Welcome, teletext fanatics! I'll just leave this here...

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Analogue shutdown


A couple of questions concerning teletext and/or its functionalities in the forthcoming analogue shutdown, from the Freeview FAQ link above:

Does Freeview have subtitles?
The font used for subtitles on most Freeview boxes is superior to that used for Ceefax and Teletext on most analogue televisions. However, Freeview lacks mix mode, so subtitles are always displayed on a black rectangular background. That makes them easier to read, but more distracting for other viewers.
Because subtitles are added to the picture by the Freeview box, they will be recorded by a VCR, provided they are enabled at the time when the recording is made.

What provision is there for regional variations on Freeview?
BBCi, the BBC's digital text system, does not appear to be regionalised yet, judging by its television schedule listings.
Teletext on Freeview channel 100 is fully regionalised.

The first of these displays one or two elements that will be lost from the traditional teletext system. The 'mix' mode, whilst debatably useless, was a hallmark of teletext upon its inception. However nowadays there is less use for this function apart from with subtitles. Maybe in time this will be incorporated into the newer digital boxes but at least in my opinion the white text on the black background is far easier to read, despite its obstruction of more of the viewing area.

The second point made in the first question is recordability. Whereas previously people would have to purchase a special decoder to connect to a VCR in order to record subtitles, the overlay of pictures on Freeview (in this case) means it will be possible to tape with an ordinary VCR or a DVD recorder.

Finally, the second question adresses the problem of regional teletext. It is expected that this will be developed in the future, but for now, all services are merged into one and navigation between regions is made via an area selection page.

The Death of Teletext?
Finally, a screenshot which will become more and more familiar over the coming few years: