Home Box Office

HBOService Electric Cable, the local cable company in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, embarks on an ambitious experiment, launching a movie channel that only a few hundred of their subscribers pay extra to receive. The channel, Home Box Office, is the brainchild of a New York City broadcasting entrepreneur seeking a workaround for the tendency of the city’s own high-rise architecture to block over-the-air signals. Originally code-named the Green Channel (presumably for the cash it is hoped it will rake in), HBO begins life with a mix of movies and live sports events (such as pro hockey) with no commercial interruption. Within a year, HBO will be acquired by Time-Life, expanding to nine hours of programming every day. With HBO having proven that cable subscribers will pay extra for an ad-free movie and sports channel, competing pay cable networks such as Showtime will spring up in the years to come. HBO also pioneers the concept of broadcasting exclusively via satellite, years ahead of the broadcast networks.