In an earlier post on the history of MTV I mentioned that the idea evolved from a successful music video program on the Qube network in the late 70’s.
Qube was the first try at interactive television and debuted in Columbus in 1977. It was a demonstration project from Warner Cable (now Time-Warner Cable).
The subscriber used a large remote box that plugged into their set-top cable box and allowed them to pick from the 30 channels available and it included 5 buttons for the interactive part. Programs on Qube could ask poll questions and users would pick their answer and the results would be collected then displayed during the program.
Qube had a live local component that originated from a studio in Columbus. I remember that local TV personality Flippo the Clown had a show on Qube. When Qube was installed in other cities (like Dallas and Cincinnati) there were shows that were shown nationally like Sight and Sound (the prototype of MTV) and Pinwheel, a children’s program that evolved into the Nickelodeon channel.
For a more geeky version of the history of Qube check out the following link: