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Channel 4 pre-1993 regional opt outs

Split from Favourite TV Breakdowns (April 2019)

TE
Technologist London London
Bbc Presfax used Teletext for transmission with a 82 character per row screen in the early 1990s which was emitted
With the Broadcast Centre playout the new system went to a Teletext display and stopped being just a next junction service ... which was not emitted
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
There was a Presfax style text service available to the ITV companies so they had the timings.

Yes as described earlier in this thread or another somewhere, it was teletext based and called Ident.

Same sort of idea as the BBCs Presfax, but that wasn't teletext based until the 2000s

There was space to put messages on it for such circumstances but a newsflash probably wouldn't have made much difference, they ran the ads when C4 told them to,


I suspect much the same as live programmes, (sport mostly) where the break times would have been subject to variation.

I do recall one story that C4 Pres asked TVS, who were providing coverage of a Party Conference that was
finishing 10 mins earlier than expected, to keep going until the scheduled finish time, because it was less of a faff than reprogramming the CATs/Ident system !

Back then, all that was scheduled to follow was a return to the C4 test card
IS
Inspector Sands
Bbc Presfax used Teletext for transmission with a 82 character per row screen in the early 1990s which was emitted

It used the VBI, it was nothing like teletext
SC
Si-Co Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
There was a Presfax style text service available to the ITV companies so they had the timings.

Yes as described earlier in this thread or another somewhere, it was teletext based and called Ident.

Same sort of idea as the BBCs Presfax, but that wasn't teletext based until the 2000s

There was space to put messages on it for such circumstances but a newsflash probably wouldn't have made much difference, they ran the ads when C4 told them to,


I do recall one story that C4 Pres asked TVS, who were providing coverage of a Party Conference that was
finishing 10 mins earlier than expected, to keep going until the scheduled finish time, because it was less of a faff than reprogramming the CATs/Ident system !

Back then, all that was scheduled to follow was a return to the C4 test card


That is surprising, as there were no commercial breaks or regional opts required during or after such a programme! It would have been fed out, along with the testcard, via the regional ITV stations, but they weren’t required to do anything until after the second start up!
Last edited by Si-Co on 18 October 2019 12:05pm
CEEFAX SUBTITLES BEGIN SHORTLY
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Si-Co posted:
Yes as described earlier in this thread or another somewhere, it was teletext based and called Ident.

Same sort of idea as the BBCs Presfax, but that wasn't teletext based until the 2000s

There was space to put messages on it for such circumstances but a newsflash probably wouldn't have made much difference, they ran the ads when C4 told them to,


I do recall one story that C4 Pres asked TVS, who were providing coverage of a Party Conference that was
finishing 10 mins earlier than expected, to keep going until the scheduled finish time, because it was less of a faff than reprogramming the CATs/Ident system !

Back then, all that was scheduled to follow was a return to the C4 test card


That is surprising, as there were no commercial breaks or regional opts required during or after such a programme! It would have been fed our, along with the testcard, via the regional ITV stations, but they weren’t required to do anything until after the second start up!


Yes, in fact I don't think there were any ad breaks in C4's conference coverage anyway !
BL
bluecortina
There was a Presfax style text service available to the ITV companies so they had the timings.

Yes as described earlier in this thread or another somewhere, it was teletext based and called Ident.

Same sort of idea as the BBCs Presfax, but that wasn't teletext based until the 2000s

There was space to put messages on it for such circumstances but a newsflash probably wouldn't have made much difference, they ran the ads when C4 told them to ,


Yes of course, but don’t forget some of the smaller ITV companies used the C4 ‘black box’ system to insert the ads with no manual intervention so C4 would have to be on the ball with regards to the regulations surrounding ad breaks and timings etc. It’s very possible that all the chap at the local ITV company stood in front of the comms playout machine had was a list of ‘what comms’ for a list of successive breaks. If the ad break changed - in terms of length, or was dropped altogether he wouldn’t know as he just had his list to work from. Never happened to me, but I was mindful of it. C4 was very conservative in it’s presentation which helped, I think if there was a news flash they would rather drop one of their promos for it than try and make additional space etc.
IS
Inspector Sands
Si-Co posted:

That is surprising, as there were no commercial breaks or regional opts required during or after such a programme! It would have been fed our, along with the testcard, via the regional ITV stations, but they weren’t required to do anything until after the second start up!

True, but CATS was Channel 4's automation, so would have still needed updating. Obviously amending timings is a regular thing that need doing, maybe they either had a problem or because there was just a live conference on maybe the staff present were less senior and not able to change the timings?
TE
Technologist London London
Bbc Presfax used Teletext for transmission with a 82 character per row screen in the early 1990s which was emitted

It used the VBI, it was nothing like teletext

The first presfax system which you typed in the info worked using some bytes in the vbi and displayed using a data terminal
The next system came in with The probel automation ( in NTA early 90s) used teletext data broadcasting packet 31 to send to decoders which had a 82 character display ...which was a analogue video signal and thus could be distributed easily
Then moving to the broadcast centre with Omnibus automation still used packet 31 but was a bit more intelligent and displayed using teletext display chips with SDI output.
The sending end also did PDC and packet 8/30/1 as well ...
Last edited by Technologist on 18 October 2019 11:15am
Inspector Sands, bilky asko and deejay gave kudos
RO
robertclark125 STV Central Reporting Scotland
If the regional ITv companies were inserting the adverts themselves, from their own pres suites, why, on ITV Schools on 4, did we see an on screen glitch before an STV opt out programme? If the ads were being broadcast from STV, surely the opt out was as well, so why an on screen glitch?
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I've seen anecdotes from Tony Currie suggesting that due to a lack of circuits it was operationally convenient to have Grampian play things out to STV and themselves rather than vice versa. That may explain it
Write that down in your copybook now.
SC
Si-Co Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
If the regional ITv companies were inserting the adverts themselves, from their own pres suites, why, on ITV Schools on 4, did we see an on screen glitch before an STV opt out programme? If the ads were being broadcast from STV, surely the opt out was as well, so why an on screen glitch?


To be honest, I don’t think the regional variations on ITV Schools on 4 were inserted in the same way as ads were. I’ve even heard they were all played out from Charlotte Street. STV’s variations were also seen on Grampian and, for the most part, Border - perhaps “Channel 4 STV“ output was routed directly to the BOR and GPN transmitters during schools time? Other than that was there a really a straightforward way to simulcast an opt out on all three versions of Channel 4?
CEEFAX SUBTITLES BEGIN SHORTLY
BM
BM11
What parts of the UK could not get channel four at it's launch. I can see on Wikipedia Huntshaw Cross was not apparently transmitting it to 1985. (Wiki also says after that plenty of aerials in Swansea become pointed towards it - the opposite to when I visited North Devon in 2008 and the channels were the Welsh ones.
Was any of Wales not covered by S4C?
Last edited by BM11 on 23 October 2019 10:45am - 2 times in total

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