Before the dawn of the world wide web, teletext was the best way of keeping up to date with the latest news, sports scores and other information. The BBC’s Ceefax teletext service continued in the UK right up until analogue TV transmissions ceased in October 2012. We still miss its no-nonsense approach and blocky graphics, so we’re delighted that teletext has been revived by the Teefax project. Users can install the free software on a Raspberry Pi, connect its 3.5mm video output to a TV (via the SCART socket), then hit the teletext button on the remote control.
The full article can be found in The MagPi 51 and was written by Phil King.
Project founder Peter Kwan is a former teletext engineer who carried on working in the field as a hobby. “As the analogue TV network was being shut down, I was thinking about how I could generate my own teletext,” he recalls. With the idea of making a low-cost basic teletext inserter, Peter manufactured his own VBIT hardware and managed to get a full teletext service running on it. Initially, there was a practical use for the system. “There is a lot of hidden signalling in the teletext signal,” Peter reveals. “The BBC uses a system called Presfax which hides schedule information in databroadcast packets. They also have special signals that let London take over the whole network in an emergency.” In addition, betting chains use control signals to switch TV channels or mute audio in their shops, while European broadcasters use opt-out signals to insert local adverts. “These all need testing and VBIT was a low-cost and flexible way of generating these signals.”
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