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Teletext

Most tapes would have the head-switching gap in the middle of the Teletext, which can occupy lines 11 to 18, IIRC. I think KSL transmitted some test signals on 17 and 18, then VIR on 19. 20 and 21 were Closed-Captioning.
 
What lines did later teletext use then? I was able to get teletext on an old VHS tape, that had a recording of the "American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special" off of ABC, by way of KMBC-TV in Kansas City, MO, ca. 1991, to working, which I have uploaded a demonstration of here.
 
What lines did later teletext use then? I was able to get teletext on an old VHS tape, that had a recording of the "American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special" off of ABC, by way of KMBC-TV in Kansas City, MO, ca. 1991, to working, which I have uploaded a demonstration of here.
That's not teletext, but rather the alternate channels of closed captioning. Teletext was full screen and much more elaborate.
 
At one time I had a VHS recording of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation from ABC that I found out had something similar on Text 1 but it took up the entire screen. I've never found anything else like that on a VHS tape since then, even with other ABC programming from that period.

I guess the big question is would a modern HDTV pick those up?
 
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It may have been just a blank (black background) text screen from the closed captioning.
Plenty of times, when airing a syndicated show that was recorded at ABC, I would get an angry phone call from someone who thought we were "censoring Oprah".
 
It may have been just a blank (black background) text screen from the closed captioning.
Plenty of times, when airing a syndicated show that was recorded at ABC, I would get an angry phone call from someone who thought we were "censoring Oprah".

I can remember seeing the blank text screen during live broadcasts like news or sports more than recorded programming. I had wondered if that might be connected to times when the station or network was using the Teleprompter.
 
Teletext was extremely rare here in the States. I had no clue KSL-TV did it. I know KTVU in SLC had teletext and so did KOMO-TV in Seattle. I remember a station in DC or Baltimore that had it as well. That’s all I am aware of...

The fact that KSL made money off it is surprising. I know Channel 4 in the UK had ads on their teletext for a few years, but they were ads on a fully-public available service (not a subscription service).

Anybody have other teletext stations?
 
KSL was the first station in the U.S. to broadcast Teletext. Later, CBS began network broadcasts of Teletext, assuming an affiliate chose to pass the signal. You may be thinking of KUTV, which was bought by CBS and was then an O&O.
KSL never really made a profit off it. I think the ads were just a spiff for certain clients. In the late 80's, knowing that most people were using it just for stock market data, we asked for a small fee (I think it was a flat $15 a year). Only a few people paid.
When the Norpak encoder/inserter died, the service was discontinued, and the one paying customer was given his money back.
 
That's not teletext, but rather the alternate channels of closed captioning. Teletext was full screen and much more elaborate.
Oh, ok. I've heard of it being referred to as "teletext", somewhere, & also as "Text 1 & 2" (Probably to differentiate it from closed captioning.).
 
Had a Zenith Digital System 3 back in the late 1980s, and was a cable subscriber with WTBS in Atlanta as a channel carrying teletext. To me it was like having the very early Internet, as you could browse news, sports scores, weather, financial, etc. I believe this was operated by Taft Broadcasting at the time. I also recall trucking companies used it as a bulletin board for needing or picking up loads for shipping. Eventually it was discontinued as other technologies became available, including the internet.
 
I’m late to this thread, but the subject of teletext has interested me for a while. anotherguy linked to Ben Minotte’s Oddity Archive piece on teletext, which is good. I saw his his presentation on KeyFax and the BBC’s CeeFax back in 2015. It’s a good general history.

So I’m still a little confused by the subject. I’ve think of at least four different things when I see text on TV.

I always associated “teletext” with the KeyFax-type programming. I have a vague memory of seeing it on cable, on WTBS or some similar station. The recordings of KSL I’ve always thought of as closed-captioning; something similar to TTY - which I know is, technically, “teletype.” Those two systems I considered different from the TV Guide that scrolled on some designated cable channels. And then there’s the annoying tickers that distract from every news and sporting event.

So is there really much of a difference in these systems beyond the individual service each one provided?
 
I worked for KeyFax back in the day. It was a system where you bought a (very large) set top box with a keyboard that plugged into a phone line and dialed up a mainframe computer. From there, you could select news headlines, sports, etc., even some rudimentary online banking. So it was more interactive than just watching a scroll on a TV signal.
 
KSL'S TELETEXT OFFERINGS ARE PROVING PROFITABLE<BR>

^-- There, fixed the link for you.

You would be right to be a little confused. There were at least three competing analogue teletext protocols used in the Americas, all of which failled to gain traction because (as usual) the market couldn't agree on a standard. The one Route66Fan demonstrated was simply a one-way, non-interactive linear broadcast based on an extension of the EIA-608 closed captioning standard, therefore it was the most primitive of the systems. That one's responsible for the big black box that covers the lower half of your TV picture but usually does nothing. In the late 1980s, Capital Cities/ABC, PBS (mostly through KCET, WGBH and Kentucky Educational Television) and the US Department of Education had formed a public service alliance known as Project Literacy United States (or "PLUS") to promote adult literacy.* Captioning's potential as a tool to support literacy had already started to be recognised, and was being promoted by the two networks during the latter half of the 80s as an educational technology. The alliance promoted its use as such in homes and schools. As a result of this, ABC's "other" "PLUS" component (Programme Listings Update Service) existed simultaneously, intended as a supplement to closed captioning for the hearing impaired by broadcasting regularly updated listings of network shows including captioning over text channels 1 and 2. Old VHS tapes recorded from ABC during network hours in the 1980s and early 1990s will have historic listings in this format, and I think it was also used during local programming in some places for stock market updates and regional weather forecasts. Later on, Microdump's long-gone Web TV for Windows product used it in text mode 3, to send URLs for Web sites containing supplemental material relevant to the specific programme. It was also known to be used by networks to send internal messages to affiliates and for leased data services. It is probably in active use nowhere today.

