Cedar Rapids Gazette, March 20, 1974, Page 7

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette March 20, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - March 20, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Great future waiting awhile Cable TV cool-off takes hold By I es Brown TWO YEARS ago, ( abir television was A a new and growing industry that seemed to promise to deliver the com* '"nnieations or the future by 1974. rhrough television by wire, so the cable dream went, agencies of city governments would Im* interconnecti*d, hospitals would be linked with outlying health care centers, neighborhoods would have their own liH*al stations, minorities would have a television forum. Social scientists and educators planned the impact of the medium on the culture of the country, ann venture capital was readily available from the financial community. In fait, it’s all very different iii 1974 According to the National (able Television Assn. in Washington, eight million homes across the United States are served by cable, or almost 12 percent ol all television homes. One-quarter ut tile subscribers are iii metropolitan areas of over I ad.(MHI in population, where 70 IMTcent of the nation lives. Of that one-quarter, many are in suburban or outlying areas, rather than in the central city. In both the city and the country, most cable subscribers pay ainoi! the same for the service (about $5-6 a month). But in general what most people are going to Ik* receiving on their home sets this year is not the special programming heralded for the medium. Instead, they will be getting “basic cable service,’’ or better reception of the existing commercial channels iii their areas. The Unit ck! States department of commerce had predic ted a national average growth rate for the industry ol IB |M*rcent a year for the first three years of the 70s. Last year it was IO percent. And investment has dried up. ( able has entered a cooling down period. “A return to reality” is how one industry leader put it. The large cable companies, called MSO’s (multiple system operators), are struggling to make a comback on Wall Street by making a new pitch — a modest, even conservative, representation of the medium’s capabilities. What happened between 1972 and 1974 to burs! the nubble > Mainly, it was that the industry had stumbled over its own leaps and bounds. Entrepreneurs had rushed to wire up the major cities after the Federal Communications Commission issued new rules on March 31, 1972, that effectively lifted a “freeze” for cable development on the top KHI television markets. They were to learn that the economics of urban cable are vastly different from the economics of cable in the small towns where the medium had first developed. The origin of the cable industry was in the development of ( ATV (community antenna television) in the late ’50s ( ATV was devised as means lur improving television reception in areas in which the airborne electrical signal from a commercial station’s transmitter was interrupted by hilly or mountainous terrain A community master antenna, which has been likened to a giant rabbif-ears, would lie set up, usually on the highest point in the area, and a coaxial cable strung along existing telephone jades and into a home, thus connecting the television set there to the master antenna Rural cable still operates in tins wav, iii cities, Uh cable is run Underground. usually iii already existing tunnels, and then into a house in apartment building. The industry gr**w rapidly by providing basic reception service iii rural areas. But to establish itself in the cities, where reception is generally good. it had to otter additional channels to carry special programming. New technology had been developed to subdivide the coaxial cable into six eight, and potentially unlimited numbers of channels, through the installation of a converter. But converters are expensive, costly extras on the already higher cost of laying cable in the cities Finally, the cable companies found that the programs they were offering appealed to neither advertisers nor viewers. They found a lower ratio of subscribers, and a higher cancellation rate, than in the smaller towns and rural areas The lesson the industry learned was that the large metropolitan areas do not need cable the way the provinces do. Not only do city dwellers not have reception problems, they have access to Opinion Page 2 Views Ideas Insights Judgments Comments entertainment, educational and cultural events outside the home. The result has been a general retrenchment iii the cities. Many MSO’s that had sought and secured franchises in the largest metropolitan areas are now, in a new jieriod ol sobriety giving them up, and proceeding more cautiously, building systems only where basic cable service is required. Large rabic operators now acknowledge that rural and urban cable are different businesses They recognize that cities riKjuire more services than they have been providing. Few companies, however, want to offer added services until Hwy are assured of a profitable operation. Since the companies need the cities, because the cities are where the markets are, the question of further development of cable’s potential could he considered not unlike the question of the chicken arid the egg. But (he picture for cable isn’t entirely black. Then have been some heartening developments. One was the issuance in January of the Report of the President’s Cabinet Committee on Cable Communications, better known as the Whitehead report, after its chief architect, ( lay T. Whitehead, director of the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy. One of the report’s basic recommendations was that cable Im* allowed to develop relatively free from the federal regulations that govern broadcasting, in the laissez-faire manner of books, magazines and newspapers. Further, the report, which will soon be the basis for legislation, recommends that cable be given the status of a common carrier, available for use by all persons, like Hic telephone. As the report secs the cable television of the future, a system with KHI channels would carry commercial and public television stations. as well as municipal services. In addition, it would open most of the remaining channels to anyone who might want to lease ail or part for free, com- Insights tMrl" = The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. Norman Vincent Peale meroial or pay broadcasts, and riot just to the licensed few, as in the present system, Although some details arc being disputed, the Whitehead report has been praised by most cable advocates for its broad outline. And it has given a psychological lift to a cable industry that has just experienced a traumatic setback in the marketplace Another lift has come from this month s supreme court decision, in a test ease suit by the Columbia Broadcasting System against Tclcprompter, which absolved cable television from immediate copyright liability for carrying distant broadcast signals, pending congressional action. But more than a lift would come from a technological development which may be only a few years away: the interconnection of cable systems by domestic satellites