33¢ Cable TV
Celebrate the Century – 1980s
Issue Date: January 12, 2000
City: Kennedy Space Center, FL
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Although it didn’t become popular until the 1980s, cable television actually was developed during the 1950s. Cable television brings a signal directly to a TV using a special signal, as opposed to reception of a broadcast signal through an antenna. Cable television was originally developed for areas unable to receive broadcast signals, such as remote areas or mountainous regions, or city areas with tall buildings.
Among the advantages of cable television are enhanced picture quality and greater variety of viewing options. In addition to regular network and local TV programming, cable television companies often provide adult education classes, continuous news, weather, and stock market information, broadcasts from distant areas, first-run motion pictures, and sporting events. And new cable channels, like MTV (Music Television), ESPN Sports, HBO (Home Box Office), and CNN (Cable News Network) became popular during the 1980s.
In 1980, over 17 million households had cable television, which represented 22.6% of homes with TVs. By 1989, that number had increased to over 52 million, or 57.1% of households with TVs. The number of cable providers more than doubled during the 1980s, from 4,225 in 1980 to 9,050 in 1989.