radio" had been popular from the very early days of radio in the
1920's, so it was quite natural when the burgeoning TV market adopted
"Piped TV" as well. For those areas that were not well
covered by the few, weak transmitting stations, receiving the signal via a
cable (or re-diffusion) was a sensible option. Only one step further
then to the option of producing further material above and beyond the
limited number of channels available - and what better way to fund this
exercise than getting the consumer to pay for watching it - in bite sized-chunks? This article form
21 October 1961 describes just such a
suggestion. Hit or Miss, you tell me?
Company Seeks Field Test
The Choiceview Pay-TV system
was demonstrated at the Gaumont Theatre, Camden Town, this week, by
Choiceview Ltd., the company in which the Rank Organization Ltd. and
Rediffusion Ltd. are equal partners. On the previous week it had
been demonstrated to the Committee on Broadcasting.
It was explained that Choiceview sought to provide some programmes
themselves and to deliver them to distribution centres (either its own or
run by independent operators); supply equipment would be available to such
operators. Pay-TV programmes can be transmitted by radio or relay
network, and the company is of the opinion that the system should be introduced
initially over wired networks, with which conventional TV receivers can
also be used.
Payment can either be by coin
box or credit meter with accounts sent to the customer periodically.
Payments might range from 6d to £1, and three programme periods would
probably be offered daily - one in the afternoon and two in the
evening. Programmes would be announced in the Press and in a
publication sent to subscribers. An announcement channel on the system
would give programme details during the day and would also give five- and
two-minute warnings of the start of each programme.
Two distinct Pay-TV units have been developed - one for use in relay networks
and the other for aerial receivers (which would not need to be modified in
any way). Each type would be provided with either coin box or credit
meter as desired.
Choiceview coin unit for use
with an aerial receiver. Controls are the channel selection buttons,
TV/Pay-TV change-over switch, announcements control, credit dial, coin register
control and reject coin release button.
Choiceview Ltd. are now asking for
permission for their system to be given a practical test. At this
week's demonstration four different types of programme were shown, signals
being obtained from videotape and film. The fee for a comedy film
was announced as 5s, and for a boxing match 10s. "A Tale of Two
Cities" was 7s 6d.
One of the useful features of the system was the ability of the Choiceview
operators to see at the transmitting end by means of an instrument called
an I.B.C.A. (Instantaneous Broadcast Audience Counting) how many
subscribers are taking a given programme. The Choiceview programmes
would be made available to independent relay operators, and the I.B.C.A.
system would still count the viewers even through a VHF relay system.