The opening session of the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco represented the first trial for the experimental system, and it was a success. Eighty-seven stations all over the U.S. received and broadcast Truman's speech.
Regular network shows soon followed. Within a month, "I Love Lucy" debuted on CBS, and other networks introduced variety shows hosted by such stars as Red Skelton and Eddie Cantor. The increasing concentration of the television industry in New York and Los Angeles led to a decline in the importance of Boston as a cultural center.
Even with coast-to-coast coverage, in the 1950s only in a minority of American households had TVs. Reception was poor or non-existent outside of urban areas; moreover, a television still represented a major expense. Although in 1950 the cost had already dropped from $400 to $100 (about $800 in today's dollars), a TV set was still beyond the means of the average family. Five years later, half of all American households owned at least one television; by the early 1960s, TV had become the ubiquitous presence it is today. The railroad, the telegram, then movies, and radio broadcasts had all helped create an increasingly national culture, but television accelerated and intensified the process.