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coebul

Wasn't cable supposed to be commercial free?

Somebody please settle this question.  When cable first arrived on the scene it was limited to large population centers but it's fee was justified because it was commercial free?
bieramar

Cable TV was created as a "service for a fee" to bring the regular over-the-air network broadcast channels into one's home with a constant clear picture.  

The over-the-air programming had its commercials, whether you were receiving them via a cable or through the air directly to your own antenna.

Initially - 1948 to 1952 when the FCC had prohibited any new over-the-air broadcast channels to begin broadcasting - CATV was extremely popular in smaller towns a distance away from the big cities were the existing broadcast towers were.

Each small town had an entrepeneur who built a tower, got a franchise to string cable, and charged a fee for service for the group of all the over-the-air signals that could be received by his/her large antenna tower.  After microwave transmission became prevalent, more channels were added for additional fees.

TV then was transmitted as a combination of line-of-sight FM/AM signals; and weather conditions, distance and intervening objects between your home antenna and the big city broadcast antenna affected reception ("snow" and rolling screens!); so only city dwellers had consistent picture and sound.

Commercials had nothing to do with the further distribution of the broadcast signals via cable, as they were a part of the original package.

Possibly you're thinking of the beginnings of non-network, non over-the-air programming which later became available for subscription by CATV users?
scrutney

t.b.s. has always had commercials.
ditto the super station out of chicago: w.g.n.

also the christian broadcasting network, which used to run all those stupid 50's reruns of 'my little margie', i married joan (with america's queen of comedy, joan davis) and 'life of riley'...ran commercials.

and although i've searched the net for verification(and have thus far found nothing to support my claim), i'm sure that cable news network has always had commercials.(and coebul, in reference to the last phone conversation we had on this subject, the african american anchorman we couldn't remember was bernard shaw)

my former favorite cable channel a.m.c. (formerly american movie classics) has recently (in the past 10 years) started showing commercials, almost to the exclusion of movies...6 minutes of movie, 8 minutes of extolling the virtues of hemorrhoid preparations.

my favorite cable channel (turner classic movies) is still "commercial free" if you don't count the programming promos and ads for dvd's...at least they run the movies without interruption.

i've basically turned off the "goddamnnoisybox."
i don't miss it.
coebul

Ahem thanks for the history lesson but I was thinking more along the lines of MODERN cable, say the 1970s forward!  

I understand TBS and other broadcast stations had commercials.  But strictly cable stations, from my recollection did not.
scrutney

coebul wrote:
Ahem thanks for the history lesson but I was thinking more along the lines of MODERN cable, say the 1970s forward!  

I understand TBS and other broadcast stations had commercials.  But strictly cable stations, from my recollection did not.


it wasn't my intent to give you a history lesson.
look coe, i spent the better part of the early 80's glued to the cable channels.
i promise you...mtv has always had commercials. and so have most of the "basic tier" cable channels...usa, cnn, nicklelodeon.

amc (american movie classics) tried to break the mold and ran the network on the cheap, with production costs being very low...they had to pay  the host, the camera man, some minimal post production and of course, the movie royalties. and they pulled in some additional revenue with between the movies promos for stuff that appealed to movie buffs.

about eight years ago they pulled the plug on that idea and began running commercials...and not much else.

to my knowledge, the only commercial free channels (with the exception of the premium tier hbo, cinemax, showtime, starz) were some of the oddball bible thumping networks and the home shopping networks, which depending on your point of view were all commercials, all the time.

oh yeah...cspan.
coebul

I was responding to the regurgitated, albeit condenced, Wiki history lesson on cable.  

When I was in the military in the early 70s, the single biggest advantage was the cable we saw was virtually commercial free (except for Chicago and maybe TBS.  When I bought cable in college in the early 80s the schtick was it was commercial free.  Never watch MTV and I remember 20 min mini clips between other stations.  But my point was and is today there are more commercials on cable then on network.  

The wife was watching a movie and in the last 20 mins it seemed there was 15mins of commercials.  

Why are we paying for cable again.  We pay for the service and are bombarded with 25% per hour of commercials.  

Absurd.
scrutney

coebul wrote:
Why are we paying for cable again.  We pay for the service and are bombarded with 25% per hour of commercials.  

Absurd.


of course it's absurd.
there are only four or five cable stations that my family and i watch and yet we have to pay for what?
several hundred?
if you don't like it, do what i did several years ago and pull the damn plug.

i actually made it through one entire election cycle before i started to show the classic signs of cold turkey.

and i'm so fed up with comcast right now, that i'm about to do it all over again.
bieramar

Re: Wasn't cable supposed to be commercial free?

coebul wrote:
Somebody please settle this question.  When cable first arrived on the scene it was limited to large population centers but it's fee was justified because it was commercial free?


