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tesandco1,011 posts since 28 Sep 2001
Granada North West Today

Turns out the regional pages on Ceefax launched on November 17, 1997, so a few months after that Mother Teresa section was there.
http://www.meldrum.co.uk/mhp/news/news_971113.html


It's quite surprising to see them actually fully launching as late as the end of 1997 really (although this is why it's great to have older sites like MHP still online!), as once digital teletext was on the horizon their interest in advancing the analogue service seemed to wane. Although they were still converting analogue transmitters to Nicam stereo right through into the 2000s too, so anything is possible.

It's odd that with it being this close to launch and tests presumably already underway though, they don't seem to have anything mentioning it on the engineering pages, as normally the engineering department were quite good at mentioning any sort of testing on here however minor. The most I could spot was page 697 where they mention experimental transmission of PDC codes had already started on BBC2. Perhaps part of the impetus for rolling out their regional text service at this point was as part of getting PDC in place for both channels when they had regional programme variations - indeed Andrew Wiseman's site has a very good page tracking PDC launch ( http://625.uk.com/pdc/ ) and mentions it starting on BBC1 on November 4th 1997.

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TV Whirl - Still covering UK idents, presentation, teletext and programmes after 18 years
Inspector Sands13,690 posts since 25 Aug 2004
Perhaps part of the impetus for rolling out their regional text service at this point was as part of getting PDC in place for both channels when they had regional programme variations - indeed Andrew Wiseman's site has a very good page tracking PDC launch ( http://625.uk.com/pdc/ ) and mentions it starting on BBC1 on November 4th 1997.

Maybe, although for the majority of regional opt outs the PDC codes would have been the same no matter what region you were in. If they were inserting regional pages though it might be that they were reorganising the lines in their VBI at the same time which might have been a good opportunity to add PDC
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tesandco gave kudos
Markymark6,881 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Perhaps part of the impetus for rolling out their regional text service at this point was as part of getting PDC in place for both channels when they had regional programme variations - indeed Andrew Wiseman's site has a very good page tracking PDC launch ( http://625.uk.com/pdc/ ) and mentions it starting on BBC1 on November 4th 1997.

Maybe, although for the majority of regional opt outs the PDC codes would have been the same no matter what region you were in. If they were inserting regional pages though it might be that they were reorganising the lines in their VBI at the same time which might have been a good opportunity to add PDC


I do recall someone from the BBC telling me that their PDC launch was delayed, because of the complications
regarding BBC Nations Pres, and making sure that their PDC commands 'over wrote' anything regarding network's. So, although a BBC developed system, C4 were the first UK broadcaster with an official service
Inspector Sands13,690 posts since 25 Aug 2004
No, a PDC code was just start time, channel and date. Though I'm fairly certain that if you set it for, say, 20:00 every Thursday on BBC1 that it would work.
Unless of course one week they scheduled it on a Friday, though if it was scheduled on a Thursday and then moved to the Friday (as happened a lot 20 years ago this week) then it would record on Friday (assuming that the broadcaster didn't change the code)
Markymark6,881 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
No, a PDC code was just start time, channel and date. Though I'm fairly certain that if you set it for, say, 20:00 every Thursday on BBC1 that it would work.
Unless of course one week they scheduled it on a Friday, though if it was scheduled on a Thursday and then moved to the Friday (as happened a lot 20 years ago this week) then it would record on Friday (assuming that the broadcaster didn't change the code)


The critical thing about PDC was the programme ID code was generated by the originally scheduled (i.e what was in Radio Times etc) start and finish times. If you tried to be helpful, and set the start time to the actual (for instance 19:28 for EastEnders) nothing would get recorded. Early (and late) start programmes were not a problem as long as you adhered to the published times. What some VCRs did, was to use the VideoPlus codes (that were printed in guides) as a method to set recordings. This led to a common belief that VideoPlus was PDC, (which it wasn't)
Inspector Sands13,690 posts since 25 Aug 2004
There was also Panasonic's alternative to VideoPlus, using barcodes which were printed in the RadioTimes, which I guess may have been integrated with PDC.

They wouldn't have been formally integrated with PDC, but as Mark say they still would have worked.

The same for VideoPlus+ as long as the time in the Pluscode matched what was the original start time then it would have worked. It was platform neutral in that respect, it didn't matter how your video was programmed.
Markymark6,881 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
There was also Panasonic's alternative to VideoPlus, using barcodes which were printed in the RadioTimes, which I guess may have been integrated with PDC.

They wouldn't have been formally integrated with PDC, but as Mark say they still would have worked.

The same for VideoPlus+ as long as the time in the Pluscode matched what was the original start time then it would have worked. It was platform neutral in that respect, it didn't matter how your video was programmed.


It's all coming back to me now, you had to also programme the scheduled finish time too for PDC to work. If you added any padding, the algorithm was messed up, and the programme would not record
Neil Jones5,334 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
That was it in a nutshell, use the advertised times (it was easier to set it with VideoPlus) and then if the programme was delayed for whatever reason (the football went into extra time, somebody significant died, some major event warranted extra coverage, etc) the recording of the programme would also be delayed.

I don't know if there was a time limit as such on PDC for when a programme was delayed so I wonder if say your programme was disposable enough and was due to air on the 5th but didn't air until the 12th the original recording would be delayed until the 12th. In theory. Though of course most people would have just cancelled the recording anyway I'd have thought unless they were away on holiday or something.
tesandco1,011 posts since 28 Sep 2001
Granada North West Today
For those who've not already read the page above, I can definitely recommend having a look over Andrew Wiseman's archive page on this. In particular, it's fascinating to see the variation in responses from the various ITV regions on their PDC implementation as a lot of messages were sent out to them in the late 90s/early 2000s. It ranges from engineers in some regions happy to blow their trumpet on the service, to others blaming no money being made available from bigger parent companies, to HTV's chief engineer getting very narky over anyone revealing their plans publicly.

http://625.uk.com/pdc/

It is a shame it cuts off after about 2003 mind. Given London's transmission seemed to be one of those the most behind in terms of full PDC implementation, it'd be interesting to know what happened (if anything!) as transmission continued to be centralised there in the following years before analogue closure.
TV Whirl - Still covering UK idents, presentation, teletext and programmes after 18 years