One of the coolest things on your TV before digital set-top boxes, on-demand movies and Freeview.

Teletext is basically a continuously updated news feed transmitted through your TV (in gaps in the signal), developed in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and being used worldwide.

Most notable for its limited number of characters, the general BBC Micro-ish look of the thing and the fact that you'd at times have to wait for several pages to load, Teletext doesn't crash under heavy user demand. Before the Internet, this was the way you got the footy scores. Memorably described as a pound-shop version of the Internet.

Pages have individual numbers, which can get memorable. 888 is the UK code to get Closed Captioning.

As TV becomes increasingly digital, these services are either becoming defunct or moving to a less enjoyable digital format. ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five ended their service on December 15, 2009, more than two years before the analogue cutoff.

Teletext Limited, the company responsible for the ITV and Channel Four services, had a handful of other businesses, including a holiday shop TV channel, which will remain open—and oddly, continue to use the Teletext brand.

Teletext never really took off in the US- CBS and NBC both made attempts, but failed. TBS had a service called Electra for a while in the 80s, but it was shut down due to lack of interest and funding (the other partners in the venture, Zenith Electronics and Taft Broadcasting had stopped making Teletext-capable TV sets and undergone corporate buyouts, respectively).


  • Ceefax (pronounced "See Facts") for The BBC, which ran from 1974 to 2012 - surviving until the last analogue transmitter was switched over to digital broadcasting.
  • ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five's Teletext, which ran from 1993 to (essentially) 2009.
    • Which replaced the older ORACLE system, which ran from 1978 to 1992.
    • And was home to Digitiser.
  • Ireland's main teletext service is Aertel, which has survived the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting—just.
  • Major Polish television stations still use this, but this gets little love from the production team.