General Purpose Computers For Cable Television Systems (1977)

By Raymond E. Daly IV, Federal Communications Commission

Computers have a significant place in cable television systems. For example, a general purpose microcomputer/video synthesizer could be a practical first step in developing viable interactive (two-way) cable television systems. A working microcomputer/video synthesizer is demonstrated at the presentation of this paper. The paper will endeavor to show that the difficulties in creating such computer systems arise in developing the computer programs (software), not in the computer equipment (hardware).

Hardware. A computer in every headend is now a possibility. Powerful microcomputers developed by the personal computer industry can be purchased for about $2,500 or less. Some computer basics are explained to indicate the simplicity of a minimum microcomputer circuit.

Software. The potential applications of microcomputers to cable television systems are staggering. Applications such as "cable television games" and non-duplication switching are just two possibilities. But in implementing any such microcomputer system, the development of the necessary computer programs may be the major expense.

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