HBO (Home Box Office) Cable Network
Sign-Off recorded circa Autumn 1979

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Graphics, design and description copyright 2018 by J. Alan Wall. All rights reserved.

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A rare clip from the era when America's oldest cable network (founded in 1972) did not run 24 hours a day, seven days a week (it would go 24/7 late in 1981). The HBO sign-off is in the form of an animated cartoon depicting folks preparing to retire for the night, but there is no voice-over announcement. After that, there are several bleeps (explained below), then color bars. The sign-off is preceded by a promo for HBO's coverage of the NCAA Gymnastics Regional Finals.

In a recent email to, K.M. Richards of K.M. Richards Programming Services explained the bleep tones in the video. They are "....actually telephone touch-tones; the sequence would tell a decoder at the cable system head-end that the programming day was over so that (if programmed to do so) it would switch the feed for that channel to a different satellite transponder or to a text-based message board system.  There would be a similar sequence sent right before HBO began programming the next day. Some low-power television networks, such as Retro TV, still use that system to activate local commercial breaks at their affiliates".

Page edited Sunday, 4 January 2015

NOTE: The video files featured on this website are taken from my VHS home recordings of over-the-air and cable video captures, clips contributed by others and clips downloaded from YouTube and similar sites. The quality varies from clip to clip, due to TV reception and recording issues. None of the clips that are featured here have been authorized by the various television stations, networks or any other entity.