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Whole cottage industries sprang up to “decode” set-top boxes so that signals could be received in the clear.
But this freewheeling piracy was largely killed off in the early 1990s by two big developments.
The first satellite delivery of programming to cable occurred in 1976 when Home Box Office televised Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier’s “Thrilla in Manilla”.
That same year a Stanford University professor built the first consumer direct-to-home satellite system.
And even then, bad weather would produce a blank, snow-filled screen.
Critics fear that oil development could harm the ecology and tourism sector.
Mr Christie supports exploration, but insists he will protect the vital tourism industry. The islands' privately-owned press carry a variety of views, including criticism of the government.
The government operates radio networks and the islands' only TV station. There were nearly 156,000 internet users by March 2011 (Internetworldstats.com).
The huge growth in the services sector of the economy has prompted people to leave fishing and farming villages for the commercial centres in New Providence Island, Grand Bahama and Great Abaco.
This trend has compounded the islands' dependence on tourism and banking.
It was a large dish-shaped antenna used to pick up cable TV programmes distributed by content providers (like HBO) to their subscribers.