to form national networks. When it ( an offer programming on a national scale that can compete with the commercial networks, cable’s chances for acceptance by < ity-dwcllers may Im* substantially enhanced. Meanwhile, experiments are in progress in several communities with the utilization of cable’s current capacities for those specialized services that were talked up in the happier days of the industry. In Orlando. Fla., SIMI homes arc par-tieipating in a test of bi-directional, or two-way, computer-controlled cable in which the viewer may send back digital responses to certain programs on the set. Along with its use for pay-TV, opinion polls and game-playing, the experimental system facilitates shopping by television. The viewer places his order by pushing the indicated buttons on a box attached to his set. The Orlando experiment also provides, with the homeowner’s approval, a fire- and burglar-alarm service by which the television set, in effect, watches the house. Only the economics of operating cable iii the cities today stands in the way of the many services the medium can already deliver. In addition to making channels available for health care, education, vocational training, it could offer channels for town meetings, neighborhood activities and zoning issues, city information services and special programming for handicapped persons, senior citizens and residents .speaking foreign languages. Farther into the future, facsimile units in tin* home could, through cable, print out newspapers and circulars and even deliver mail. And when the technologies of cable, computer and the video cassette are joined, it should Im* possible for the viewer to retrieve programs he has missed, or to order up what he may choose from a catalog of educational or entertainment programs by pushing buttons, as on a juke-box. Whether cable will become a medium unto itself, instead of an aid to television reception, bas never been a question; the question has always been when. ()p-timists still predict it will happen in the 19811s; jicssimists give ii longer, sonic not until the 21st century. New York Times Service Way with words Maleness jazzed up By Theodore M. Bernstein TODAY’S MALE. A recent addition to our language is machismo. Pronounced ma t HFKSE-mo, the word comes from the Spanish and means maleness or strong masculinity. This information is jircsented here in response to a letter from Mis. Mathilde Soloff of Philadelphia. As lagniappe* this rectangle will also answer a question bv her concerning the word lagniappe, despite the fact that the question was answered here almost two years ago (hut who remembers?). Lagniappe (Ian-YAP) means a gift, something extra, as illustrated at the beginning of the preceding sentence. • So far no good. The jihrasc as far as (or so far as) leads many sjx*akers aud writers into error. Example:    As    far    as the scientific research into the causes of the common cold, very little new has Im'cii turned up.” Used iii this way, the phrase constitutes a conjunction and a conjunction introduces a clause, which is required to contain a verb. In the foregoing example, as iii nine out of ten similar constructions, the req urns I verb is "is concerned.” To omit the “is (or are) concerned” is a serious solecism. Of course, sometimes as far as is used as a preposition meaning to or denoting the extent of an action and then no verb is required: “He went os far as the corner drug store, then turned back ’ But the example given at the beginning of this item should read. “As far as the scientific research into the causes of the common cold is concerned, etc.” Now York I lutes Syndicate Keeping Patricia too long Hearstnapers have blown it Don Oakley WILL BE scant comfort bi the family of Patricia I karst, of course, but longer the Symbionese Liberation ny holds her — the more it attempts ink the (karsts with every evil since San Francisco earthquake — the re it attempts to extort another couple lion from Hum, which they do not c — the more censorious aud ralistie a jmisc it adopts, as ii it were aggrieved parly — the more inept I ridiculous it is going to look he SLA has already missed the oj» (unity lo reap the maximum benefit ii its “blow against the oppressors" by a matter of weeks. It should have released the girl immediately after jmblisher Randoljih A. Hears! promised lo set nj) a $»2-in 11 lion food handout program, or certainly after that program got under way. By refusing to accept that compromise, their original exorbitant demands, which would have left everyone ahead, and by continuing to torment and badger the I karsts to no purpose, the SLA may be backing itself into a position from which great tragedy could flow Either ii will sooner or later have to make good its threat to execute Patricia llearst, or it will have to eat its own propaganda and let her go on the same conditions it had long ago obtained Iii the first eventuality, the SLA will appear ruthless and cruel, and will make itself the target of the most intensive manhunt since the Lindbergh kidnaping. The other way, it will appear stupid and incompetent-^ bunch of half-baked, would-be revolutionaries who really don’t know what they’re doing For the SLA, the llearst kidnaping is becoming a no-win game. Let it be prayed that they do not take out their frustration on the hapless victim. Newspaper f nt®»pil»e Awd lotion Discount prices Stayfree Mini-Pads have extra absorbency. Box of 30. Sale Noxzema Skin Cream is medicated to help keep your skin soft and smooth. In a special 16 oz. jar. Visine Eye Drops clear redness, soothe and comfort Irritated eyes. 2.97    2.1.00 Breck Bosk Texturixer Helps keep your hair soft and manageable. 8 oz. bottle. Curity Cotton Bails are soft and absorbent. Pack of 300. Sate White Rain Hair Spray in regular, hard to hold, unscented or for oily hair. 13 oz. can. Contac Capsules for relief from colds and hayfever. 10 capsules. Sale Edge Shave Cream in regular, lime or menthol. 7 oz. can. Sale Ultra-Brite Toothpaste in regular or mint flavors. 7 oz. tube. a Madox AMT* CIO et    ? %■ *«(    .*    m a ' at I  LU. V 89 Maalox Antacid Liquid helps relieve indigestion 12 oz. bottle. Butferin Tablets help relieve headaches and body aches. IOO tablets. Dial Antiperspirant in regular, unscented or powdered formulas. 14 oz. can. nore! Target is a lot more than a drug store! But what a drug store! We want you to find more here than you’d expect from any drug store or any other discount store. Discount prices on hundreds of health aids, packaged medications, personal care products, toiletries, household and sickroom supplies, greeting cards, books and stationery.And a lot more! Shopping can be a headache. One stop at Target might be the cure you’re looking for.Advertised prices effective through Saturday, March 23. CHARGE IT Sorry, no mill or phon«©TARGET Target Stores Incorporated Hours: Monday through Saturday IO AM to IO PM, Sunday IO AM to 7 PM 4501 Frst Avenue S E. Across from Lindale Plaza ;

  • Don Oakley
  • Mathilde Soloff
  • Norman Vincent Peale
  • Theodore M. Bernstein

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: March 20, 1974

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