Exotic Escapes & Learning in Text Mode

After the previous teletext post, I found Teletext Holidays where you can browse current teletext travel ads online! Follow them on Twitter here for all your teletext holiday needs. A great service indeed, and I hope they pay me well for advertising their advertisements.

I like how the raw commercialism meets the blocky graphics. When you have 160 characters to set on a resolution of 23 x 39 characters in 8 colours, there is no room for fancy marketing. I doubt that current ad campaigns could be translated into teletext with much success. It just requires too many signifiers. Teletext fits better with a raw kind of product+price marketing. Have a look at Lektrolab’s teletext exhibition Microtel (2006) and all the advert-aesthetics in there aswell.

But teletext is also about news and education! Check out the Christian teletext edutainment by Bill Geers at his youtube-channel. And don’t miss the 10 episodes of Hands Up at this channel. Robots, cowboys and worms in hot air balloons, in the name of sign language!

Seriously, this is some very impressive work. I am not sure if this is all teletext. I mean, teletext is a lot more limited than the arbitrary use of colours in e.g. ANSI and PETSCII. Here you have to waste a character to change the back/foreground colour of the next char. Also, I don’t know how teletext animation works. Is it possible to broadcast longer animations than e.g. this one? Anyway, I guess they were not designed to be broadcast on teletext, because it doesn’t have sound. So, was teletext software really that good to animate with? Am I expecting an answer?

Below are two pieces from the Microtel exhibition. First by Videohome Training (Gijs and Marieke), and the second one by Drx (from Bodenständig 2000). If you want to make your own Teletext graphics, check Lektrolab’s tutorial.

If you wanna step up the obscurity yet another notch, get into the British teletext bureaucracy! First, try to understand how the different standards and providers and companies and channels worked in the 1990s. Then try to understand the present status of teletext, which seems to involve illegal text mode shout outs. Start here. You can see what people in Stoke-on-Trent think here (?!) and see a sentimental selection of highlights here (?!).

3 Responses to “Exotic Escapes & Learning in Text Mode”

  1. rosa Says:

    I remember you can only use a flicker in teletext. Not an animation. I was in the microtel exhibition too, btw. – it was a really really nice exhibition where not a lot of people came *it was almost empty as i remember*

  2. brytburken Says:

    “the end of teletext”

    “teletext is dead”

    “teletext is still dying”

    :(

  3. 4mat Says:

    I remember back in the ’80s Channel 4 in the UK used to show longer Teletext animations in the channel’s downtime during the day. (The service may have been Oracle or 4-Tel back then, I forget) The animations would be shown as introductions between their regular text pages, such as the TV schedule for that night. These were on a regular television broadcast though, rather than through the Teletext reciever.

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