Cable TV Channels
Pay Per View PPV
Playboy TV Adult Channel
Fox Sports Net
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. Data by SNL Kagan shows that as of 2006 about 58.4% of all American homes subscribe to basic cable television services.
Cable television in the United States in its first twenty-four years was used almost exclusively to relay over-the-air broadcast channels to remote and inaccessible areas. It also became popular in other areas which were not remote, but whose mountainous terrain caused poor reception over the air. Original programming came in 1972 with government deregulation of the industry.
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. 1948 - Cable TV began as Community Access Television (CATV).
In 1950, Robert Tarlton developed the first commercial cable television system in the United States. Mr. Tarlton organized a group of fellow television set retailers in Lansford, Pennsylvania, a town in the same region as Mahanoy City, to offer television signals from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania broadcast stations to homes in Lansford for a fee. The system was featured in stories in the New York Times, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. The publicity of this successful early system set off a wave of cable system construction throughout the United States, and Tarlton himself became a highly sought-after consultant.
Very early Jerrold cable converter box from the late 1970s
Tarlton used equipment manufactured by a new company, Jerrold Electronics. After seeing the success of the Tarlton system in 1950, Jerrold President Milton Shapp reorganized his company to build equipment for the now-growing cable industry. In 1952, Tarlton went to work for Jerrold, helping to construct most of the major systems built by that company in the 1950s, including the landmark system in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Tarlton was also responsible for training many of the major operators of cable systems in the 1950s. In 2003, Mr. Tarlton was inducted in the Cable Television Hall of Fame for his work building the first widely publicized cable television company in America.
A CATV System was developed in the late 1940s by James F. Reynolds. The cable started in his town of Maple Dale, Pennsylvania, then moved to his hometown in Sandy Lake, further progressing east to Stoneboro and Polk, and north to Cochranton and Meadville. Large industrious companies then took the cable invention and began deploying it around the United States. James's company was incorporated as Reynolds TV Cable, in 1975 it was sold to Rick Reynolds. Rick sold the company at a later date.
Cable television programming is often divided between basic and premium programming. Basic cable TV networks are generally transmitted without any scrambling or other encryption methods and thus anyone connected to the cable TV system can receive them. Basic cable networks receive at least some funding through "per-subscriber fees," 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, since their programming costs typically are not covered by per-subscriber fees alone.
The first basic cable network, launched via satellite in 1976, was Ted Turner's superstation, WTBS, subsequently known simply as the TBS Superstation. A cable superstation is defined as a popular broadcast station whose signal has been uplinked to satellite for redistribution by local cable system's outside the station's local and regional coverage area.
The second basic cable network was televangelist Pat Robertson's CBN Cable, a satellite service he launched as a more efficient way to distribute the programming of his Christian Broadcasting Network. For years, CBN Cable mixed religious programming with classic television reruns to fill out its 24-hour schedule. The network changed its name to The Family Channel in the 1980s, and is currently known as ABC Family.
Premium cable refers to networks, such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz, 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 their programming is commercial-free (except for promos in-between shows for the networks' own content), these networks command much higher fees from cable TV systems.
In 1975, HBO (Home Box Office) was the first cable network to be delivered nationwide by satellite transmission. Prior to this, starting in 1972, it had been quietly providing pay programming to CATV systems in Pennsylvania and New York, using microwave technology for transmission. HBO was also the first true premium cable (or "pay-cable") network. However, there were notable precursors to premium cable in the pay-television industry that operated during the 1950s and 1960s (with a few systems lingering until 1980).
There are several features of modern 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. 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, strong 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, many basic cable networks self-regulate their program content, 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. Networks have recently aired R-rated movies, uncut, late at night. Other networks such as FX have begun to position themselves as a lighter version of premium stations by developing shows that attract such critical acclaim that sponsors will overlook controversial content for solid demographics. Turner Classic Movies, IFC and Sundance Channel are commercial-free basic cable channels that are uncensored and from time to time are known to show R-rated movies on their channel (which are far more prevalent on IFC and Sundance Channel, though all three channels do not use the MPAA ratings for any of its films, instead rating films using the TV Parental Guidelines) and films may feature nudity, sexual content, violence and profanity.
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 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 à 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 à la carte business model. Others however believe that by allowing a less expensive entry point into the cable marketplace the à la carte option would actually increase overall sales through the addition of new subscribers. Often when programming distributors would like to sell channels à la carte they are prevented by contract from the program who force an all-or-nothing approach.
