction over CATV. The FCC didn't act on this opinion and Smith later changed his mind after working in the cable industry for some time and testifying in Senate committee hearings. Senator and future Federal Communications Commissioner Kenneth A. Cox attended and participated in these hearings. He prepared a report for the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce against CATV and supporting the FCC policy of a television station in every community. is the 213th day of the year (214th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The FCCs official seal. ... The Astoria Column Suomi Hall, the meeting hall of Finnish and Scandinavian immigrants, under the Astoria-Megler Bridge Woman walking her dog along the Columbia River in Astoria The city of Astoria is the county seat of Clatsop County, Oregon, United States. ... A common carrier is an organization that transports persons or goods, and offers its services to the general public. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Politics Portal      The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral United States Congress, the...


In 1959 and 1961 bills were introduced in Congress that would have determined the role of the FCC in CATV policy. The 1959 bill, which actually made it to the floor of the Senate, would have limited FCC jurisdiction to CATV systems within the contours, i.e. the broadcast range, of a single station. It was defeated. The 1961 bill proposed by the FCC would have given the Commission authority over CATV as CATV, and not as a common carrier or broadcaster. The Commission could then adopt rules and regulations "in the public interest" to govern CATV in any area covered both by CATV and broadcast television. No action was ever taken on this bill. Congress in Joint Session. ...


More important than Congressional action in determining Federal Communications Commission CATV policy were court cases and FCC hearings. Frontier Broadcasting Co. v. Collier was a hearing in which broadcasters tried to get the FCC to exercise common carrier authority over 288 CATV systems in 36 states. The broadcasters maintained that CATV went against the FCC's Sixth Report and Order, which advocated at least one television station in every community. In 1958, the FCC decided that CATV was not really a common carrier since the subscriber did not determine the programming. Carter Mountain Transmission Corp., a common carrier that already transmitted television signals by microwave to CATV systems in several Wyoming towns, wanted to add a second signal to two of the towns and add two signals to a previously unserved town. A television station in one town opposed this and protested to the FCC on the grounds of economic damage. A hearing examiner supported Carter Mountain but the Commission supported the television station. The case was taken to appeal, as most are, and the Federal Communications Commission won. "The fact that no broadcaster has actually gone off the air due to CATV competition at the time the government moved to expand its authority (nor have any since) did not stay the momentum for the expansion of regulatory authority. That some economic impact was merely plausible sufficed as the basis for government concern and government action." The FCC overruled a hearing examiner in favor of broadcasters again in the "San Diego Case". The CATV systems in San Diego, California wanted to import stations from Los Angeles, some of which could be seen in San Diego; the television stations in San Diego didn't want the signals imported. The television stations won, not allowing the signals on future cable lines in San Diego and its environs. The FCC's reasoning was to protect the present and future ultra high frequency stations in San Diego. “San Diego” redirects here. ... This article is about the radio frequency. ...


In the First Report and Order by the Federal Communications Commission on CATV the FCC gave itself the power to regulate CATV. This Report and Order was designed to protect small town television stations. It did this by imposing two rules, which in slightly altered form still stand: one requires that a CATV system carry all local stations in which the CATV system is in the "A" (best reception) contour of the station. The second prohibits the importation of programs from a non-local station that duplicates programming on a local station if the duplication is shown either 15 days before or 15 days after its local airing. This 1965 report reasoning is as follows: 1) CATV should carry local stations because CATV supplements, not replaces, local stations and the non-carriage of local stations gives distant stations an advantage since people will not change from the cable to the antenna to see a local station; 2) non-carriage is "inherently contrary to the public interest"; 3) CATV duplication of local programming via distant signals is unfair since broadcasters and CATV do not compete for programs on an equal footing; the FCC recommends "a reasonable measure of exclusivity".


The 1966 Second Report and Order made some minor changes in the First Report and Order and added a major regulation. This was designed to protect UHF stations in large cities. The new rule disallowed the importation of distant signals into the top 100 markets, thus making CATV at that time profitable only in cities with poor reception. In 1968 the Supreme Court upheld the FCC's right to make rules and regulations concerning CATV. In its decision on United States v. Southwestern Cable, the "San Diego Case", it said "the Commissions authority over 'all interstate ... communications by wire or radio' permits the regulation of CATV systems."


