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Unified ORACLE/CEEFAX proposed

In 1974, the BBC launched the world's first teletext system.

New Electronics Archive: April 1974

In 1974, the BBC launched the world's first teletext system. Originally designed to provide televisual subtitles for the deaf, Ceefax was also placed in late night/early morning gaps inbetween programmes. Before the days of the internet, it was primarily the source for breaking news, sport and weather updates. At large, it still operates the same formula today.

In the same year that Ceefax launched, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) developed a rival system called Oracle. After a series of technical discussions, the two eventually combined in 1976 and established the World System Teletext, which is still used as the standard for teletext throughout Europe today.

Although such systems were expected to die a painful death with the digital takeover, they are, surprisingly, still going strong. It seems the humble analogue system is one throwback to the past that even the internet can't stamp out.

Laura Hopperton

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