Television in the United States

Cable TV

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Before cable television watching TV was largely sparse and difficult, and many people did not have access to it whatsoever. Cable came unto the scene in 1948, although it took many years before it spread through the nation and became a commodity that almost every house had. For many, many years cable was the standard through which everyone experienced television. Of course, throughout this time there were some adjustments and improvements to cable, and TV shows came and went as they always have and always will.

Among cable there are, essentially, two types: Basic cable, and pay/premium programming. Basic cable can be enjoyed by anyone who is connected to the cable television system, because it is typically transmitted without any form of scrambling or encryption. Of course, in order to stay in business these cable networks must be payed somehow—generally that is by means of “per subscriber fees”. Cable television systems pay these fees so that they can include the television network in their channel lineups. Aside from this, many cable networks use advertising to help support and pay for their businesses. One of the first stations on the basic cable network was called CBN Satellite Service, a Christian network which went on to be called CBN Cable Network, The CBN Family Channel, Fox Family, and then finally, as it is now, ABC Family.

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In many ways cable is similar to broadcast television which is by far even older than cable. What is the difference between broadcast television and basic cable? One of the biggest differences is the fact that modern cable television carries with it a much bigger bandwidth including more specialty channels. Because modern cable depends much less on television commercials for revenue they also feature special programming in other languages and other less popular shows, pulling in smaller audiences.

Although premium cable has quite a history the most recent years have produced big-name premium cable providers that everyone knows—networks like HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax. Those who watch premium cable must, in order to legally view it, pay a monthly fee. Premium networks also scramble or encrypt their shows, unlike basic cable, so that only paying customers can watch. This is done through a converter box.

Satellite TV

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Even though satellite TV has been around quite a few decades, it has taken quite a bit longer to catch up to its counterpart cable. In its earliest stages satellite crossed paths somewhat with cable, delivering some of the same networks like, for example, HBO. The bottom line, however, is that both satellite and cable operate very differently and utilize different equipment. As satellite grew and developed it has slowly evolved as a dependent source from cable in more ways. Some satellite networks and cable networks still provide the same content, of course, it just comes to our TV sets in vastly different ways. Those with cable need a cable box, those with satellite need a satellite dish. Satellite is also much more accessible than cable as one only needs a clear view of the southern sky.

In the year 1987 there were only 9 scrambled channels but there were nearly 100 which could be seen free-to-air. Although they saw a dip in sales a few years previously, many people were very optimistic about the concept of satellite because it would be available for those who could not access cable as easily. PrimeStar was launched by four large cable companies in 1990. PrimeStar is a direct

broadcasting company which uses medium power satellite. In 1994, however, Dish Network and Hughes DirectTV came into play and then PrimeStar began to decline in its success. Digital Sky Highway was introduced two years later by EchoStar. They also launched a second satellite in the same year so that Dish Network would have more channels. This was what played some role in diminishing the popularity of TVRO systems. The widespread availability of DirectTV and PrimeStar also encouraged its decline in the 90s.

Internet Television

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Cable and Satellite redefined entertainment in their own ways by improving and changing the way we experience television. The case is no different for Internet television, one of the latest ways in which the entertainment experience has evolved. The first year that TV was ever broadcast on the Internet was 1994 with ABC World News. There are three primary uses for Internet TV: Interactive TV (iTV), Video on Demand (VoD), and LiveTV. Hop over here to keep up with the latest TV technology.

Now, there are various ways in which we can watch TV online. This can be done through an independent service, like Netflix, Viewster, Amazon Instant Video, and so on, a service owned by a cable, satellite, or terrestrial provider like Sling TV, a service owned by a television network like HBO Now, A peer-to-peer video hosting site like Youtube, etc.

Internet television is sometimes called online television or web television. In vastly many ways the Internet has greatly changed TV. It has made it more available than ever before and produced countless many more options, catering to unique schedules and individual tastes in a way that satellite and cable haven’t been able to do before. Internet TV has also become increasingly popular year after year. There are ever new breakthroughs in how we can experience TV online.

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So what is the future for the television industry? No one knows for sure what will come next, but there are certainly plenty of opinions and speculation about what lies ahead. There are a lot of people who think that there is a strong possibility that cable is doomed and will eventually dwindle out of existence. Increasingly many people have switched from cable to Internet television, and as the generation moves forward there is a good chance that this trend will perpetuate.

Cable TV may not be doomed, however. Cable and satellite still have the ability to adapt to the new era, and they are in many ways. Cable is merging with the Internet for certain things and moving along with technology, giving viewers reasons to stay on. Cable also has another big advantage: That is that sports fans need it to follow their games. If things are going to change in a very drastic way, it won’t be for a while.