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Television The Internet Science

BBC Turns Off CEEFAX Service After 38 Years 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the retiring-after-years-of-service dept.
Kittenman writes "After 38 years (1974 - 2012) the BBC's CEEFAX service has ceased transmission. The service gave on-line up-to-date textual information (albeit in condensed form) to TV viewers in the pre-Internet era and afterwards. Its final broadcast signed off with, 'Goodbye, cruel world.' '... the real impetus for viewers came when BBC Television decided to use a selection of Ceefax pages, accompanied by music, before the start of programming each day. Initially called Ceefax AM and Ceefax In Vision, the Pages From Ceefax "programme" continued for 30 years, being broadcast overnight on BBC Two until this week. As viewers got a small taste of what Ceefax had to offer, millions of Britons during the 1980s invested in new teletext-enabled TV sets which gave them access to the full Ceefax service, which by now included recipe details for dishes prepared on BBC cookery shows, share prices, music reviews and an annual advent calendar.' An British ex-PM (John Major) said, 'From breaking global news to domestic sports news, Ceefax was speedy, accurate and indispensable. It can be proud of its record.'"
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BBC Turns Off CEEFAX Service After 38 Years

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  • Re:I'm not British (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:19AM (#41749261)

    Really? Time doesn't seem to have obsoleted the wheel yet.

  • Re:I'm not British (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:26AM (#41749293)

    They don't have flying cars where you live?

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:46AM (#41749381) Journal

    An example to many broadcasters around the world, very advanced in its views. Still one of my favourites.

    Unfortunately, it's no more.

    After Rutgers U turned off Usenet, BBC turned off Ceefax.

    Looks like good stuffs just ain't made to last as long as their rotten counterparts.

    Wonder what's next ... ?

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:13AM (#41749765)

    A system of realtime transmission of embedded digital data with live updates and multicolour graphics on a TV before most home computers with the computer actually built into the TV (not a set top box!) was pretty much bleeding edge for the time. Its was truly a quantum leap in home technology when up until that point when most people in the UK still didn't even have colour TV sets.

  • Re:Good Riddance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:04AM (#41750001)

    What does it cost to keep it alive? Is it worth the money to shut off people who will never use internet

    You're not really paying attention are you? All working UK TVs** now have digital text, which is not really any more difficult to use that CEEFAX for non-internet users; the main index page numbers are even the same on digital text as they were on CEEFAX. Noboby has been 'shut off'.

    **With a few exceptions in cheap hotels etc., can't be bothered to explain why.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @07:29AM (#41750699)

    The BBC has moved to digital "teletext"

    Obligatory rant. As I commented on the BBC site, despite being piggybacked onto the analogue TV signal, old-style Teletext itself is- and always was- a digital service.

    This matters not simply because it was digital, but more importantly because it was probably the first digital service- or digital anything!- aimed at the consumer market, at least in the UK.

    And despite all the nostalgic ramblings, it has hardly been given any credit for what is probably its most significant aspect. Years before CDs came out, even before even the Apple II and friends launched the personal computer (and when the closest thing to a home computer was the Altair 8800 [wikipedia.org]), Teletext was digital and providing information on demand.

    I don't feel the need to defend its shortcomings by modern standards- of course it's dated and basic, it's over 35 bloody years old and came out when even the 1 KB of memory needed to store a page would have been expensive. However, it was a fantastic achievement at the time and still heralded the digital age, however primitive it looks today. And it hacks me off that almost no-one is giving it credit in that area.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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