TV In the early Nineties when I first moved into my current home, a flat in a tower block, I found that in an effort to placate the people who couldn't have satellite, the feed from a BSB squareal was pumped through two of the channels on our analogue tv. This was just after the merger with Sky so that meant Sky One and what was still the Sports channel. That was my first taste of multi-channel tv. The signal was grubby, but clear enough for me to watch nearly the entire run of 21 Jump Street (featuring a very young Johnny Depp -- that man is older than you think) and Star Trek: The Animated Series (which some trekkers still think is canon and are quite happy to have a 12 foot Spock roaming the universe -- there was a Voyager episode waiting to happen). Eventually Sky turned off the signal to the non-circular ariels and it would be some years until I was stiff by the ITV Digital liquidation.

I was on the cusp then, but still close enough to get misty eyed over TV Cream's new update which takes a long look at the early days of Satellite TV, filling in the blanks on what I missed. Looking through, a pioneering spirit was in evidence -- many of the channels listed still exist to some extent in some form, even Sky Soap, which was basically Granada Plus and UK Gold. But who would have thought the following would return:
"Before the advent of Sky Digital brought us an infinite number of television stations, all of them featuring Paul Lavers, back in the 1990s the restricted capacity of the first Astra satellite meant lots of networks had to squeeze onto the same transponder for a few hours each day. Perhaps the most extreme example was the magical Transponder 47, which depending on the time you tuned in, broadcast imported televangelism, rolling weather forecasts, reruns of Take The High Road, hours and hours of extended adverts for holidays, documentaries about Nazis, reruns of Land of the Giants and ancient football. Creamup also used to love Transponder 59, which showed a rolling promo about the Astra satellite itself, with loads of footage of rockets taking off and stuff. But that's just us.
Freeview's new Top Up TV doesn't work for this very reason. Because of limited bandwidth, some quite good channels are only going to be broadcasting for part of the day. So tough if the show you wanted to watch is on after midnight. Some things really don't change.

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