World Standard Teletext (WST) originated at the BBC in the 1970s and was implemented in its original 625/50 format by just about everybody. It has a 525/60 variant and was the system promoted by Zenith and which premiered over KSL. TBS used it for its nationwide "Electra" and "Cabletext" (a.k.a. "Tempo") teletext magazines. KTTV Metrotext and WFLD Keyfax used WST. It was the closest thing to true European teletext that existed here because that's literally what it was, adapted to fit the limitations of system M. WST's big black box that does nothing fills up the entire screen. WST could be conveyed via dial-up networking, making it suitable for computer use, and indeed existed in the UK and France as Prestel and Minitel, respectively. This is likely what Havlik is referring to, assuming Keyfax simulcast on a dial-up node, which it very well could have done. A few hobby bulletin board systems (remember those?) also used WST into the early 20-ohs. Broadcast WST does not support two-way communication though it does have a rudimentary form of interactivity.

Meanwhile, CBS, always endeavouring to be the Apple Computer of television broadcasting by championing overcomplicated and hard-to-source technological kludges as the Revolutionary Next Big Thing, dabbled with Telidon's and AT$T's obscure North American Broadcast Teletext Specification (NABTS), based on the French Antiope protocol. The system was really impressive for its time, including vector graphics and full interactivity. Ma Bell had a miserable time convincing broadcasters and TV manufacturers to buy into her extremely expensive system, though CBS broadcast their "Extravision" teletext service using NABTS briefly in the 1980s. Just like CBS' mechanical colour system of the 50s, the product ultimately was a total market flop. NABTS was later developed into the North American Presentation Level Protocol Specification (NAPLPS) after Telidon jumped ship. In that form it enjoyed some success as a platform for dial-up computer services like the original version of Prodigy.

As far as recording goes the form you would be most likely to encounter on videocassettes is the first one, since it's close enough to line 21 that it gets played back along with regular closed-captioned data. In 625/50 areas like the UK**, WST broadcasts are known to have been recorded on (and decades later, successfully retrieved from) SVHS tapes due to their higher resolution (and maybe even Beta tapes, for that matter), though how likely that would have been in system M-land remains yet to be determined. There may well be deteriorating old Betamax and SVHS carts floating around out there with issues of "Electra" and "Tempo", or Keyfax, or Metrotext hidden away on them that nobody's yet thought to examine or analyse. Tapes with usable recordings of NABTS broadcasts probably number in the low single digits (if it was even recordable at all) and functioning decoders for it today probably number slightly fewer than zero.

* A TIMES PUBLIC SERVICE REPORT : ABC/PBS Project Literacy U.S.
** mb21 - The Teletext Museum
 
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Now here's something I never knew existed. In the late 80s after nightly signoff KATU ran a "pages from Ceefax" thing during the very early hours. This doesn't appear to be WST in fact I doubt they even had "real" teletext at all; it was probably just an Amiga that was subscribed to some wire service (apparently called "UPDATE") and had software to concatenate it into a text loop for broadcast.

KATU Newswire Screen — October 16, 1985 – For Portlanders Only

Also of note, in the mid-90s KATU ran a BBS called "KATU Online" for a short while before their actual HTTP site was ready. Look at the opening shot of the commercial here: it would appear it was some sort of NAPLPS service from the graphics. (Most conventional BBS of the time could display primitive "graphics" of the standard ASCII charset, but NAPLPS was as I am aware the only thing that could display legit vector graphics.)

KATU Super Bowl Promo Commercials — 1995 – For Portlanders Only

I never got to use the service myself. By the time I finally had access to a PC with a modem about a year later "KATU Online" was long gone into HTTP-land. In fact I remember calling 503 2314227 once on it and got Pat Fleet instead of a carrier. I did use Fort Vancouver Regional Library's DIALPAC public X-25 (?) service heavily though throughout the late 90s and well into the 20-ohs -- it had Dynix so I would sometimes spend hours tying up the phone line browsing its collection of print articles. (360 696-4061/8N1 and later telnet columbia.fvrl.org 7900, but don't ask me to tell you what I had for dinner last night.)
 
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KOMO-4 in Seattle ran newswire overnight in the early '80s as well, but it was gone by 1985 or 1986, cutting the transmitter at sign-off time instead. If I recall, soft music played overnight (and I think it was from their 1000 AM).
I can easily pick up the closed-captioning demo text ("thanks for watching this demonstration of ABC closed-captioned television", etc.) on any home-recorded ABC tape from about 1987 to 1995, and on CC1, the closed-captioning of said program if applicable. But my old tube TV does not have a TEXT option.
I've got so many tapes of TBS movies but do not have the ability to check for their Teletext service, and I don't know if the original VCR was able to reproduce the teletext signals.
 
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