I didn’t think I was going to post this report about Pay TV’s impending arrival in Canada in 1982, but then it got to the part about costs and complications. Basic cable service could cost you around $8 per month, I was informed as I did my best not to spit tea everywhere. And say what you want about complications (I do feel for the people with those newer, fancier TVs with the built-in converters), but none of this has anything on Telefirst.
Cable TV just isn’t cutting it any more when it comes to home viewing options for Canadians. Thanks to Anik C, the latest Canadian satellite to be launched, a batch of new movie channels (among them First Choice and Superchannel) are coming, and their promoters are pushing them hard. But there’s a recession on and a subscription doesn’t come cheap, ranging from $25 to $50 per month. In this 1982 report for CBC’s The National, a skeptical Terry Milewski demonstrates the hardware and hears the pitch from companies that stand to get rich from pay TV.
If you’re wondering how rich they got, the answer is they didn’t, at least not right away. Only half a million people signed up for the original services, which was about half of what they were hoping for on the low end.