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The history of cable companies and cable setvice in the Milwaukee area

Started by PaulKTF, Thursday May 28, 2015, 09:29:23 pm

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PaulKTF

I have a few questions about the history of the cable service and cable companies that once served the Milwaukee area.

1. We had cable in the early/mid 1980's in New Berlin. It had a set top box like this one:

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3375/3298454963_068a3b8b20.jpg

What cable provider did we have?

2. In the late 80's what were the cable options like in Waukesha? I now we had Paragon and then and then Century Cable (or was it the other way around?) and then I guess Time Warner took over the cluster at some point in the mid 1990's?

Does anyone remember specific details?

Thanks!!!
-Paul

techguy1975

My earliest recollections of cable service, at least in West Allis, I believe we had Jones Intercable, that was I want to say around the mid 80s.  We had Paragon there to for a time, there were a couple others as well, but I can't recall their names.. I still remember those cable boxes with the little channel selector that slide back and fourth..  I think every child of the 80s zipped that back and fourth watching all stations fly by in a blink

PaulKTF

Oh yeah, I zipped it from one side to the next! That was fun! Haha!

Now that you mention it, we very well may have had Jones at the time.
-Paul

Jack 1000

Cable History

Our history with cable began around late-summer, 1985.  Back then, our company was called Telenational Communications, a small Mom and Pop local franchise that was eventually bought out by Time Warner Cable in 1989.

At that time, the boxes were very clunky and people that had the remote control said that it was really crappy.  I still remember having to get up to change the channels!  We had a WHOPPING forty channels back then! (LOL!)

I have been a boxing fan and consultant for about forty years, and I remember that many people in our city were waiting for Pay Per View to come to the system.  There was only one PPV station back then, (channel 34.) However, Telenational could never get the PPV  software to work right in testing.

Finally, in 1989, Time Warner bought out the company.  And the big fight was the Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns rematch on June 12th of that year.  This was the first PPV market test by TWC for our cities' system.  The planned set up was that you would tune to the PPV channel at the time of the fight.  Five minutes later the converter would go back to the previous channel watched, than if you wanted to pay for the fight, you went back to the PPV channel and got billed for it.

Problem is that tons of people did not know that the fight, a $30 cost at that time was a PPV.  People got billed because the test system was set up so that you were automatically billed for the event after five minutes of viewing.

As a consequence, PPV was dropped until TWC could update the system to the phone ordering, and later the remote impulse purchasing that exists today.

Jack
Cisco 9865 DVR with Navigator Guide

Bebop

What was the name of the cable company operating in Greenfield before TW bought them? The name is in my head, but I just can't come up with it.

Panasonic TH-50PX60U
Panasonic TH-42PZ85U
HDHomeRun

Jimboy

Quote from: Bebop;60143What was the name of the cable company operating in Greenfield before TW bought them? The name is in my head, but I just can't come up with it.


Viacom Cable?

Bebop


Panasonic TH-50PX60U
Panasonic TH-42PZ85U
HDHomeRun

PaulKTF

I found this news article from 1987

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19871224&id=pSMqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8ioEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2843,305471&hl=en

Apparently Century was the name of the parent company that owned Paragon, so I guess Paragon Cable just changed their name to Century Cable but it was the same company. Then Century (or their Milwaukee market area) must have been bought by Time Warner Cable.
-Paul

John L

I think it was Viacom in which they brought in 2 cables into the home to connect into the box.  Why 2 cables, I don't know otherwise seperate tiers perhaps?  

I believe they had that in Franklin.


Muskego had Ingersoll which one cable into homes.

-John L.

LoadStar

Up in Grafton, I believe the first major cable company was Jones Intercable. I think that then got bought by Marcus Cable, then (I think) there was actually a brief run with Charter Communications, before eventually being sold to Time Warner.

MrProster

I first had cable in 1981 in Hartland , back when MTV was actually watchable. It was RVS Cablevision which later became Century Cable. At the same time , Selectv was around and I also had that with their funky indoor antenna which needed to be moved constantly it seemed. It was broadcast over channel 24.Can't believe I paid $25 a month for that...lol. :bang:

PaulKTF

Quote from: MrProster;60224I first had cable in 1981 in Hartland , back when MTV was actually watchable. It was RVS Cablevision which later became Century Cable. At the same time , Selectv was around and I also had that with their funky indoor antenna which needed to be moved constantly it seemed. It was broadcast over channel 24.Can't believe I paid $25 a month for that...lol. :bang:

Check out this video from The Oddity Archive that is a history of the over-the-air pay TV channels including SelecTV. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBbCHpO9UR0
-Paul