diskoboy's Avatar
diskoboy
212 Posts
16 years, 11 months ago
I remember the first time we got cable.

It was in December 1981 - it was my Dad's Christmas present for the whole family. Our cable providers, at the time, only had 18 channels - including local channels. But we got the good ones. We had Nickelodeon/A&E, MTV, TBS, CNN, ESPN, WGN, USA and HBO, in the beginning.

At the time - I seem to remember HBO was actually included with your regular cable fees, in the early days. Cinemax and Showtime were still extra, though. But only like $7. We didn't have either of the latter, for the first 2 years. All my friends who got or already had cable seem to have HBO, up until 1986. Everyone started scrambling their signals off the satellites.

I really remember when they gave us our first cable box. It was a small woodgrain box, with a large plastic dial on the top with the channel numbers written on it, and a smaller knob on the side for fine tuning. All wired to a tiny box on the back of the TV. The box topped out with only 30 channels.

I was addicted to Nickelodeon pretty much instantly. My older sister got me into MTV, and I remember waking up early on Saturdays and would sit and watch MTV, literally all day - remeber this was MTV's golden age. In 1982, MTV's grasp was impossible to escape. WGN always creeped me out back in the 80's, because they didn't ever seem to realize they were broadcasting outside Chicago. Seeing a local commercial for something in Chicago, when you live 600 miles to the south just seemed a little weird, to me.. My dad loved TBS and ESPN.

Do you remember how great life was when you first got cable or satellite?
    snkreed99's Avatar
    snkreed99
    139 Posts
    16 years, 11 months ago
    I can even remember the first thing I watched as the cableman was hooking us up to basic cable. It was Those Daring Dobermans on TBS. You said yuou were 600 ml. south of Chicago. Where exactly are you from? I also remember those comercials from WGN. Especially during the Bozo show.
    Are you ready for a report card????
      Cdokes1
      1032 Posts
      16 years, 11 months ago
      I don't remember when I first got cable I remember the gray box that I had to slide a knob back and forth to watch HBO in the 80's
        80sVidKid's Avatar
        80sVidKid
        1169 Posts
        16 years, 11 months ago
        diskoboy
        I remember the first time we got cable.

        It was in December 1981 - it was my Dad's Christmas present for the whole family. Our cable providers, at the time, only had 18 channels - including local channels. But we got the good ones. We had Nickelodeon/A&E, MTV, TBS, CNN, ESPN, WGN, USA and HBO, in the beginning.

        Oddly in my family, we had cable before I was born, practically already hooked up when my folks moved in back in the early 70's. So I pretty much had it my whole life except for a period in the early 90's when we couldn't afford it, but my mom just couldn't stand having only five channels to watch so we got it back!

        Pretty much I had those to watch, except WGN (my cable company's excuse was that they had Ted Turner's baby and that was it), and HBO (we had Showtime and Movie Channel instead). Both WGN and HBO would be added years/decades down the line. USA Network I didn't get to see until right around '85 and I think MTV got added to my service by '83, but I remember Nickelodeon for as long as I can remember.

        At the time - I seem to remember HBO was actually included with your regular cable fees, in the early days. Cinemax and Showtime were still extra, though. But only like $7.

        Funny if HBO was trying to act like a basic tier type channel then. We got Showtime though through a black market pirated box that unscrambled a channel that Showtime occupied on our serivce.

        We didn't have either of the latter, for the first 2 years. All my friends who got or already had cable seem to have HBO, up until 1986. Everyone started scrambling their signals off the satellites.

        There was that time when you could still see all that cool stuff through C-Band dishes long before the need for an expensive discrambler/subscription package came into play. Guys I know up in Canada would watch American channels this way.

        I really remember when they gave us our first cable box. It was a small woodgrain box, with a large plastic dial on the top with the channel numbers written on it, and a smaller knob on the side for fine tuning. All wired to a tiny box on the back of the TV. The box topped out with only 30 channels.

        We never had that. Our service though used a rather odd concoction of a dual-line coax cable that theoretically gave us twice as many channels from the get-go. The only time I ever saw a box hooked into the TV would be for the premium services like Showtime or Disney Channel (we got that in '84). In order to watch a particular channel, you needed to know which side it was on, in this case, Nickelodeon would be on channel 5A, so we had a switcher box that the cables would be fed into before going into the TV (they might still sell these at Radio Shack), but if you had to watch another channel that was on the other side (say MTV), you had to switch to "B" then go on whatever channel that was on. We would simply use the dials on the TV sets to change anyway (or the VCR tuner whichever came first). This sorta prevented us from ever having real "Cable-Ready" TV's due to the nature of the service. We got about 24 channels in this manner, though after a while, it became apparent that we were running out of space, and many channels often got dropped in favor of new ones.

