Cable TV Turns 75 Years Old This Month… How More Years Does it Have Left?





Cable TV

In June of 1948, John Walson set up an antenna on top of the New Boston Mountain in Mahanoy City, PA. There he ran a cable down to the town so it could get TV signals that had been blocked by the mountain in the past. From there, he connected homes in the town and started the creation of what we know now as cable TV.

That cable TV company is still running today as SECTV.

“Service Electric’s 75th anniversary stands as a testament to the company’s unwavering determination and dedication to innovation. Its founder, John Walson, was a true visionary who revolutionized the television landscape, leaving behind a remarkable legacy that endures to this day. Moreover, SECTV continues to provide exceptional services to the Greater Lehigh Valley region, including comprehensive coverage of hundreds of high school and collegiate sports events each year, along with exclusive access to Musikfest, IronPigs baseball, and Phantoms hockey. The company has made a significant impact on the region through its philanthropic endeavors and unwavering commitment to delivering top-notch services to its valued customers.” SECTV said in a statement on their website.

In 1969 the first cable TV-only channel launched with the addition of TV2 offering local sports, news, and events to subscribers. Three years later, HBO launched, and TV was forever changed.

Now TV is once again changing, and this time it is moving away from cable TV to streaming service. Not just that, but increasingly, it is moving away from live TV to on-demand content.

Now though multiple cable TV companies are shutting down their TV service. Recently WOW! and Mid-Rivers Communications have both announced they are shutting down their TV services. They join others who have already done so or are no longer selling their TV service.

“As we shared with all cable TV subscribers last December, this notice serves as a reminder that Mid-Rivers plans to discontinue cable television service as of December 31, 2023. The ways customers watch video have changed greatly in the last few years. We have been forced to drop programming from the cable TV lineup, and continually raise subscriber rates to keep up with ballooning programming costs, which is likely to continue next year.” Mid-Rivers Communications said in a statement.

Mid-Rivers went on to say that: “Cable TV subscriber counts are on a steep decline as customers move to streaming video. Cable TV is a courtesy we have provided only to certain customers in select areas, while customers in all parts of our service area rely heavily on us for Internet and telephone services. Cable TV makes up only about 10 percent of the Cooperative’s active customer connections today. Traditional cable television services are no longer a sustainable option for small communities.”

As Americans change how they watch TV increasingly small and even midsized cable TV companies are strugling in this new world.

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