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Wayback Wednesday: The simple world of old cable

As hard as it might be for anyone under 35 to understand, Cable TV was a big deal back in the late 1970's and early 1980's.

If the VCR freed viewers from the need to be tethered to their TV to watch their favorite programs, cable gave them more material to record. It was a game changer for couch potatoes everywhere.

But it wasn't fancy. There was no universal remote. If you wanted to change the channel, you had to use one of these things:

And even though it was a big jump from the era of four or five channels, it wasn't the endless array we're used to today. Here's the early Multimedia Cablevision lineup for Oklahoma City, circa 1980. Just 17 channels.

Later on, more channels were added. And pricing became more competitive.

And there was fun, and kooky stuff like television auctions. Many cities had them.

And now the cycle has come full circle. Customers are dropping their cable subscriptions in favor of a more internet-based viewing experience. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have all become big players. Every major cable company in the United States lost subscribers last year.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›