The hours I used to waste playing Bamboozle in the mid-90's at school!
UK regulator Ofcom has revoked the licence that allowed Teletext to broadcast text-based services alongside the TV signal - ending 17 years of independent interactive TV. The licence under which Teletext transmits its service requires the provision of local information as well as news of some sort, and Teletext pulled those …
Anyone else used to watch the coloured shortcuts to see which colour wentn to the right answer and change the answer in the nick of time?
That of course was then overshadowed by TVs that got too big for their boots and cached the "wrong answer" page, making this impossible... pah!
Oh well. Thanks, teletext - I haven't used you for about six years, so never mind.
I was wondering that myself. Though now I see someone else did it, it does seem a little sad! You do mean the alphanumeric figure that came up when you pressed a button that were all the same except for the one corresponding to the correct answer, don't you?
Meanwhile I've been using teletext again since throwing the Sky remote at the wall...
Well, I haven't touched mine for roughly two years, but that was because teletext has been off air here in Malaysia for that long. The last channel carrying Teletext transmission shut down their teletext services in 2008.
It's a shame tho. The Teletext over here was a great service in that it offered real-time airline schedule checking and TV guide. KL International Airport's web-based airline schedule system is a total train wreck of a site to use, and I dislike having to visit 6 different websites to get the schedule for each channel. EPG? Unless you have a pay TV subscription, because generally the digital terrestrial system is stuck in limbo due to tons of delays.
Did you ever see the site Mr Biffo and friends launched after Digitiser was axed? It didn't last long but it was an outstanding rendition of Teletext mechanics in the browser (and without resorting to Java either)... Sadly it looks like they blocked the Wayback Machine though so it's consigned to memory now :(
It was at digiworld.tv in (late?) 2004 should anybody have the wherewithal to dig it up from somewhere
It went much further. Acorn made the Teletext adapter for the BEEB that allowed you to open teletext pages as files on a file system from BBC Basic. One would open a page by specifying the page number as the filename, exactly as you would a file on disk, and then read a record that corresponded to the entire screen, and decode the information inside your program. I am sure that the adapter also cached some of the pages so you could get fast access.
Was fun to play with, but I could not really see a real application for it. I guess it was really an early example of a "Screen Scraper".
I could not get the hang of the locking graphics modes for Mode 7 which allowed you to specify disconnected and joined up graphics modes and colours. The person who thought this up (for Prestel and Ceefax, before the BEEB came along) must have had a seriously deranged way of looking at things. But it was a hardware mode, implemented by the display hardware (an SAA 5050), and allowed much clearer text than the all-points-addressable modes (the cell size was something like 15x10 compared to 8x8 in the graphics modes) meaning that the text was very clear even on cheap televisions, the screen only used 1K of memory, and allowed all 8 colours, plus flashing colours to be used.
Was a clever way of maximising the usable memory in a machine that looked under-provisioned for memory even when it was launched. Ah, the memories.
In a discussion on another board where I hang out, mention was made of a way to inject one's own Teletext information into the vertical retrace interval of a video signal. Can't be too hard, with a 1881 sync separator, a 4066 quad bilateral switch and some sort of micro ..... anyone know which lines and what bit rate to use?
Such a device, if it produced a "clean" vertical retrace interval, might also have other beneficial side effects ;)
I remember the good old days when 1000 page text memory was a big TV selling point :)
If only they developed it a little more over the years, 'hyperlink' style page linking, low res pics (ascii art doesn't count), it could still be useful today as a quick resource. Digital text is rubbish in comparison... very slow, silly loading pages, and prone to crash/seem to lock up on slower hardware.
The old 'analogue' [sic] teletext was fast to load.. If I was watching a program, I could press text type in a page number, then text again, to get back to the picture in a second.
With the move to the digital platform, they had a great opportunity to increase the bandwidth, make page caching standard, improve the graphics slightly.
But no, they went full out to create a 'web wannabe' which is so slow and clunky to load - teletext is great for reading tv guides, letters pages etc. but for the sort of stuff they attempt to now do with digital text, they fail, and you're better off using the web.
My 71 year old mother was an avid user of teletext, she loved it.
I got her a computer a while back as teletext was going with the digital switchover, she hasn't quite got the hang of it yet and at 71 she probably never will.
She could use teletext when she wanted whereas she has to sit at the pc to use the internet and can't do anything else at the same time - she was able to multi-task well before the phrase was coined.
A big part of her multi-media experience has been culled with the death of teletext, as someone in IT she has looked to me to help her fill the gap, what am I supposed to try next? An iPad?
We might not miss the end of teletext but when the world starts and stops with us techies it will be a sad sad day.
Actually Teletext is Digital and over 30 years ago the BBC demonstrated (slowly) Colour photos + text prototype.
Sadly there is no BBC ceefax on satellite any longer, even though it takes very little space (transmitted in it's own serial digital stream, not in VBI). The Interactive on Sky box is very slow and my non-Sky satellite receivers only do teletext (very fast as they store entire magazine).
I just realised that my TV remote actually still has a Teletext button. It's a Samsung that I bought almost 12 months ago, and I can honestly say that I have never ever hit the button marked "Text".
But then, i've never hit the "Interactive" button on the Sky remote either.
they said the teletext holidays etc. would remain - is it really true they'll lose all their TV presence? If so, why didn't they know this?
When the brand goes off the TV, it won't be long before their website becomes 'just another' holiday website.
Their original service may have been losing money, but it was an essential 'loss-leader' to keep the brand name well known.
What about directgov and nhs choice? Aren't those 'published' by teletext ltd. ?
Isn't that the arrangement most people have? So we go from quick access (turn on TV, press teletext button) in every room to slow access (boot PC, wait, wait longer, open browser, go to one of many pages) in one room?
