As the analogue TV transmitters are switched off one by one, it’s time we stopped and thought for a moment about the passing of an institution. I’m talking, of course, about the teletext service on your TV (not to be confused with Teletext Ltd, which continues to operate).
A combination of the internet and the roll-out of digital TV has seen teletext’s prominence decline, but believe it or not, it’s still there, resolutely soldiering on, quietly doing what it’s done so well for years. A credit to those who have maintained it for all these years.
In the days before the internet, teletext was your first port of call for everything from news and sport to flight arrival information. A day didn’t go by when I wouldn’t flick onto BBC Ceefax page 302 to catch up on what was happening in the football world, or to monitor the latest scores, the goals being posted as they went in. Just a few weeks ago, when I was at my gran’s house with no internet access, I turned back the years to check how my team was doing on teletext.
Yes its interface may have been grounded in old green-on-black computer monitors that have long been sent to the tip, but it was teletext’s raw simplicity and ease of use that made it so great. Easy to read, straightforward to navigate, and kept up to date, it provided so many with a service like nothing else that was available at the time. A sort of Web 1.0 on your TV, if you like.
So as it quietly makes its exit to the history books, teletext can do so with dignity, knowing it has put in an absolutely sterling shift.
Image from wwward0.