        In 1987, my cable company (Buckeye Cablevision, though often branding themselves "The Cablesystem" then) gave us new digital cable boxes that would be wired into the TV's and/or VCR's. We still had the dual-line system, which mean we still had to switch between A and B, but now we can do that directly from the cable remote. This service would get us a total of 60 channels, so we had a lot of years to go on that before a new upgraded single-line service showed up around '97 or '98 (during that period a new cable box was installed giving us about 100 analog channels with 30 Music-only ones), leading to the digital service we have today.

        I was addicted to Nickelodeon pretty much instantly. My older sister got me into MTV, and I remember waking up early on Saturdays and would sit and watch MTV, literally all day - remeber this was MTV's golden age.

        Not sure how it started with me, but I can remember those boring weekend afternoons where I had nothing to do but watch MTV!

        I also had a VCR, so I didn't have to always watch MTV entirely, or the News/Classified Ad channels my cable company had care of the local newspaper that owned them.

        In 1982, MTV's grasp was impossible to escape. WGN always creeped me out back in the 80's, because they didn't ever seem to realize they were broadcasting outside Chicago.

        You can blame the later SYNDEX laws that showed up later for ruining that fun! Of course where I lived, I pretty much had to watch out-of-town stations since hardly anything in town was great to watch (like independent channels, since Toledo didn't receive one until '85, and had a number of ones from Detroit that was available on our servic
        - From The King of Esoteric
          80sVidKid's Avatar
          80sVidKid
          1169 Posts
          16 years, 11 months ago
          snkreed99
          I can even remember the first thing I watched as the cableman was hooking us up to basic cable. It was Those Daring Dobermans on TBS. You said yuou were 600 ml. south of Chicago. Where exactly are you from? I also remember those comercials from WGN. Especially during the Bozo show.

          Only time I ever saw WGN in the 80's was when we happen to be in Chicago while my dad often loaded/unloaded his truck during his jobs there.
          - From The King of Esoteric
            shiroihikari's Avatar
            shiroihikari
            1751 Posts
            16 years, 11 months ago
            I'm pretty sure we first got cable when I was about...I dunno, five or six years old, which would have been sometime around 1988 or 1989. Seems pretty late in comparison to some of you guys, heh.

            We only had it for a little while though, then it was cancelled, then we got it back again after we moved. I remember thinking it was pretty damn cool. I really loved the Disney Channel back then. I didn't get into Nickelodeon until much later. I also used to watch the Looney Tunes back when TNT was airing them in the evenings.

            However, I have fonder memories of the times when we just had the Big Three, the two local indies, and PBS. Sometimes we could even pick up stations from Texas, even though we lived in Oklahoma. At the time, I thought that was the most fascinating thing ever.
            Coming Soon to Nostalgia Junkie: Nostalgiathon 2009!
              Saturday_Supercade's Avatar
              16 years, 11 months ago
              1981

              All I can remember is watching Popeye on the Disney Channel and I do recall watching the animated logo for HBO once on our Black and White TV.
                brown_eyed1's Avatar
                brown_eyed1
                1948 Posts
                16 years, 11 months ago
                Oh yeah.

                My family watched public TV for years before we got cable. Before we got cable, I was like, a PBS aficionado.... Anyhow, I'd say we got it around....heck, maybe....'98 or so? We had a bit of a hiatus after that until around 2001, and we've had it since. I remember having a bit of an argument between my two best friends over what station was better: Disney Channel or Nickelodeon (I was on the Nick side of the argument). They kept insisting, I remember, that Disney Channel was better because they "just showed better stuff". My comeback was "yeah, but Nickelodeon is funnier."

                Yep, cable changed my life. :D
                Cookie!!! OM NOM NOM!
                  NostalgicNed's Avatar
                  NostalgicNed
                  58 Posts
                  16 years, 11 months ago
                  When I first came to the U.S. in '93 we got cable right away. So I got the pleasure of watching all of the cartoons in network glory!
                    80sVidKid's Avatar
                    80sVidKid
                    1169 Posts
                    16 years, 11 months ago
                    brown_eyed1
                    Oh yeah.

                    My family watched public TV for years before we got cable. Before we got cable, I was like, a PBS aficionado....

                    Too bad this couldn't be someplace other than the US, or the "public broadcaster" would've been the only TV channel we'd ever have to watch entirely. Europe was infamous for the monopolies the governments had in the broadcasting biz for decades before the privatization and future cable/satellite options allowed for more choices. Of course over there, their state-run channels might show normal non-educational programming anyway, unlike in the US with our "viewer-supported" angle.

                    Still, if you had gotten The Big Three, you had that at least.

                    Anyhow, I'd say we got it around....heck, maybe....'98 or so? We had a bit of a hiatus after that until around 2001, and we've had it since. I remember having a bit of an argument between my two best friends over what station was better: Disney Channel or Nickelodeon (I was on the Nick side of the argument). They kept insisting, I remember, that Disney Channel was better because they "just showed better stuff". My comeback was "yeah, but Nickelodeon is funnier."

