On this day to the very minute 34 years ago Music Television (MTV) was launched. The "switch" was thrown at 12:01 AM on that morning. Music and the way we "see" it changed. Basically much of it remains the same as "visual" accompanying music tunes as a lot of us enjoy, albeit now on portable wireless and electronics as well as television.
"Video Killed the Radio Star" was released in 1979 and was MTV's first.
On August 1, 1981 MTV was available to some satellite TV subscribers and upon scattered cable television systems across the USA. MTV and other satellite stations very quickly promoted growth to the cable television industry across the United States commencing in the early to mid-1980s. Prior, such systems were available for basic broadcast in vicinities with poor reception at long distances from broadcast stations. For instance, the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company offered cable TV service in Cape Cod communities through the 50s and 60s...from stations in Boston and Providence, about 75 miles away..."as the bird flies.."
NET&T cable television service was coaxial (the norm of course) and it was offered and thus pararelled existing telephone subscriber leads through at least the early 1970s. Premium television stations (above the basic local viewing tier) were also available (including HBO in their earliest days) and NET&T filtered levels of subscriber service via small cylindrical metal "traps" with a colored band around each of them for identifying which channels were a customer subscribed to. This equipment generally was often on the pole connecting to the street's distribution-coaxial. As a kid I thought those colored thingies along with the adjacent glass insulators for phone service were yet another reason to "look up" at during Cape Cod family vacations around 1963-68 ;-)
Earliest cable TV offerings were in rural areas of Pennsylvania in the late 1940s by the once well-known Jerrold Communications Company (later General Instrument), a pioneer in the cable TV industry.
Please refer to the following to MTV's history and premier debut:
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