When TVs first came out, the TV antenna soon followed. After just a short time, a person could pan the rooftops and see the antennas sticking up from most of the houses.
Some had to settle for rabit ears. Some, me included had broken antennas and settled for wire clothes hangers. My clothes hanger worked very well. I wish I could say it was because of my great knowledge of electronics but, in my case, I had a good picture without having to alter the hanger at all.
On the other hand, some needed 40, 50, or even 70 foot masts to receive signals from a 100 or more miles away. To complicate matters, some received signals from 2 or 3 different directions. To do this, they had what they called rotors and they worked well. It was a tad on the pricey side though. Not only did one need the equipment, but it also had to be installed.
I don’t know who first thought of the idea of cable, but I noticed it being installed in rural areas in the late 50s and early 60s. It was good for the stations and sponsors as it increased those receiving their programming and ads. There is no need to say it was good for those receiving cable. That’s obvious.
Over the years, those selling cable found more customers and types of customers. People in apartments and folks who hated ugly antennas sticking up all over the neighborhood. Also, the reception quality improved.
Perhaps one of the main reasons the cable idea spread so rapidly was the increase in channels available. People in San Diego watched L.A. channels, for example. In addition, what I call pseudo-stations started popping up.
Then, to improve reception and increase features, they went to digital. I never liked that much in the past, even less now. What started out to be a way to receive a good picture for 15 or 20 a month has turned into a huge conglomerate (if I may misuse the word) of sations, most of which are mental wastelands that I spent 226 a month. That is a big bite from my social security.
I just had my cable disconnected and I am now aware of why I don’t like digital TV. If a person buys an expensive antenna, after spending hours adjusting it and fussing with it, it almost works, almost doesn’t. Mostly, gone are the days of using a hanger. Now we must use 39.95 antennas that I can’t even receive all the local channels I received just fine in the old analogs. Moreover, I keep losing the picture into wild pixelations.
I guess the FCC had us in mind as they made the decision to digitize broadcasts, or at least I hope so. Then again, maybe it would help if the 39.95 antenna worked better than a clothes hanger.
(Does anyone know where I can get a metal clothes hanger? )