The Lehigh Valley (Allentown/Bethlehem) had one of the first Cable Companies -- Service Electric, founded around 1948 if I remember correctly. The Lehigh Valley had a hard time receiving signals from Philly, New York City, or Scranton/Wilkes Barre because of the mountains, so antennas were put on top of the mountain(s) and the signals from NYC, Philly, and Scranton/Wilkes Barre were re-transmitted. When we first got cable (around 1970) that is all it was. Then around late 1972 or early 1973 Service Electric started offering a new pay service - Home Box Office. A special box was required to receive it because it was placed on a cable channel between channels 6 and 7 (some TVs could had tuners that could receive HBO). A few years later, they began scrambling HBO, and added Cinemax, PRISM, and The Disney Channel (the original version) -- all scrambled. By the late 70's news channels (the forerunners to CNN) began appearing, and by the 80's Nickelodeon, MTV, and other channels began appearing, all on the new cable channels. The pay channels (HBO, Skinamax, PRISM, etc.) were commercial free, but the other "premium" channels always had commercials, but not in the quantities that we have them today.