This was partly because the tall buildings in the city blocked television signals and partly because the New York City Council had required that all electrical and telecommunication wiring be laid underground to limit service disruptions during bad weather, an ordinance that was passed after a blizzard in 1888 damaged telephone and telegraph lines in the area.

Sterling Manhattan consistently lost money during its first six years of operation, because of the expense of running cable underground and into buildings throughout Manhattan (as much as 0,000 per mile) and a limited subscriber base, 400 of them by 1971.

Home Box Office (HBO) is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by Time Warner through its respective flagship company Home Box Office, Inc.

In the summer of 1971, while on a family vacation in France, Charles Dolan began to think of ideas to make Sterling Manhattan profitable.

He came up with the concept for a cable-originated television service, called "The Green Channel." Dolan later presented his idea to Time-Life management; though satellite distribution seemed only a distant possibility at the time, he persuaded Time-Life to back him on the project. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed (approximately 99%) opposed the idea; 4% of those polled in a second survey, conducted by an independent consultant, said they were "almost certain" to subscribe to such a service.

Cable providers can require the use of a converter box – usually digital – in order to receive HBO.

HBO also provides its content through digital media; the channel maintains HBO Go, a video on demand streaming service available as a website and slate of mobile apps exclusively to existing subscribers of the linear channel suite and a separate, but similar standalone service, HBO Now, which launched in April 2015 as a subscription streaming platform that does not require a subscription to the HBO television service.

Sterling Manhattan Cable continued to lose money because the company had only a small subscriber base of 20,000 customers in Manhattan.

Dolan's media partner, Time-Life, Inc., gained control of Sterling when it acquired an additional 60% equity interest, increasing its stake in the company to 80%; Time-Life then decided to close the Sterling Manhattan operation. At the time, Home Box Office's future looked dim: it only had 8,000 subscribers across 14 cable systems, all of which were located in Pennsylvania, and it was suffering from a significant subscriber churn rate.no word yet on who will be operating his brain,” Colbert said, calling the move “Bring Your Daughter to Govern Day.” The White House announced on Wednesday that Ivanka would be taking an official role in the Trump administration as assistant to the president, joining her husband Jared Kushner, who currently serves as senior adviser.“So he’s hired his daughter as assistant to the president, his son-in-law as his senior adviser, and put Eric and Donald Jr.However, HBO's launch came without fanfare in the press, as it was not covered by any local or national media outlets.In addition, the city manager of Wilkes-Barre declined an offer to attend the launch ceremony, while Time Inc. Richard Munro was unable to attend as he was stranded in traffic while trying to exit Manhattan on the George Washington Bridge on his way to Wilkes-Barre.As of July 2015, HBO's programming is available to approximately 36,493,000 households with at least one television set (31.3% of all cable, satellite and telco customers) in the United States (36,013,000 subscribers or 30.9% of all households with pay television service receive at least HBO's primary channel), HBO subscribers generally pay for an extra tier of service that includes other cable- and satellite-exclusive channels even before paying for the channel itself (though HBO often prices all of its channels together in a single package).