On June 14, 2007, United States Representatives Dan Lipinski (Democrat, Illinois) and Jeff Fortenberry (Republican, Nebraska) introduced into legislation H.R. 2738, 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. As of January 2008, it is still in committee.
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 cable channels for the right to carry their programming, 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.
Most cable systems divide their channel lineups ("tiers") 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 cable TV channels, as well as broadcast television networks (e.g., ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC, PBS), and local-access television channels. Most systems differentiate between basic cable, which has locals and 10-15 nationals, and expanded basic, which has everything in basic cable, but has a lot more nationals. Basic cable usually has 20 channels (including locals), while expanded basic has 70 (including locals). Basic costs $20 a month while basic expanded usually costs 30 to 50 dollars a month. 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.
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, with a dramatic improvement in chroma resolution (120 lines for NTSC versus 270 for digital). However digital compression has a tendency to soften the quality of the television picture, particularly of channels that are more heavily compressed. Pixelation and other artifacts are often visible. On November 1, 2006, Comcast dropped its hybrid digital/analog broadcasts on their digital cable system. This 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).
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. Overbuilders in the US have traditionally had severe difficulty in financial and market penetration numbers, compared to their incumbent brothers. therefore they are the exception, not the norm in the United States; though overbuilders have had successes in the MDU market, in which relationships are established with landlords, often with contracts and exclusivity agreements for the buildings, sometimes to the anger of tenants. 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 and other recent ventures by ILECs such as U-verse, compete with cable, have also provided competition to cable TV systems, opening the possibility of cable television declining.
To support themselves, some cable channels charge "subscriber fees" in addition to airing commercials. These fees are collected directly from the cable service provider, who passes the cost onto the customer. The fee the cable service provider must pay to a cable TV channel can vary depending on whether it is a basic or premium channel and the perceived popularity of that channel. Because cable service providers are not required to carry all cable channels, they may negotiate the fee they will pay for carrying a channel. Typically, more popular cable channels command higher fees. For example, ESPN typically charges $3.65 per subscriber per month for access to its sporting event coverage. Other cable channels charge, on average, 5-20 cents per subscriber per month. Many cable channels do not charge subscriber fees. Channels with more expensive subscriber fees are listed below.
Monthly Subscriber Fees
* $0.08 Cartoon Network
* $0.15 MSNBC
* $0.33 Nickelodeon
* $0.44 CNN
* $0.60 USA
* $0.60 FOX News
* $0.80 Disney Channel
* $0.89 TNT
* $3.65 ESPN
Top 10 Largest Cable Companies by subscribers
* 1. Comcast Corporation 23,891,000
* 2. Time Warner Cable, Inc. 13,048,000
* 3. Cox Communications, Inc. 5,316,100
* 4. Charter Communications, Inc. 4,929,900
* 5. Cablevision Systems Corporation 3,093,000
* 6. Bright House Networks LLC 2,301,300
* 7. Mediacom Communications Corporation 1,282,000
* 8. Suddenlink Communications 1,257,500
* 9. Insight Communications Company, Inc. 720,100
* 10. Cable One, Inc. 692,100
Top 10 Ad-Supported Cable Networks among Viewers—Summer 2009 Primetime
* 1. USA 3,571,000
* 2. TNT 2,435,000
* 3. Fox News 2,157,000
* 4. Nick at Nite 1,780,000
* 5. TBS 1,592,000
* 6. ESPN 1,410,000
* 7. ABC Family 1,400,000
* 8. Discovery 1,353,000
* 9. FX 1,318,000
* 10. HGTV 1,265,000
Top 10 Ad-Supported Cable Networks among Viewers—Summer 2009 Total Day
* 1. Nickelodeon 2,274,000
* 2. Nick at Nite 1,606,000
* 3. USA 1,558,000
* 4. TNT 1,304,000
* 5. Adult Swim 1,194,000
* 6. Fox News 1,154,000
* 7. Cartoon Network 1,051,000
* 8. TBS 878,000
* 9. ESPN 764,000
* 10. Discovery 754,000
Ultraluxfx.com and all on behalf of Ultraluxfx.com are not affiliated with any of the companies or brands mentioned on this website.
We accept no responsibility and/or liability for any of the claims made or information provided. Information is provided for informational purposes only.
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