UK Tellies with Text, Also: TV CC in US

When last I was in England, our hotel television had a 'text’feature which had news and info on a ASCII-like screen on the TV. Why don’t we have this technology in the US?
I realize it’s old and not of much use now, what with the internet and all, but why wasn’t it here ever?
Does this have anything to do with the ‘Response’ button that used to be on my cable box (In Cincinnati, Warner Cable had big brown boxes + little settops with wired remotes - ancient technology, I assume)
And while sometimes I can get captioning with the setting Caption CH1 on my TV, what is CH2 for? How about the text feature? (Text CH1, Text CH2) Is that related to the above mentioned technology? Thanks in advance for your replies and any other questions you may need to ask, E-mail me:


I think the other captioning features sometimes give the captions in other languages, such as Spanish. But it is used only when the show’s producers think it is worth spending money on.

Close captioning is here in the US now. You used to have to buy a converter to read it, but I think newer TVs include it as a standard item. Useful to those who have trouble hearing, and in bars.

In addition, some stations use the second audio (SAP) for various functions, including descriptive captioning (describing actions for those who can’t see) and a second language. Our local PBS station runs National Weather Service forecasts on it.

I know about the captioning system and SAP, which never does any good, but what about the British/European text system?

Teletext was invented by the BBC in '77. After it became succesful in the UK it expanded to Europe - we all use the same TV format.

I don’t know why it never took off in the US - perhaps changing from a 625 line system (PAL) to your 525 (NTSC) was seen as an obstacle not worth overcoming…

SanibelMan - you questioned how useful it is now the Internet is so widely available.

I use all the time myself for up to the minute news, sports scores, TV Guide, weather, what’s on at which cinema etc.

With teletext there is also an option for subtitles for the deaf - similar to close captions. In short it’s very useful.

If your interested check out

this tells you all you could ever want to know and more.


When i was a lad,one of the local stations had a person superimposed in a corner,signing the morning news.Ain’t technology grand? Closed captioning can be fun,especially for live broadcasts,or done on a shoestring. Supposedly there was a documentary on WW2 aired several times before any one noticed that the Crowds of rabid Nazis were shouting “HI,Hitler.”

Bobinelli - I didn’t realize how much info there was, and how up-to-the-minute it was (I went to that site you recommended). I know what a pain it is to turn on my computer, login (3 times, 'cause the phone line’s bad), then finally get to a site to find - nothing new.

So. About the “Response” button on my old cable system - anyone seen one of these? Was it for a Teletext -like system that got scrapped in America? The cable equipment was from Warner Cable, and was 2 parts - one, a big brown box with a key in it (for parental safety or something) and either a connected big switchbutton wired remote, or a smaller, brown cable box that had a wireless remote. If that helps any… They did finally upgrade to a new system, complete with channel guide and piped - in music. And then we moved.

And so, if CH2 on captioning is for seperate languages, what on earth is Text for? it puts a big black box on screen, with no text, no captioning, and doesn’t seem to have a purpose. Anyone? Handy?

And, if that’s closed captioning, what would be open?