Public access television

In 1969 the FCC issued rules requiring all CATV systems with over 3500 subscribers to have facilities for local origination of programming by April 1, 1971. The date was later suspended. In 1972, Dean Burch steered the FCC into a new area of regulation. It lifted its restrictions on CATV in large cities, but now put the burden of more local programming on CATV operators. In 1976, the FCC used its rule making power to require that new systems now had to have 20 channels, and that cable providers with systems of 3500 subscribers or more had to provide PEG (public, education, and government access) channel capacity, and facilities and equipment necessary to use this capacity. Look up public access television in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... Look up public access television in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Programming

See also: Premium television

Cable television programming is often divided between basic and premium programming. Basic cable TV networks are generally transmitted without any scrambling or other special methods and thus anyone connected to the cable TV system can receive them. Basic cable networks receive at least some funding through fees paid by the cable TV systems for the right to include the network in its channel lineup. Most basic cable TV networks also include advertising to supplement the fees, due to their programming cost being greater than the fees paid by cable TV systems. Premium cable refers to networks, such as HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime, that scramble or encrypt their signals so that only those paying additional monthly fees to their cable TV system can legally view them (via the use of cable box or converter). Because these networks command much higher fees from cable TV systems, their programming is generally commercial free. Premium television (sometimes pay television in North America) generally refers to a class of commercial-free television services which are available for subscription through cable and satellite television for fees much higher than traditional, packaged cable networks or specialty services. ... Television encryption, often referred to as scrambling, is encryption used to control access to pay television services, usually cable or satellite television services. ... line up (or line-up) may refer to a queue of waiting people a police lineup (or identity parade) of suspects the roster of a sports team at a given time (see batting order) the members of a music band at a given time the acts performing at a concert... For other uses, see HBO (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Showtime is a subscription television brand used by a number of channels and platforms around the world, but primarily refers to a group of channels in the United States. ...


There are several features of cable programming that distinguish it from broadcast television. Because cable television carries more bandwidth than broadcast TV (10 to 20 times as many channels), there is room for more specialized channels catering to particular demographics or interests. Also, because cable TV networks rely much less, or in some cases not at all, on revenue from commercials, they can feature programming (such as specialty sports or programming in foreign languages) that draws much smaller viewer numbers than what broadcast networks would find acceptable. And finally, since cable TV channels cannot be viewed by those (e.g., children) without the proper equipment, the FCC’s rules regarding acceptable content do not apply to cable TV networks, allowing greater freedom in the use of profanity, sex and violence.


The lack of restrictions on content has led to cable TV programs with more adult-oriented content such as nudity and strong language, including some premium cable networks broadcasting pornography programs. Premium cable networks have traditionally been the loosest with regard to content, since they require a cable box to view, making it easier to restrict children’s access to them. Thus, one can find nudity, foul language, and even pornography on these networks. Basic cable, on the other hand, has not traditionally been as loose with regard to content. While there are no FCC rules that apply to content on basic cable networks, because most such networks rely at least partly on advertising revenue, they have buckled to pressure from advertisers to keep their content more in line with that of broadcast TV. Thus, many basic cable networks voluntarily censor their programs, particularly with regard to language and nudity. In recent years though, some basic cable networks have begun to relax their self-imposed restrictions, particularly late at night. Thus, programs like Comedy Central’s South Park often contain content deemed unsuitable for U.S. broadcast TV. Some basic cable networks have also recently aired R-rated movies, uncut, late at night (i.e., Comedy Central's The Secret Stash). “Clothes free” redirects here. ... Porn redirects here. ... Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel in the United States. ... This article is about the TV series. ... Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel in the United States. ... The Secret Stash is a name given by Comedy Central to its uncensored early morning programming. ...


