Tom Olson on Cable TV Pioneer Phil Hamlin

Hamlin and converter were synonymous in the early days of set-top boxes that extended the capability of cable television beyond the limits of broadcast TV. Tom Olson talks of his relationship with this cable pioneer and how he preemptively helped him identify and fix a problem that would have been a serious issue.

As a business person, Hamlin was so trusted by his suppliers that he did not have to advance money for the orders of set-tops. He was able to leverage his 8-person company into an operation that brought millions of set-tops into the homes of early cable customers. Tom relays some of the lesser known stories about Hamlin, such as that he was a pilot and that Tom always had a place to stay wherever Phil owned a home. Tragically, Phil’s life ended at the hands of murderer when he was 96 and still mentally as sharp as ever, according to Olson.