The Cable History Project
What is Cable? The question is not as easy to answer as you might think. The early cable television industry brought distant signals into communities that were geographically out-of-range from the large broadcasting networks in the late 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s, cable television expanded into many large metropolitan areas. Beginning in the 1980s, and without the assistance of the federal government, the cable industry made major investments in infrastructure and cable programming that profoundly changed the way we are informed and entertained. In the 1990s, the cable industry introduced the cable modem that made high-speed internet access a reality. Today, cable has a broad portfolio of broadband-enabled services including television programming, broadband internet, video-on-demand, telephone service, and even home security. Delivery of services through home networks and mobile devices are commonplace.
Evan Shapiro President, Participant Media Television,
explains the history of television. 22:22 Minutes.
The cable industry is really three separate industries -- the cable operators, cable programmers, and the technology vendors -- working together to provide integrated technology solutions to the customer's home or office. The Cable Center has collected historical information about the growth and development of the industry from all three perspectives. Our Barco Library contains one of the most extensive collections about the cable industry in the United States, including oral histories, photographs, books, periodicals and cable equipment. The cable industry is a great American success story – it is about a diverse group of people who built an industry that changed the world.
The Cable Center is compiling a comprehensive history about the cable industry exclusively for this website, which will allow us to highlight material from our collection.