A la carte

Further information: Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007

There has been a recent push to create laws that force cable providers to allow consumers to purchase individual cable TV channels "a la carte," i.e. to allow them to pick and choose which channels they would like to have available in their homes. This is not likely to occur until digital cable television becomes popular, although technically, analog cable television would be sufficient if all channels were scrambled, as it is very difficult to notch out individual channels from a cable TV line without scrambling. For example, many cable providers have a "basic plan" consisting of local channels and a few national cable networks; and an "economy basic" plan consisting of local channels only. Both plans are supplied on the same cable, but the cable company can filter out the expanded channels to the "economy basic" subscribers using a low-pass filter which filters out higher channels. Notch filters are available which can filter out a "notch" of channels (for example, channels 45-50 can be "notched" out yet the subscriber can receive channels below 45 and higher than 50). However, to do this individually for a single subscriber who wants many "notches," would be very difficult unless a scrambling system is used requiring a set-top box. These problems are alleviated with the use of digital cable, which requires a set-top converter box. This converter can be programmed remotely to allow or disallow access to channels on an individual basis. The use of IPTV (i.e., delivery of television over an internet or IP-based network) makes it even easier, since the provisioning of channels can be fully automated. The Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007 is a proposed bipartisan bill introduced by United States Representatives Daniel Lipinski and Jeff Fortenberry intending to allow families to choose and pay for only the cable television channels that they want to watch so that it will be easier to protect... This article is about internet protocol television. ...


The current cable and satellite delivery systems provide an opportunity for networks that service niche and minority audiences to reach millions of households, and potentially, millions of viewers. Since a la carte could force each channel to be sold individually, many of these networks could face a significant reduction in subscription fees and advertising revenue, potentially driving them out of business. For these reasons, cable/satellite providers and programmers are reluctant to introduce an a la carte business model. Others however believe that by allowing a less expensive entry point into the cable marketplace the a la carte option would actually increase overall sales through the addition of new subscribers. Often when programming distributors would like to sell channels a la carte they are prevented by contract from the program creators who force an all-or-nothing approach.[3]


On June 14, 2007, United States Representatives Dan Lipinski (Democratic, Illinois) and Jeff Fortenberry (Republican, Nebraska) introduced into legislation the Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007, which intends to allow families to choose and pay for only the cable television channels that they want to watch.[4] is the 165th day of the year (166th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... Daniel William Lipinski (born July 15, 1966), U.S. Democratic Party politician, He is a member of the United States House of Representatives representing the heavily-Democratic 3rd Congressional District of Illinois (map), having been elected in 2004 to succeed his father, Bill Lipinski. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  Politics Portal      Further information: Politics of the United States#Organization of American political parties The Democratic... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (149,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... Jeffrey Lane Fortenberry, born December 27, 1960 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is a Republican U.S. Representative from the first Congressional district of Nebraska (seemap]). He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004, succeeding the more moderate Doug Bereuter, who resigned. ... The Republican Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States of America, along with the Democratic Party. ... Official language(s) English Capital Lincoln Largest city Omaha Largest metro area Omaha Area  Ranked 16th  - Total 77,421 sq mi (200,520 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 430 miles (690 km)  - % water 0. ...


Providers

There has been much discussion in recent years regarding the consolidation of media and entertainment.

Cable Service Providers
Programing Content Providers

NBC wholly owned by General Electric Corporation Comcast Corporation, (NASDAQ: CMCSA) based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the largest cable company[1] and the second largest Internet service provider in the United States. ... For other uses, see Cablevision (disambiguation). ...


Time Warner Time Warner Inc. ...


Cable television fees and programming lineups

Cable TV systems impose a monthly fee depending on the number and perceived quality of the channels offered. Cable TV subscribers are offered various packages of channels one can subscribe to. The cost of each package depends on the type of channels offered (basic vs. premium) and the quantity. These fees cover the fees paid to individual networks for the right to carry their network, as well as the cost of operating and maintaining the cable TV system so that their signals can reach subscribers homes. Additional fees and taxes are often tacked on by local, state, and federal governments. The fee the cable TV system must pay to a cable TV network will vary depending on whether it is a basic or premium channel and the perceived popularity of that channel. Because cable TV systems are not required to carry any basic cable channels, they may negotiate the fee they will pay for carrying a channel. Thus more popular networks are able to command higher fees than less popular networks. Subscriber fees paid to basic cable networks have a benefit in that advertisement breaks on some basic cable channels are either absent or their number and duration are lower than on broadcast TV, where ads make up around 25% of programming in the U.S.


