Cable TV has transitioned itself to cope up with the challenges of today. Back in the days, the traditional cable service was sufficient to entertain a family. They had all forms of entertainment from sports, news, music, movies, and comedy. However, over time, traditional TV-based entertainment was taken over by streaming. Slowly and steadily streaming services started to take over the entertainment industry and its rise is still prevalent even today. To cope up with the consumer expectation, cable TV had to change a few things. The live programming of sports, news, national, and local channels was an asset. All it needed was the convenience that streaming offers. Therefore, cable providers started to change the traditional cable service by introducing DVR functionality, advanced cable boxes, on-demand service, and premium channels.

What were the first premium cable channels?

For example, providers like Cox Communications started offering advanced cable boxes. These boxes were offered on promotion with Cox cable deals and were able to record live TV so that you don’t miss the action from your favorite sports and TV shows.

Secondly, they provided premium channels on affordable monthly charges. These channels don’t rely on TV advertisements so you enjoy non-stop action from any show you like.

Here are some of the first premium channels:


This article is incomplete without mentioning the likes of HBO a.k.a Home Box Office Inc. HBO is the leading premium channel in the US for is highly rated original programming and a mix of movies. The company is headquartered in New York City.

The channel’s philosophy was to provide a commercial-free and uninterrupted movie experience for cable subscribers at an affordable monthly fee. The channel started in the 70s when it became the first American Network that delivered satellite programming. Therefore, HBO is the first national cable channel. Since then, it has been known to expand its network. It introduced a second channel in the 80s called Cinemax. The channel was launched to compete with Showtime and was a cheaper alternative to HBO. Nevertheless, HBO enjoyed sheer dominance over all the other networks and it is still in the top-ranks even today.

Whenever you talk about the legacy of HBO, it does not go without mentioning the likes of Game of Thrones. GOT was the production of HBO and ran for 8 seasons until it was concluded last year. If we were to say that Game of Thrones was one of the shows to re-define TV entertainment, it will be an understatement. Game of Thrones is a much bigger franchise than expected. The show’s storyline, direction, cinematography, characterization, and influence made it one of the most-watched TV shows of all time. Even if we forget Game of Thrones for once, there are countless other shows such as Sopranos, Westworld, Watchmen, The wire, and Veep that are blockbusters and in their own league.


HBO has a streaming service called HBO Now. If you are a blockbuster buff or major TV junkie, HBO Now will be a valuable addition to your home. HBO Now is a brilliant on-demand streaming service that brings together all the classics from the past, compelling original series, and new shows to your streaming device.

There is a huge library of content to stream on this platform. You can get all the originals from HBO such as Silicon Valley, Barry, His Dark Materials, Curb your Enthusiasm, Westworld, and Succession. Moreover, HBO is also producing original miniseries that are both compelling and blockbuster hits. These miniseries include Band of Brothers, Chernobyl, Generation Kill, The Outsider, The Young Pope, and Sharp Objects.

How to choose a Premium channel?

These channels are premium for a reason. Unlike the regular channels, you enjoy commercial-free programming. On top, you get access to newer content way before anyone else. However, there are many things to consider before choosing a premium channel. Here is what to see:

Know your options

As we discussed earlier, many new premium channels have taken over cable TV. Therefore, it is crucial to do a bit of background research before getting a plan. These channels include HBO, STARZ, CINEMAX, The Movie Channel, SHOWTIME, and EPIX.

Decide what kind of content you are looking for

There are no comparisons when it comes to HBO, CINEMAX, or any other channels. It all comes to your preference. Some people want to watch sci-fi while others prefer crime thrillers. Some people want to binge-watch movies while others just want to catch up with a random TV show. Therefore, decide on a plan according to your needs.

Final Verdict

Most importantly, the premium channel should come under budget. Luckily, many providers offer these channels in a budget-friendly bundle so that you can have them all without even paying much.

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.