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Coaxial cable used to carry cable television into subscribers' residences.

Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to paying subscribers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables or light pulses through fiber-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcast television, in which the television signal is transmitted over the air by radio waves and received by a television antenna attached to the television. FM radio programming, high-speed Internet, telephone service, and similar non-television services may also be provided through these cables.

A cable channel (sometimes known as a cable network) is a television network available via cable television. When available through satellite television, including direct broadcast satellite providers such as DirecTV, Dish Network and BSkyB, as well as via IPTV, it is referred to as a satellite channel. Alternative terms include non-broadcast channel or programming service, the latter being mainly used in legal contexts. Examples of cable/satellite channels/cable networks available in many countries are HBO, MTV, Cartoon Network, Eurosport and CNN International.

The abbreviation CATV is often used for cable television. It originally stood for Community Access Television or Community Antenna Television, from cable television's origins in 1948: in areas where over-the-air reception was limited by distance from transmitters or mountainous terrain, large "community antennas" were constructed, and cable was run from them to individual homes. The origins of cable broadcasting are even older as radio programming was distributed by cable in some European cities as far back as 1924.

Analog television was standard in the 20th century, but since then cable systems have been upgraded to digital cable operation.


Cable television sections
Intro   History   Distribution  Principle of operation  Deployments by country  Other cable-based services  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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