New "Pay-As-You-Watch" System
1953 Radio & Television News Article
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 the day. Also, "Will
You Pay for TV?," in a 1957 Radio & Popular Electronics
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.
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 of transmission.
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.
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
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 keyhole.
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 several receivers.
The equipment is undergoing
extensive testing at the present time in anticipation of an FCC OK on