New "Pay-As-You-Watch" System
August 1953 Radio & Television
television is a concept that has existed about since the time commercial broadcast TV first
came on the scene. Known as "Boxoffice Television," it used a "Picture-caster" to scramble the
picture so that a subscriber needed a rented descrambler in order to view the program. A rented
key (physical, not digital) was used to turn the box on and off. The signal went out over a
standard local broadcast tower or even over coaxial line. Channels 2 through 13 were it for
|[Table of Contents]These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the Radio & Television News magazine. Here is a list of the Radio & Television News articles I have already posted. As time permits, I will be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged. |
See all available vintage Radio
News articles. Also, "Will
You Pay for TV?," in a 1957 Radio & Popular Electronics and "Stop
Pay TV!," in a 1958 Radio-Electronics.
Thanks to Terry
W. for providing this article.
New "Pay-As-You-Watch" System
Boxoffice Television's new closed-circuit transmitter for TV makes possible retransmissions
on Channels 2 through 13.
Max Genodman, president of United Elco (a contracting firm specializing in hotel master
antenna system installation), inserts the decoding key in the rear of a television set equipped
to receive Boxoffice Television's enclosed-circuit TV.
Lee Bunting, treasurer of Bell Television, Inc. (a master antenna TV system operating firm),
is shown with a demonstration set-up incorporating the new "Picturecaster" and the TV set
with which it is employed.
The ever-mounting cost of television program sponsorship is
causing more and more companies to cast a tentative eye at the various "TV-for-pay" systems
which have been developed in the past few years.
Although not as yet sanctioned by the
FCC, several companies are proceeding with the development of equipment to handle this type
Among the new items on the market is Boxoffice Television's "Picture-caster",
a unique closed-circuit transmitter for television pictures and sound.
The unit accepts
video and audio from any source - a receiver, camera chain, coaxial line, generator, etc. and
transmits them into any type of transmission line on any v.h.f. channel, 2 through 13. The transmitter
frequency is crystal-controlled, with the sound and video carriers automatically maintained
4.5 mc. apart for best results with inter carrier receivers. AM pictures and FM sound are receivable
on all standard TV sets.
The system as it operates now, in conjunction with master antenna
systems, is inexpensive and easily installed and operated.
The audio and video are piped
by a common carrier (such as telephone company lines) to each master antenna system which is
part of the network. These normal signals are then fed into the "Picture caster" which scrambles
the picture so that while it can be tuned in in the normal way it cannot be viewed.
The special decoder with which the receiving set is equipped consists of an inexpensive tube
circuit, which is installed in one of the receiver's existing tube sockets, and a box with a
To view an unscrambled picture, the user inserts the key in the key-hole and
the picture comes in clear. Keys can be rented for various periods of time, the rental depending
on the program material to be received. The key rental is the fee for watching the program.
Removing the key scrambles the picture again so that a single key cannot be used to operate
The equipment is undergoing extensive testing at the present time
in anticipation of an FCC OK on "Pay-As-You-Watch" programming.