In1975, HBO became the first cable network to be delivered nationwide by satellite transmission. Prior to this, starting in 1972, it had been quietly providing pay programming to CATV systems in Pennsylvania and New York, using microwave technology for transmission. HBO was also the first true premium cable (or "pay-cable") network. However, there were notable precursors to premium cable in the pay-television industry that operated during the 1950s and 1960s (with a few systems lingering until 1980), as well as some attempts by over-the-air broadcasters during the 1970s and 1980s.
In addition to the aforementioned aspects that distinguish cable television from broadcast, since cable television channels cannot be viewed by those (such as children) without the proper equipment, the Federal Communications Commission's rules regarding acceptable content do not apply to cable television networks, allowing greater freedom in the use of profanity, sex and violence. The lack of restrictions on content has led to cable television programs with more adult-oriented content.
Premium cable networks have traditionally been the loosest with regard to content, since they require a cable converter to view, making it easier to restrict children's access to them. Thus, one can find nudity, strong language, and even pornography on these networks. Basic cable, on the other hand, has not traditionally been as loose with regard to content.