The Prevue Channel (initially known as as Prevue Guide in 1988, Prevue Channel in 1993, TV Guide Channel in 1999, TV Guide Network in 2007, shortened to TVGN in 2013, now rebranded to Pop in 2015) was a network founded by United Video Satellite Group in 1988. Prevue was originally launched as the Electronic Program Guide in 1981 as a barker channel service, which provided a display of localized channel and program listings for cable providers, eventually being rebranded many different times beginning with the Prevue name in 1988, followed by the TV Guide Channel in 1999 thanks to UVSG's acquisition of the TV Guide entertainment magazine in 1998, then under different variations throughout the years until early-2015 when it was rebranded once again as Pop, which is currently now operated by ViacomCBS.
1981-88: as the Electronic Program Guide
Prevue began in 1981 under the Electronic Program Guide name. The channel operated as a simple electronic program guide application initially running on the Apple II, then switched to the TexScan, Atari 130XE and Amiga 1000 platforms around 1983. The software could display the date and time, and listings throughout four hours of that day's program and channel listings. In 1986, the cable company could optionally set a title that would display at the top of the channel and advertisements in the form of text advertisements that would occasionally appear after each roll, a full-screen graphic ad, or via a text crawl at the bottom of the screen. Since the channel was operated visually, cable operators could use a separate audio source for the channel, typically from a local FM radio station or a cable television audio provider, such as the Cable Radio Network.
Multiple versions of the Electronic Program Guide software were produced and offered to cable companies around this period. The earliest instance was in 1981 on the Apple II, with EPG Jr and other variations introduced in 1985. The EPG Jr. relied on the Atari 130XE and 600XL platforms, while other versions were produced for the TexScan character generator and Amiga 1000 platforms, sometimes referred to as EPG Sr.. These versions of the software relied on a 2400 baud data stream as part of a satellite feed provided by United Video based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The listings in the data were cherry-picked to fit what the cable provider provided. To indicate these listings being received, a dot would constantly blink right next to the time on the top of the guide, unofficially referred to as 'Blinky.'
1988-99: as Prevue (Guide)
1999-2015: as TV Guide Channel/Network
In 1998, UVSG acquired TV Guide from News Corp, and on February 1st, 1999, the Prevue Channel was relaunched as the TV Guide Channel at exactly 12:00 AM. YouTube user HulkieG has posted a video of the switch on YouTube. Several months after this name change, the existing Prevue Grid Amiga-based platform was phased out, replaced by a Windows NT-based system referred to as Yellow Grid due to its new appearance.
Many fans of the Prevue Channel regard this relaunch as the beginning of TV Guide Channel's downhill climb. In 2001 and 2002, the channel's programming began to drastically change, and many were turned off by the half-hour advertisements and constant "celeb-talk". The channel began moving away from the previews and highlights that had been the foundation of Prevue Guide.
The original Prevue logo trademark had a USPTO serial of 74108440.
An alternative version of the logo, without the guide text. This was used as the primary logo just after the "Prevue Guide" name was phased out, and is filed with the USPTO under serial 74491852.
This version of the logo, introduced around 1996, continues to use Prevue's typeface, but introduces an eye-like design around it. This logo has a USPTO serial of 75066864.
The final version of the Prevue logo used the same eye-like style with the Univers font instead of the original Prevue typeface. This logo has a USPTO serial of 75463258, and the trademark was not cancelled until 2006.
Larry Hoefling served as the voice over talent for the Prevue Channel from 1989 to 1993.