Teletext Blocktober (and 2020 block party)

Teletext being the videotex service carried over the TV signal and Blocktober being a celebration of the possibilities of this 25x40 character display…

There’s an associated teletext service too, accessible in your browser, called Chunkytext:

Earlier this year, the Blockdown Block Party.

Teletext rose to popularity (in the UK anyhow) at much the same time as home computing did. Acorn’s BBC Micro used a Philips 5050 teletext display chip for its memory-frugal Mode 7, so we had - and some of us still have - several ways to enjoy this early digital medium. I’m sure some will even have memorised the control codes.

At a slightly later point, Telesoftware was somewhat portable software transmitted in a mildly encoded form in a few specific Teletext pages. I see there’s a playlist with a demonstration:

A favourite teletext page for me was the Engineering Test Page, which you can see here along with many other captured historical pages from Ceefax and Oracle.

Oh, and there’s a Teletext Archaeologist:

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The same timeline in Finland, and still being used:


The online Teletext site of the Austrian national broadcaster, ORF, is still active and features two formats, once HTML-ified and smartphone-friendly (we’re missing the blocky appearance):

and once closer to the original (still featuring active links):

PS, on Chunkytext: I love how the Teletext Viewer is “waiting” for the pages to come around!

It glitches in FF-78.3.0esr (64-bit) on Debian10/AMD64:

…in Chromium on the same system it’s fine.

Works for me on FF/MacOS (81.0.2), so it’s not a general FF issue.
The characters are rendered from an embedded image ( of 12 x 17,000 pixels, which is copied into a canvas of the same dimensions. Might be an issue with this image buffer and/or related memory management.

Here’s a stream recording:

and here’s the twitch (for comments/chat):