Industry: The Big Wire

The weakest thing about the prospering U.S. television industry is its broadcast signals. Blocked by mountains, bothered by airplanes, bounced by hills and high buildings, they generate only ghosts on TV screens in many parts of the nation. To remedy this bothersome situation, a controversial industry has grown up across the U.S. Called CATV (for Community Antenna Television), or cable TV, it banishes ghosts and vastly increases TV reception by grabbing the signals of TV stations out of the air with towering antennas, amplifying the signals and piping them into homes by...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!