Archive for the 'Cable/Subscription TV' Category

ON TV Subscription Box, Circa 1980

ONTV Box

ONTV Box-2

One switch. Two choices. As I said way back here, where you can see the box in the wild, ON TV (1977-1983) was a subscription service that would unscramble UHF channels in participating markets. Los Angeles was one of those markets, and it was the first pay-for-TV service my parents got, probably around 1982. That same year, ON TV secured the rights to Star Wars and aired the film on a pay-per-view basis in September. My parents and a number of other neighborhood parents chipped in, and a whole mess of ecstatic kids joined me in our tiny living room for the occasion. Our TV was 19″ at most.

Here’s the intro to ON TV’s “opening night” in 1980, featuring 10, Norma Rae, and Slap Shot. Not exactly a kid’s dream line-up. I dig how the logo mimics the straightening out of the scrambled UHF signal.


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