And after it was pointed out by me - who just happened to be around in 1948 "when cable first arrived on the scene" - that cable TV programming was NOT commercial free then;
AND after it was pointed out by me - who (as a military electronics professional) lived through every subsequent development of broadcast TV and cable TV since 1948 also pointed out that it was the small cities and areas geographically distance from the "large population centers" which comprised the bulk of cable companies
coebul, completely changing his initial query wrote:
When I bought cable in college in the early 80s the schtick was it was commercial free. But my point was and is today there are more commercials on cable then on network [and adding a cute 'ad hominem' attempted insult, towit] I was responding to the regurgitated, albeit condenced, Wiki history lesson on cable.


Get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

I answered the question you asked from my own memories and experiences.  

Now if your initial question had been:

"Wasn't cable supposed to be commercial free? Somebody please settle this question.  When virtually commercial free cable first arrived on the scene in my life in the '70s when I was in the military, and then again when I was in college in the '80s - when I think it was limited to large population centers - the sales schtick I recall was it was commercial free; and the fee was justified because it was commercial free."

My answer to that question would have been (1) either your memory is defective, or (2) you were suckered in by the cable TV salesperson, or (3) you believed some op-ed wonk without researching for yourself.

If I wasn't laughing so hard, I'd consider complaining to Guido!
scrutney

interesting interplay.
coebul asked me the same question last week and i knew exactly what he was talking about.

(i guess i should explain to those casual browsers/lurkers that; coe and i are brothers, so of course we share a sort of a verbal short hand.)

had i come across the same question, i'd have probably offered up the same kind of answer that bier did.



Quote:
If I wasn't laughing so hard, I'd consider complaining to Guido!


guido isn't very bright.

30 or so years ago he was hitting on a young lady in a bar and invited her over to his apartment...he was about to seal the deal when she asked "do you have cable?"

giudo replied "no, but i have plenty of rope."

since then he has led a lonely life of quiet desperation, monitoring message boards.
bieramar

Continuing the interplay (I'd of written "verbal intercourse" in the old days) I did sort of wonder if coebul was thinking of the premium channels when he posed his first question, but the "first came on the scene" was too specific to ignore.

Which is why I provided an "out" in my first response; "Possibly you're thinking of the beginnings of non-network, non over-the-air programming which later became available for subscription by CATV users?"

As you - scrutney - noted earlier, the premium channels, including HBO, CINEMAX, STARZ, & SHOWTIME have always been commercial free, and that has been the sales pitch for paying the extra bucks.
scrutney

which kind of begs the question:
what constitutes a commercial?

hbo and cinemax have always done promos for their shows and cross promoted their sister networks.

turner classic movies (as i stated earlier) does promos and sells dvd's between films but never interupts a movie to do so.

all of these are commercials.
one of the things i used to like about the "classic" movie channels is that they used to run vintage newsreels, soundies and cartoons between features...in many cases, i'd tune in between movies just to view those.

but but but...even though these featurettes have gone away, i grant tcm a certain amount of largesse because they do have bills to pay and as long as they don't do commercial breaks in the middle of movies, i can live with them.
bieramar

I really don't mind the commercial breaks.  

I don't watch them, but I use the break to either get up out of my recliner and walk about; or just click one key on my remote keyboard and check out an internet site for the duration of the commercial - bumrejects or a "breaking news" website - my TV screen is also my WebTv screen.
coebul

Re: Wasn't cable supposed to be commercial free?

bieramar wrote:


Get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?
Me?  No! Why would you ask?  

bieramar wrote:
I answered the question you asked from my own memories and experiences.  

Now if your initial question had been:

"Wasn't cable supposed to be commercial free? Somebody please settle this question.  When virtually commercial free cable first arrived on the scene in my life in the '70s when I was in the military, and then again when I was in college in the '80s - when I think it was limited to large population centers - the sales schtick I recall was it was commercial free; and the fee was justified because it was commercial free."

My answer to that question would have been (1) either your memory is defective, or (2) you were suckered in by the cable TV salesperson, or (3) you believed some op-ed wonk without researching for yourself.

If I wasn't laughing so hard, I'd consider complaining to Guido!
IF, if, if.....  

And go complain to Guido see if I care.  In the GCOTUS you haven't a leg to stand on.  Besides I know G pretty darn well... So snivel to your hearts content.  I--- I mean he isn't listening...
scrutney

Re: Wasn't cable supposed to be commercial free?

coebul wrote:
And go complain to Guido see if I care.  In the GCOTUS you haven't a leg to stand on.  Besides I know G pretty darn well... So snivel to your hearts content.  I--- I mean he isn't listening...


what the hell is GCOTUS?

the (pick one) golf/geek/greek/girly/greedy/gimp/ court of the united states?

goofy customs only towards uncle sam?

gay coiffes on totally underfed spelunkers?

coebul

Re: Wasn't cable supposed to be commercial free?

scrutney wrote:
coebul wrote:
And go complain to Guido see if I care.  In the GCOTUS you haven't a leg to stand on.  Besides I know G pretty darn well... So snivel to your hearts content.  I--- I mean he isn't listening...


what the hell is GCOTUS?

the (pick one) golf/geek/greek/girly/greedy/gimp/ court of the united states?

goofy customs only towards uncle sam?

gay coiffes on totally underfed spelunkers?

Guido!  

And about that comment about being my brother....  Mother always liked you best.....

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