Most cable systems divide their channel lineups into three or four basic channel packages. A must-carry rule requires all cable TV systems to carry local broadcast stations on their lineups. Cable TV systems are also required to offer a subscription package that provides these broadcast channels at a lower rate than the standard subscription rate. The basic programming package offered by cable TV systems is usually known as basic cable and provides access to a large number of basic cable TV networks, as well as broadcast channels, and local-access television channels. Some systems refer to this package as expanded basic, with their most minimal package being referred to as basic cable. In addition to the basic cable packages, all systems offer premium channel add-on packages offering either just one premium network (e.g. HBO) or several premium networks for one price (e.g. HBO and Showtime together). Finally, most cable systems offer pay per view channels where users can watch individual movies, live programs, sports, etc. for an additional fee for single viewing at a scheduled time. Some cable systems have begun to offer on-demand programming, where customers can select programs from a list of offerings including recent releases of movies, concerts, sports, and reruns of TV shows and specials and start the program whenever they wish, as if they were watching a DVD or a VHS tape. Some of the offerings have a cost similar to renting a movie at a video store while others are free. In the United States, must-carry is a regulation by the FCC requiring that cable TV systems must carry all locally-licensed television stations. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Video on demand (VOD) systems allow users to select and watch video and clip content over a network as part of an interactive television system. ...


Starting in the late 1990s, advances in digital signal compression (primarily Motorola's DigiCipher 2 technology in North America) have given rise to wider implementation of digital cable services. Digital cable provides many more television channels over the same available bandwidth, by converting cable TV channels to a digital signal and then compressing the signal. Currently, most systems offer a hybrid analog/digital cable system. This means they offer a certain number of analog channels via basic cable service with additional channels being made available via digital cable service. Thus subscribers wishing to have access to digital cable channels must have a special cable box (or, more recently, a "Digital Cable Ready" TV and a CableCARD) to receive them. Additional subscription fees are also usually required to receive these digital channels. Digital cable channels are touted as being able to offer a higher quality picture than their analog counterparts. This is often true. However digital compression has a tendency to soften the quality of the television picture, particularly of channels that are more heavily compressed. Pixilation and other artifacts are often visible. For the band, see 1990s (band). ... DigiCipher 2, or simply DCII, is a digital signal compression standard used on many communications satellite television and audio signals. ... North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... Digital cable is a term for a type of cable digital television that delivers more channels than possible with analog cable by using digital video compression. ... CableCARD is a plug in card approximately the size of a credit card that allows consumers to view and record digital cable on televisions, digital video recorders, and personal computers without the use of other equipment provided by a cable company. ...


On November 1, 2006, Comcast dropped its hybrid digital/analog broadcasts on their digital cable system. which means even the basic cable channels (typically channels 99 and lower) now appear as clear as the digital cable channels (typically channels 100 and higher). is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Many cable systems operate as local monopolies in the United States, as only one cable company typically receives the right to serve a region as a result of a franchise agreement with a local government. For some franchises the agreement is explicitly exclusive; for others the local authority retains the right to franchise overbuilders but does not do so. In some areas that is changing as competition has been allowed to enter the market, including, in some cases, city run cable systems. The rise of Direct Broadcast Satellite systems providing the same type of programming using small satellite receivers, and of Verizon FiOS, have also provided competition to cable TV systems, opening the possiblity of cable television declining. Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) is a term used to refer to satellite television broadcasts intended for home reception, also referred to as direct-to-home signals. ... FiOS is a fiber to the premises (FTTP) telecommunications service offered in the United States by Verizon. ...


A chart showing the North American cable television bandplan can be found here. North America cable television broadcast band Channels T-7 through T-14 are sub-band channels and are not used for normal television channel distribution. ...


References

  1. ^ http://www.onetvworld.org/?module=displaystory&story_id=1480&format=html
  2. ^ Meyer, Mary Alice (August 1987). John Walson - Oral History Collection. CableCenter.org. The Cable Center. Retrieved on 2007-07-06.
  3. ^ Conda, Cesar V. "Cable, À La Carte?", CBSNews.com, CBS, 2006-01-13. Retrieved on 2007-07-05. 
  4. ^ Office of United States Congressman Daniel Lipinski (2007-06-14). Lipinski Introduces Bill to Give Parents Family-Friendly TV Options. Press release. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 187th day of the year (188th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... CBS Broadcasting, Inc. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Dan Lipinski (born July 15, 1966), U.S. Democratic Party politician, He is a member of the United States House of Representatives representing the 3rd Congressional District of Illinois (mainly the inner suburbs of Chicago, map), having been elected in 2004 to succeed his father, Bill Lipinski. ... A press release (sometimes known as a news release or press statement) is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

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