European Stars and Stripes (Newspaper) - September 5, 1970, Darmstadt, Hessespects
JPI Stoff Writer
Irving B. Kahn. the enthusiastic and
lenlerprising head of TelePromTerCorp., which will soon have systems in
Ti states from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Hor-
seheads. N.Y. and Manhattan, believesthat within five years K5 per cent of the
BO million American television homes,vill he on cable.
Kahn hopes to file for his own do*
..icstic satellite—TelePromTer is 17 perlent owned by Hughes Aircraft — and
lays he could have it aloft by 1972 and -
let the rest of the industry hook OfluTJughes is working on a device to let
kibje TV antennas pick up satellite sig-|a!s as well as regular commercial on-
More conservative cable operators^imate that in five years 54) per cent
J the homes will he wired. And they
tjmk il will be at least five years be*are any of them gets a satellite.
«HE FCC recently Issued a proposed
fgulalion that the three major net-rks could not own cable TV systems,
>r could broadcasting stations ow«i in their local areas.
And it contained one statement thatfought ihe wave of the future to she
it said that in the future it intends'
|at new .systems be designed to aeco'm-
|(H)aie two-way, answer-back com-lunicatiom "for those .subscribers who
l;mt it." This will let the housewife|lk back to Ihv bank, eventually, when
i bills her by cable, and many outfitstesting these in the field. Tele-
h rnpter is. testing in three areas, and
«hn says: "1 hojx? to invite the gen-
al press to see a working dernonstra-n before the year is out,"
n also is working with a largetern hospital in testing the possibility
wiring homes with the capability ofgnosi ng >!Snesses.
e thinks the coming two-wayf .stems open a greater opportunity for
jlucation than anything since television
k-if. The New York Times reports thate major school system in the East
hevf-s it alone could use to advantagecable TV channels.
PramTer serves the northernof Manhattan, and Manhattan
able Television the southern. Charles
s Dolan. head of the latter system,|>s the burglar-fire alarm home-secur-
stt-m. is coming soon and "we canIrdly wait for someone to come up
th .some hardware" in this talk-back,M he thinks it will be two years.
f'The big outfits that are testing seem'suing, for a starter, on a touch-tone,
ree-button gadget," Dolan said. "Youss a button to activate, ihen you
pe a coded answer to a query the TV
The potential of Coble television ranges from armchcir shopping to specie! educaf.:onal programs for children,
screen gives you, then press a transmitbutton. Department stores think hard
goods, like lawnmowcrs, well-knownitems like food, or travel, will first be
offered on commercials.
"It could be offered as to price. Thecomputer prints out and stores the in-
formation identifying you and your res-
ponse, and bills you. Or the bill couldcome right into your home by facsimile
and the computer can charge it to yourcredit card."
Hfi COUNTRY bumpkin that was
'born in small towns and rural areas in
mountain valleys and plains two de-cades ago was called CATV — for Com-
munity Antenna Television.
It used a big master antenna to pick
up television signals thai the home
owner could not get on the air becauseof natural obstructions or distance. It
delivered'those signals, amplified, to thehomes of subscribers in its remote com-
munity, using coaxial cable. Up torecently it was little known to big cities.
A coaxial cable can carry 1,000 timesthe capacity of a phone wire — like
comparing "Niagara to a garden hose,"in the words of FCC Commissioner
Nicholas Johnson ~ and has at least
four times the capacity of standard tele-
vision transmission. This broadband,wide range of frequencies, provides nu-
m e r o u s channels; the New Yorksystems have 12 now and will be provid-
ing 24 or more in four years..
Experts believe the cable could be
made to carry as high as 80 channels.
Some systems have a capability of 40 to50 now.
CATV, just barging into the big cities,is growing at a rate of 20 to 25 per cent
a year. There are more than 2,500
systems now serving more than ! 5 mil-lion subscribers. Systems have be»-n
sold at a pricing rate of $200 to as highas $700 per home servd. and Wali
Street now places a S-iOO-i'oOO value toeach home set.
When the subscriber number soon
reaches 5 million, using £500 value, it
will be a $2.5 billion imluxiry. And atthe average $80 subscription rale it will
generate revenue of 00,00 0.0 00 a year.But the revenue will grow with " new
"Cable television." Harness Weeksays flatly, "is coming down from the
mountains and into the big cities; andas it comes it is changing the entire
face of American communications. Itwill give new dimension to person- to-
person communications, commercialmessages, and myriad services. '"
Fortune says: ••The possibilities ofcable are breathtaking." The multiple-
channel capacity opens up the screen
not only to Leopold Stokowski directinga symphony ( Dolan had them on last
season), Gaelic football for an Irish eth-nic section (Kahn tapes the games Sat-
urday nights and casts them Sundays),
the local mayor, the Little Leaguegames but to almost any group with
something to say.
Some coble TV stations present progroms from school classrooms.
the new FCC 100 Up-markets
proposal a "break-through in your in*dustry," Dean Burch told the con-
vention: "The heart of this idea is thaidistant signals would be permuted, but
with commercials stripped out and re-
placed with local I'llF station commer-cials.
"The CATV operating in these major
markets, in addition to the copyrightpayment specified by Congre-s. would
pay five per cent of us subscriber fee-,to public broadcasting."
The FCC. in a move to foster added
diversity of choice to televiewing andhave CATV "act as an outlet for local
expression," has ruled that by next
April 1 all CATV stations with 1500 ormore subscribers must originate pro-
Cramming as well as pick it up from
over-the-air stations. "Operate to a sig-nificant extent us a local outlet," >> the
way Burch put it — by pu'.un^ pro-grams right on the cable.
It did not say how many hour- or <-v-
aetly what type of local prcyramnur;.;But Burch told the convention the FCC
and Congress would be waiting forCATV "to prove that it will do more
than merely shift the content of broad-
cast television onto wires, and at aprice. We will not be moved to much
excitement by program originators
hustling for the same piece of pie now
shared by TV broadcast stations —
using the same program sources, same
advertisers, seeking the same mass au-dience."
Only about 300 systems out of the2,$OQ now operating will be affected by
the origination ruling. The average
number of subscribers per system is1,880. San Diego is a big one that is
nearing 30,000; the Manhattan oneshave more than 20,000 apiece.
m not af-, doing two
ALMOST ALL ^n-nn
nationwide ll'l sur\ey on ihe subject
thought local r»ew> and information
would play an important part in pro-
It has been estimated 'ha! about 10
per cent of (.'ATV systems tune been
offering live local program-. Some in-
terest mg one> Hinted up.
In New Krn'iaml. a systp
fee ted by the ruling has beerhours daily of high .school •>}>
cal meetings, and informational pro-grams. One program had drug addicts
from the area discussing their ex-periences ami heartaches: 'It had an
impact — kids could see their old
friends who may have disappeared;here they were, telling what they'd
found out. We're definitely going tohave more of this type."
Grand Island, Neb., with under 1,500,originates programming including "an
Angus bull Incstock auction, the GoldenGloves, and stock car racing."
In Mexico. Mo., a town of 14,000people, CATV has 1,600 subscribers in a
system operated from the MexicoDaily Ledger. It has been originating
for some tune. Vernon Duffy, a man-ager, said:
"We program every weekday live innormal peak season for half an hour at 6
p m,—maybe the sports editor, potentialcandidates; city council and city man-
ager once a month: League of WomenVoters: the Ministerial Alliance in Q.
and A about problems.
i;d of ihe !<•'.
L,'I.) in depth
' tape it ;.;:•:
-e dull il;
FCC Chairman Dean Burch
THE STAftS AND STRIPES Poge V