The company was started in 1948 in Mahanoy City by John Walson, who owned a General Electric appliance store. At the time, the surrounding mountains in Schuylkill County made over-the-air reception from Philadelphia television stations difficult. Walson, who was interested in selling television sets through his store, solved the problem by building an antenna on top of the mountain overlooking the town. He initially ran a cable to his warehouse and then to his appliance store, using boosters to enhance the signal. Along the way, he hooked up neighbors to the antenna system. Although there are others who have laid claim to the honor, Walson is often recognized for having built the first cable TV system in the United States. Until Walson's death, the company was known as Service Electric Cable TV, Inc. , which was based in Bethlehem.