Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BPN 1410 Internet kills off Teletext UK

Today is the last day for Teletext UK. From now on the Brits will have check the arrival and departure times for planes on their computer or IPTV screens. Only special services like subtitling and the results of horse race betting will be available on analogue screens and can not be moved interactively. This will be the real end to teletext on UK television. Teletext had already been given up by the BBC and commercial broadcast companies and had been handed over to Teletext UK, a commercial company, making the service available through advertising.

In 1972, research engineers of the government owned BBC put together a number of new technological developments and found a way of making better use of the ordinary television signal.

They found that the British standard 625 line TV picture has several 'spare' lines, not used to form the screen image. Digital pulses, travelling as part of the regular TV signal, could with the aid of a decoder built into the domestic receiver, be formed into numbered panels of textual information called 'ages.' These pages look rather like pages of typescript, except that they can also include large-size letters and simple drawings; maps, graphs, diagrams, and so on, in any of six colours. Each page can carry as many as 200 words. A hand-held remote control unit could be used to select individual pages by tapping in the number of the page required. They called this system Ceefax.

The BBC was not alone in its discovery. The IBA, controllers of Britain's commercial radio and TV stations, were also developing a teletext system. They called their system Oracle: Optional Reception of Announcements by Coded Line Electronics.

Within six months the BBC had begun test transmissions of Ceefax. In 1974 all the organizations with an interest in the new information systems came together with the object of devising a unified standard. On 23 September of that year a trial experiment began for both systems culminating in the Autumn of 1976, with the government giving the green light to start full transmissions of both Ceefax and Oracle.



From 2001 onwards the service starts loosing the interest of the television companies’ management. Eventually Teletext UK takes over the services, but closes them as there is not enough advertisement revenues coming from the service.

So the country, where teletext started in 1972, will be without the service from today onwards. However on the continent, teletext is still going strong in countries like Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium and, of course , in France, where they have their own system Antiope.In the Netherlands for example the Teletekst service is still a popular service with the public broadcast, but also with the commercial broadcast stations. In fact Teletekst of the public broadcast system will celebrate its 30th launching day on April 1, 2010. The commercial stations, which only started in 1989, have used teletext. The use between the public service and the commercial service is different as commercial teletext contains pink services. So far nonen of the continental services is thinking about giving up the eldest consumer new medium.

Blog Posting Number: 1410

Tags: teletext, teletekst

2 comments:

hoong said...

I have internet at home, but if I am watching TV and wish to check the weather, flights informations, or latest updates on news, or check the international clock (for making overseas call) WHY should I have to be bother to go to another media for the information? (I understand that we can watch TV via internet ... not the point).

The good thing about Teletext is, it is simple to use, and if done properly, direct and simple info for one's requirements. Whereas internet/PC provoded so much distractions and in the end, one (at least ME) losse track of focus. And for older people or someone who is not good in moving around internet/PC (NOT all of us are born equal. We always seems to forget) Teletext is such an ideal media.

There are so many things/technologies, or business practices, have been replaced not because they lost their usefulness. But at the whimps of someone who has a personal agenda. For example the case of the TV program Lingo in the Netherlands. The former assistant-to-the-minister of Cultures and Educations decided it is outmoded for our modern days entertainment. What she did not try to understand is, the usefulness of this particular program -- language.

I think UK is making the same mistakes about Teletext just like Lingo. Lingo is lucky. It is saved and prosperous.

Cindy

Jak Boumans said...

I agree that Teletext in general is a great service. And I am glad that the Dutch Teletekst service is still working. On April 1, 2010 it will be 30 years in service officially. It will be the eldest and most simple new media service in The Netherlands.