Broadcast television came to Southeast Michigan in 1946 when WWDT-TV (now WDIV-TV) signed on for the first time. In those days, only about 0.5% of local households actually owned a set, a number that would grow 100-fold by the mid-1950s.
At first, Detroit consumers needed rabbit-ears or outdoor antennas to receive signals from a small handful of local stations, including WXYZ and WJBK. The quality of reception varied day-to-day.
By the early 1960s, however, local cable systems began to bring higher-quality, reliable reception to households throughout the Detroit area. The number of programming options, though, remained limited to affiliates of ABC, NBC, and CBS.
In 1972, viewing options began to expand as local cable began offering Detroit area consumers the opportunity to purchase premium services, including HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax. Five years later came an explosion of non-premium cable channels such as TBS and CNN.
In the early 1990s, Detroit viewers could not only receive their television programming over-the-air or by cable, but options expanded to include satellite delivery by DishTV and DirectTV.
The next TV innovation came in 2007 as Detroit consumers started turning to the internet to watch streaming channels like Netflix and Hulu. These new services allowed viewers to watch TV on their phones, computers, and tablets as well as their living room LCD and Plasma screens.
Today, all of this video technology offers viewers the ultimate flexibility to choose how, when, and where to watch TV. So, what are they watching?