On August 1st 1981 MTV was launched in an estimated 2 million homes at 12:01 A.M.  It started off with the words, "Ladies and gentleman, rock and roll."

Here's that original broadcast:

The first video shown was "Video Killed The Radio Star":

That's right, kids! MTV stand for 'Music Television'! As in...the used to play music. It was AWESOME!

Wanna know why MTV stopped playing videos? Watch this video for a pretty accurate explanation. (WARNING: It's LOADED with profanity, but still makes a good point.)