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

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Teletext then... but now?

The Death of Teletext.

When the BBC and ITV engineers developed teletext and launched it in 1974 they had produced an almost perfect product. It could be generated quite cheaply using a handful of computers, journalists and writers and cost next to nothing to add to the existing television transmissions.

It had been 10 years since the introduction of BBC-2, 7 years since the first appearance of regular colour and 5 years since its introduction to BBC-1 and ITV. TV set manufacturers and retailers, having grown used to innovation in the TV market, were ready for another initiative and got behind teletext, as did the TV companies.

Once you had teletext you then discovered another useful bonus. The quality of the journalism was, in general, excellent. With each page consisting of just a couple of dozen short lines (around 900 characters) news stories had to be reported clearly and succinctly. There was no room for journalese or hype. This all came as a blessed relief from the rambling column-inches of newsprint and the seemingly endless speculations of the television news bulletins.
That Digital Text doesn’t rely on page numbers for navigation is a further nail in teletext’s coffin. How can programme makers refer viewers to Ceefax page 673 when it doesn’t exist on the digital equivalent? It’s far easier just to give out a website address.
Yet how much easier it would be for TV viewers just to press three or four buttons on their remote and get a screenful of information in seconds. Not every TV viewer has a computer or easy access to one, let alone a broadband 24/7 connection.

So teletext is dying, but come the inquest it will be seen, all too late, that it did not die of natural causes, and it will be much missed.

Source: Techmark