Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
Prevue Guide started simply as Electronic Program Guide in 1981. The Electronic Program Guide (EPG) wasn’t as advanced as Prevue Guide, it was merely a scroller with some local radio. It would occasionally show advertisements.
The Prevue Guide that we 80s & 90s couch potatoes are most familiar with had launched in 1988, however, it was a little slow to launch in all cable stations. For instance, Prevue Guide was available in central Texas in 1988, however, West Covina, California ran EPG until early 1990.
From Prevue Guide to Prevue Channel
The split-screen Prevue Guide surely was a step-up from Electronic Program Guide. The listings would be cut in half and be shown on the bottom, while on the top half: previews & commercials on top. Prevue Guide did take the font and graphics of EPG. The font and graphics were used until 1993. Starting in March 1993, it changed to Prevue Channel. What also changed was its appearance and also the familiar Prevue Guide song everyone loves (or perhaps not).
The fonts & graphics from the old EPG were replaced by a blue grid setup showing the show that is on each channel and the show(s) coming up. This was a better option as Prevue Guide would show each half-hour time frame every couple minutes. Prevue Channel instead had their own blues jingle with a man singing with an acoustic guitar. Besides that, Prevue Channel didn’t have the old theme music from Prevue Guide, they had a library of its own.
Beginning in 1998, Prevue Channel would bring some short-form shows. All would start with the Prevue name, such as Prevue This, Prevue Family, Prevue Sports & Prevue News. Also in 1998, Prevue Guide’s parent company acquired TV Guide. And at midnight on February 1st, 1999, Prevue Channel was renamed TV Guide Channel.
When Prevue Channel went to TV Guide Channel:
TV Guide Channel
Around the turn of the millennium, new graphics were introduced to the listings. The old navy blue grid was replaced by an advanced red & blue grid. Prevue Channel’s short-form shows had the Prevue name replaced with TV Guide. You would see TV Guide Close-Up, TV Guide Sportsview and also TV Guide insider. TV Guide’s short-form shows would feature interviews with actors, directors & producers and would also give a behind-the-scenes look of the big ticket movies that were being made at the time. A definite 1-up from what Prevue Channel had to offer.
TV Guide channel’s short-form shows had a share of hosts, Debbie Matenopoulous & Cynthia Garrett would be hosts in the early 2000s. Matenopoulous would later join Good Day Live and would be injured during a live show in 2004. In 2005, TV Guide would bring in full-length shows.
The Technical Stuff behind Prevue Guide/Channel
Prevue Guide’s predecessor EPG ran via an Atari 130XE and later a 600XL. These were part of a series of 8-bit computers made by Atari from 1979 to 1992. When Prevue Guide entered the world of Cable TV, they would be dependent on the Commodore Amiga 2000. In 1994, as Prevue Channel, they would upgrade to an Amiga 3000 despite the model being discontinued in 1992. TV Guide Channel would use Windows NT.
One of the big minuses for Amiga computers is it ‘Guru Meditation.’ An error that will show a black screen with red text on top showing the message. Besides that error, Prevue Guide was known to crash from time to time.