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

Page cmodified Saturday, 6 June 2020

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".

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