                    Yep, cable changed my life. :D

                    Too bad I had longer experience. Anything on cable these days pales in comparison to the more liberal nature it had in the beginning. Nickelodeon used to get away with FAR better stuff in '82 than they do now (remember having seen animated nudity on "Pinwheel" due to the European cartoons they used to show).
                    - From The King of Esoteric
                      PyroPhoenixX's Avatar
                      PyroPhoenixX
                      423 Posts
                      16 years, 11 months ago
                      Oh man, like waaayyy before I was born. When my parents first got married and started living together in '87.
                      This message will now self destruct...
                        Pinwheel's Avatar
                        Pinwheel
                        532 Posts
                        16 years, 10 months ago
                        I don't remember exactly when we got cable, but I do know we had it since 1981, because I used to come home from preschool and watch Nickelodeon. Some of the stations I remember always having were Nick, USA network, MTV, TBS, the Arts(predecessor to A&E, which aired at 8pm when Nick signed off), HBO and Showtime. We later got the Disney chan around 1985. There were only about 33 chan and the last 3 were cable access.
                        "It lies in the valley of the vision, where the slain are not slain with the sword. In the darkest shadows of light, there you'll find a door..."
                          Yodamite's Avatar
                          Yodamite
                          304 Posts
                          16 years, 10 months ago
                          Where I lived Nick just went black, with nothing to takes its place.
                          Ultimate Space Pimp!
                            80sVidKid's Avatar
                            80sVidKid
                            1169 Posts
                            16 years, 10 months ago
                            Pinwheel
                            I don't remember exactly when we got cable, but I do know we had it since 1981, because I used to come home from preschool and watch Nickelodeon. Some of the stations I remember always having were Nick, USA network, MTV, TBS, the Arts(predecessor to A&E, which aired at 8pm when Nick signed off), HBO and Showtime. We later got the Disney chan around 1985. There were only about 33 chan and the last 3 were cable access.

                            You were lucky, my cable company hardliy had any room or patience for cable access channels, the best I saw was a channel assigned to the Univ. of Toledo that was mostly unused and often showed The Learning Channel all day, and for a brief period of time, The Weather Channel at night (I think this was around '85 when I noticed that). My town pretty much missed the boat on the good, cheesy public access shows other parts of the country had.
                            - From The King of Esoteric
                              Funky_Guy
                              2638 Posts
                              16 years, 10 months ago
                              I believe it was when I was very young, probably some time between 1984 and 1986.
                                diskoboy's Avatar
                                diskoboy
                                212 Posts
                                16 years, 10 months ago
                                snkreed99
                                I can even remember the first thing I watched as the cableman was hooking us up to basic cable. It was Those Daring Dobermans on TBS. You said yuou were 600 ml. south of Chicago. Where exactly are you from? I also remember those comercials from WGN. Especially during the Bozo show.


                                That was an estimate - I (still) live in Nash-vegas, Tn.
                                  kayvee's Avatar
                                  kayvee
                                  3672 Posts
                                  16 years, 10 months ago
                                  I think it was sometime around 1985. I loved the old HBO Feature Presentation intro. That was when HBO played Fraggle rock.

                                  We had cable on and off throughout the years. I remember whenever my parents felt a financial strain, the cable was always out.
                                    Furienna
                                    351 Posts
                                    16 years, 10 months ago
                                    I've never had cable in my home, but when I was eight and a half, around Easter 1993, Dad suddenly got us a satelite dish, so he would be able to watch the ice hockey world championships. Before then, we had only had three channels. And until 1991, we had only had two channels. But remember, this was Sweden.
                                      wisp2007's Avatar
                                      wisp2007
                                      77 Posts
                                      16 years, 10 months ago
                                      My family used to have cable, up to 80 channels, until my parents shut it off in fall of 1999. For six years we didn't have MTV or Nick (think of the torture):mad: , until summer of 2005. When we got it again, I swear, we spent a whole weekend reenjoying the wonders of cable! I just hope my parents don't cut it off again...:o
                                      _________________________________________________________________

                                      http://wisp2007.deviantart.com/
                                      "Put this on my back. C'mon, be a pal!
                                      "Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! "
                                      (CONTINUE FOR 5 HOURS)
                                      I always have something to say. I'm not always going to say it, though.
                                        Dagon's Avatar
                                        Dagon
                                        131 Posts
                                        16 years, 10 months ago
                                        I remeber the cable channel Prisim and my fav local channel philly 57. funny cuz of all the many years i watched philly 57 the one thing i saw on it that really stands out was Devil Dog Hound from Hell...and only cuz it had the late richard crenna in it.
                                          An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss