Multichannel Television Services
This chapter provides background information about multichannel television services to situate the historical, regulatory, and technological context of the industry. It examines the cable industry, and describes major issues and trends affecting the multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) industry. Until the early 1990s, most consumers who sought to receive multichannel television service enjoyed few options other than subscribing to their local cable television operator. Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) systems proved popular with the public but faced a number of obstacles that allowed cable to remain the dominant provider of multichannel television service. Almost all of United States TV households subscribing to DBS service are able to receive their local stations via satellite. MVPDs continue to adapt their technology and content distribution offerings to accommodate subscribers’ shifting patterns of TV consumption. The average adult American watches more than three and a half hours per week of time-shifted TV, and seven out of 10 identify themselves as binge viewers.