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How did old school Cable Boxes work?

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1027BrianFM
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Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:01 am
Location: NW Ohio

How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by 1027BrianFM » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:53 am

In Bedford Twp where I grew up, Bedford Cable issued either a Jerrold 400 or 450 box, later a Scientific Atlanta one.

http://www.garysargent.co.uk/tivo/image ... guentl.jpg

https://img0.etsystatic.com/102/0/74661 ... 2_5h0w.jpg

The Pay Cable Channels that were offered were:
14 Pay per view
15 TMC
16 Disney
17 Cinemax
18 Playboy
19 Showtime
21 HBO
22 Pass Sports

Early on I think everyone was issued a Box regardless if you got premium stations or not, later when TV's became more advanced one wasn't needed if you didn't subscribe to a pay Channel. Anyway, I was always told that they had to put some kind of a chip or something in the box to descramble the pay channel(s) of your choice. How did that work? I know some Cable systems used like Filters or something like that.

Today, I know many use blockers if you just subscribe to a bare bones package. Like Just Local channels.
Prediction: In the next 6 Months EMF will acquire an FM signal in Detroit.

In The Bleachers
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Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:15 am
Location: Nankin Township

Re: How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by In The Bleachers » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:00 am

I'm trying to remember, I think the first cable company I had was called United Cable.
I was under the impression that they would hang different in-line filters near the pole, or in the box on the outside of the house.
And the cut-off frequency of the filter would determine how many channels I got.
Nothing will change until ALL incumbents are voted out. http://www.kickthemallout.com/

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SolarMax
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Location: 313

Re: How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by SolarMax » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:44 pm

In The Bleachers wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:00 am
I'm trying to remember, I think the first cable company I had was called United Cable.
I was under the impression that they would hang different in-line filters near the pole, or in the box on the outside of the house.
And the cut-off frequency of the filter would determine how many channels I got.
I remember going to a friend's place to see a big deal PPV boxing match. He had pre-ordered the PPV weeks in advance (what you had to do), but the technicians didn't arrive at his pole drop to remove or jumper the channel filter until sometime well into the event. Needless to say, complaints ensued and adjustments were made.

BuckNaked
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Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by BuckNaked » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:54 pm

I was on a cable system in Norfolk, Va back in the ‘80s on a cable box with a rotary type dial. If you turned it just right and used a matchbook cover it would give you the pay channels.

organman95
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:49 pm

Re: How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by organman95 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:20 pm

I remember the small box, most likely Motorola through TCI back in early 90s. I think around '96 is when TCI started using those massive Motorola boxes with the EPG, although I only remember seeing those big boxes at my cousin's house in Grayling, which surprisingly had more channels than I did in Cheboygan. That said, the channels were scattered a bit, basically only going up to 36, with Odyssey and a Fitness channel on 44 & 45. Then 98 & 99 were Playboy and some other ppv porn. Those were on the old TVs with the IRC/HRC cable switches. Those old sets maxed at Channel 36, then jumped to 98 & 99 for some reason.

After TCI went bankrupt, the channel list expanded slightly, basically just filling in all the open frequencies in the 2-36 range. Wasn't until Charter finally upgraded the entire system in 2002-03 and moved the connection to the Traverse City headend that Cheboygan finally got the full channel line-up.

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mtburb
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:28 pm
Location: Wyandotte

Re: How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by mtburb » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:24 pm

Through the first company that we had, called Wayne Cablevision, all I can remember was that there was this really long coax connected to a box (which later became a Scientific Atlanta 9640 when it became Maclean Hunter) that had up to 40 channels at maximum.

Here's the premium channels Wayne Cablevision had, numbers from my memory:
16-Cinemax program guide
17-Cinemax
18-Showtime program guide
19-Showtime
20-HBO program guide
21-HBO
22-(likely The Movie Channel program guide when that came around)
23-(likely The Movie Channel when that came around)
25 or 26-Playboy
29-The Disney Channel
For three days in January 2017 (15th, 16th, 19th) and one night in September 2017 (22nd), I managed to receive KDKA Pittsburgh from 202 miles away indoors!

My tropo station reception reports: https://www.rabbitears.info/dxlocation.php?id=403

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1027BrianFM
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Location: NW Ohio

Re: How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by 1027BrianFM » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:32 am

I remember for a time Bedford Cable's channels went up to like 47 and then later like 53, then skipped to 98-99. We never had the dial on the box but when we would go on Vacation to South Carolina, the same place we always stayed, for the longest time had that type of box. This was till like 95, then I remember they finally got a New TV and The TV had Like a Scientific Atlanta box on it. The TV had The Movie Channel I remember, that weird eyes logo they used to use comes to mind, then later the dog with the round balls that Said TMC on them.

Every month we used to get this Magazine that had listing for what was on the pay movie channels. For: TMC,MAX,HBO,and SHO.
Prediction: In the next 6 Months EMF will acquire an FM signal in Detroit.

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mtburb
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:28 pm
Location: Wyandotte

Re: How did old school Cable Boxes work?

Post by mtburb » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:05 pm

1027BrianFM wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:32 am
Every month we used to get this Magazine that had listing for what was on the pay movie channels. For: TMC,MAX,HBO,and SHO.
I remember Wayne Cablevision/Maclean Hunter during the 1980's had separate channels displaying listings for what was to be shown on the premium channels. I remember they had those for Cinemax, Showtime, HBO and likely The Movie Channel when they added that. To me, it was always a bit redundant, especially since there was already EPG/Prevue Guide.
For three days in January 2017 (15th, 16th, 19th) and one night in September 2017 (22nd), I managed to receive KDKA Pittsburgh from 202 miles away indoors!

My tropo station reception reports: https://www.rabbitears.info/dxlocation.php?id=403

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