300. 302. 316. 101. 400. 220. These are numbers I’ll remember long after I’ve forgotten my old PIN or mobile numbers. Ceefax, the BBC’s text information service on analogue TV, is in its final days.
As each part of the country switches to digital TV, so the analogue Ceefax gets switched off too.
And if you’re wondering, ITV’s Teletext service ended in December 2009.
Even with a computer and an internet connection, I still often preferred Ceefax for its speed and convenience. Information was basic and graphics were rudimentary (or laughable now), but that was OK.
I could switch on the TV and find what I wanted, fast. Page 316 for the latest football scores, 400 for the weather, 101 for the news. Going over to the other side of the room to turn on my computer and wait for it to boot up was oh so slow in comparison.
I also fondly remember the music that went with the pages on live broadcasts! Like Ceefax, it was pretty easy-going. Why not listen to this Ceefax music as you read the rest of my Convo?
Does the digital text service live up to Ceefax?
Despite reminiscing the considerable charms of Ceefax, I don’t lament its demise. The internet is now so much richer, and our computers so much faster, that I don’t think it’s really needed anymore. Plus, with our tablets and smartphones, we can now access the information we want much more conveniently and in front of the telly.
I also don’t think Ceefax’s replacement, the BBC Text service on digital, is quite as useful as its ancestor. In fact, I rarely use it. There are too many competing options around that do what it does just that bit better.
It’s also not that fun to use. I certainly can’t see it receiving the same kind of nostalgia in the future – unless they bring back some blocky graphics and that music again!
Will you miss Ceefax? What were your favourite pages? And does its digital replacement live up to your expectations?