THE HISTORY OF SERVICE ELECTRIC COMPANY IS THE HISTORY OF CABLE TELEVISION IN AMERICA
In 1947 in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, the Walson family began selling television sets in their appliance store under a General Electric franchise. It was impossible to receive the three Philadelphia network stations in Mahanoy City because the town is surrounded by mountains. Because of this situation, an antenna tower was built on top of a nearby mountain. John Walson was able to demonstrate his new television receivers at this mountain top location. In searching for ways to increase television sales, a line was constructed from that antenna site to his appliance warehouse.
In June 1948, that line was extended on utility poles to the Walsons’ appliance store. Along the way, several families were connected to this community antenna system. Three television sets were displayed in the window of the store. Many people congregated in front of the store to view the three channels from Philadelphia. As a result, a new industry was started in America.
The Late John Walson was recognized by the U.S. Congress and the National Cable Television Association as the founder of the cable television industry. Mr. Walson can also claim many other firsts including the first cable operator to use microwave to import distant television stations, to use coaxial cable for improved picture quality and to distribute pay television programming (HBO). Service Electric was the first cable TV company to affiliate itself with HBO. HBO was started in Wilkes-Barre in November 1972.
John Walson was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. Other inductees include Larry King, John Malone, Mike Wallace and Ted Turner.
Today, Service Electric Television is a private, family owned cable television business serving over two hundred ninety thousand (290,000) subscribers located in approximately two hundred fifty (250) communities in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania and Northwestern New Jersey.
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