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Brekkie32,288 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
I always felt BBC Text failed to implement the transfer from Ceefax as well as Teletext, which quickly simplified their service to basically replicate the page numbers, and not just for indexes. That said though of course it has outlived Teletext by over a decade.
I preferred the internet when it had a sense of humour.
Neil Jones5,561 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
I always felt BBC Text failed to implement the transfer from Ceefax as well as Teletext, which quickly simplified their service to basically replicate the page numbers, and not just for indexes. That said though of course it has outlived Teletext by over a decade.


IIRC the page numbers weren't part of the original design/spec, those was tacked on later.
Maybe actually retaining Ceefax would have been a better idea, people obviously liked the retro look it had.
I know there were technical reasons for why it couldn't remain after digital switchover but its a shame it wasn't going to be possible.
IndigoTucker512 posts since 4 Jan 2003
The thing is that WST can be transmitted on digital systems -other countries still do. It can’t be transmitted over HDMI true as there aren’t any VBI, but the decoder could display it.
lhx1985236 posts since 23 Apr 2015
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Teletext is still, I believe, is used to deliver subtitles on DSAT for Sky (Though Freesat uses DVB-Subtitles). Therefore even SkyQ boxes must have some ability to decode WST.

Most non-sky sat boxes I have are able to render the teletext on screen and so eliminate the need for sending VBI to the TV. Heck, even Kodi can display teletext.

Shame the BBC didn't stick with it, it would probably have been able to grind on for another 10 years - at very little cost.
Last edited by lhx1985 on 16 September 2019 10:21pm
davidhorman2,253 posts since 8 Mar 2005
Channel Channel Islands
I suppose if it ain't broke don't fix it, but it's a bit sad that subtitling has never innovated since teletext. I remember an edition of See Hear - must be 10-20 years ago now! - which showed some examples of what they might be able to do - italics for emphasis at the very simplest, word animation for even more emphasis (okay, that might have been a bit much), little animations for certain sounds like breaking glass and so on.

There was also the tentative promise of sign language interpreter streams that could be switched on or off, though I suspect bandwidth, regions, and technical hurdles put paid to that pretty early on.
Neil Jones5,561 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
I believe Sky uses a different format to the rest of the BBC setups on other platforms for subtitles purposes, so I suppose it would effectively have to be a makeshift solution to bring them to Sky on demand. They want to do that, its been in the pipeline for a while.

But yes I forgot Teletext isn't supported over HDMI - sort of put the breaks on that idea.

BBC Red Button had (and probably still does have) a Page 888. Just redirected you to poke around in the device settings to get your subtitles.

IIRC we didn't adopt, was it Level 2 Teletext? Or Level 3? Sure I read somewhere there was an extra level up that Europe used that we just never took on - extra colours were one of the features as I think what we stuck with was 8 colours - and some other things to make it look pretty. It might have been backwards compatible for older sets?
noggin14,597 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Yes - Level 2 or 2.5 was used, and broadcast, for Pages from CEEFAX. People have successfully recovered and decoded the data from those pages.

Teletext soldiers on across Europe on DVB services in Germany, Scandinavia, and I think France, Italy and Spain. ZDF in Germany have a subtle Level 2 or 2.5 element or two - such as a different colour and rounded logo that can't be implemented with standard teletext.

As for why italics etc. haven't arrived for subtitles - this is because although DVB Subtitles are nice and clever bitmaps (like Blu-ray and DVD subtitles), the internal systems that route them around in HD-SDI video are largely still based on WST Teletext and so have the same colour and character limitations they always have (and Sky still broadcast subtitles in that format)