Over 30 years ago, TV viewers in Columbus, Ohio, experienced television's future: QUBE, an interactive service from Warner Cable. Viewers with a QUBE box had access to 30 channels (ten more than most competitors), and several interactive features activated by a special remote control. Subscribers could buy pay-per-view movies (a TV first), respond to polls and see the results almost instantly, bid on auctions, and even play rudimentary video games.
Why didn't QUBE change television forever? Because the QUBE pilot service cost significantly more to offer than customers would charge. By 1983, Warner Cable was $875 million in debt, leading to a contentious and ultimately failed partnership with American Express.