Why get rid of something that works and has a niche?
Don't get it.
In, oh, about the year 2000 or so, they discontinued it here in Finland on BBC World. Basically an uprising started - led by Yours Faithfully, natch.
They put it back on.
I'm too old and too tired to put the fuc*kers against the wall once again. Being on the dole, I can't afford the bullets anymore.
History time, I guess...like VERA* (Actually, I went out with a lass called "Vera". Size about the same...about the same size twin 'reels' - snort!)
"...(adding the ability to show pictures!)" - er, what pictures? The only ones I ever saw on commercial digital Teletext were for banner ads. You'd have thought at least one small pic with each article would have been nice, but nope - text only and often crammed into a column about 40% of the width of the screen (requiring more sub-page flips than analogue teletext!).
I was permanently deeply unimpressed with commercial Teletext - no article pics as I said, quite slow to find a page to load, no page caching (if analogue teletext sets can do this, why can't digital, especially with no pics!) and, to be frank, not much useful content except perhaps to check a live sports score. The Web effectively killed digital teletext before it was born and it's still in a comatose state, even on the BBC.
In my house, the red button has always meant "watch one of the BBC's alternative video feeds", but on Freeview, they've even scrapped much of those (still available as multi-feeds on Sky Digital though!) and often pick the "wrong" one when there's a video feed clash. The other day, Freeview channel 301 was showing a useless Hairy Bikers prog, whilst Sky Digital's equivalent had highlights of the Murray vs. Nadal match - what a clanger to not show the tennis!
then they should have put up the space for free to allow Teletext to survive - though the loss was in December when news serice shut
And while the Internet may be better - it's a lot easier to check the TV using remote while eating breakfast for news, weather and travel (and much less chance of getting distracted
Back when I still had a telly teletext was one of the most used features. Much better content than all the loud and obnoxious moving picture stuff. It gave me news whenever I wanted it and could give me a detailed overview of the weather; the small aviation weather report was especially appreciated.
Now you need an expensive terminal that bluescreens more often than not and an ever faster and more expensive connection just to keep up. But that's understandable, that's the times moving on. Still, don't be hating on teletext; it's a good idea and well-appreciated.
Teletext is probably the user friendly 'computer system' (to be a little loose with the phrasing) ever invented. Many people who can't or won't operate any type of computer use it without any problems or intimidation. It has a cool 'bookmarking' feature too based on remembering three digit numbers!
Shame its going to be gone eventually, it has retro charm!
It is still running in the STV area but just about all adverts and many of the page links are dead.
I hardly ever used ITV's teletext service because there always were too many adverts but always liked CEEFAX. I had first heard about many news stories from the CEEFAX Newsflash on Page 150. I don't think the digital service has any equivalent, you either watch a programme or the news. That is supposedly progress.
Does anyone remember the early days of CEEFAX with row by row live coverage of the Henley Regatta - IN-OUT-IN-OUT-IN....
And of course TeleKnitware that linked direct to your knitting machine.
CEEFAX art with a black cat down a coal mine.
I suppose it was to be expected. With the push toward digital TV and the continued degradation of standards and content, especially with the Independent Television network, the teletext service was always doomed.
Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against the use of digital techniques to deliver television content. My biggest gripe is more along the lines that the people in charge seem to be using the viewing public more than the public is using the service. Teletext's behaviour in recent times has been a cynical marketing ploy that gave little in return to those that wanted or needed it, something that is increasing in occurrence in the digital broadcast market generally (push the button, push the button, coming up next, nag nag bloody nag). The news service closing down was the last straw. It seems that Ofcom have finally shown some backbone! If only they could apply the same thing to the companies that "run" ITV, particularly the shambles that is "ITV plc".
Actually, I've not been a great fan of the ITV version of the service since Oracle were booted out, though they did at least go out with style!
...for finding out what's on tv right now and later tonight. (Amazing! It's the same device I am watching which tells me what's on in half an hour. Don't even need to open my laptop!).
I had no idea that 'teletext' was a brand name. I though it was the generic name for the technology behind Ceefax, Oracle etc. (What IS the generic name for it, then?)
I am dismayed that the BBC and others are starting to drop this ugly but information-efficient (1KB per screen!) technology.
A web page is just not usable enough - not only do you have to fire up a different device (even a set-top box is another device!) but also, each channel has its own layout, and differing levels of detail etc. Maybe at one point all TVs will be able to go on the net and download programme listings. This no-brainer feature will certainly come... my guess is it will be in 10 years time.
BTW I am rather fond of the open source Java-based app "TV-Browser", which aggregates dozens of channel programming feeds into a fairly simple GUI. Check it out. If only the RadioTimes would fix the problem that the BBC Entertainment feed is spitting out the BBC Prime feed by mistake. Grrr.
Finally I would like to say that I was an avid user of the teletext mode on the BBC computer, and lusted after a 'teletext adaptor' - a device which could have impressed the pre-web internet users of the mid 1990s, even if it came out in the mid 1980s.
Have I entered a timewarp? Teletext finished broadcasting around here (west Midlands) around the 12th Jan 2010, & had been announcing the fact since Oct/Nov last year.
They blamed the reason they were going on the fact that they where never allowed enough bandwidth to display all the content they wanted & this was not viable.
Someone mentioned Prestel. Anyone want a Tantel(?) adaptor? :)
The big problem with the digital TV equivalents is that they scare older users, who are used to the analogue text system.
The Teletext service could be replaced by another company, but how long before it has to close down with the end of analogue broadcasting?
And if Ofcom had ignored the breach off terms, because of the short remaining life and lack of value, they'd have lost the teeth they have to ankle-bite what they claim to regulate.
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