This Day in History: 1974-09-23

The world’s first teletext service – Ceefax – is formally launched by the BBC. Test transmissions had already been taking place since 1972. Soon after the BBC had developed Ceefax, the IBA created a similar, though incompatible system called ORACLE. In 1976, The BBC and IBA agreed a new standard, known as World System Teletext.

Although sales of suitably equipped TV sets were slow in the early years, teletext would become a familiar sight in many households by the late-1980s. Although the original teletext format was initially carried on the digital versions of the main BBC channels, it was discontinued on digital platforms in the early 2000s, and replaced by a new system – MHEG-5.

However, the familiar 1970s system continued on analogue TV (in spite of various attempts at enhancing the technology over the years) until its closure on 23rd October 2012, when the final UK analogue TV services were shut down.