Teletext, UK web precursor, dies with analog signals

The completion of Britain's move to digital television means the end of its earliest distinctively digital TV service. Ceefax, the teletext service launched in 1974, vanishes with the analog TV signals that carry it.

After service to millions of Londoners ended yesterday, the only regions still able to access the service are Kent and Tyneside.

Teletext was originally devised as a closed captioning system for the hard-of-hearing. But it soon grew to offer on-demand news, sports scores and weather reports to a generation of Britons.

Though far more limited than BBS services—all users can do is punch in page numbers and wait a second or five for the cycling datastream to get to it—operators made the most of it, with Choose Your Own Adventure-style games and pixelated artwork among the attractions. Unlike the early internet, all you needed was a modern TV set. The service was also free of charge in an age when U.K. phone calls, and therefore Internet access, was metered by the minute.

At the BBC, Matthew Engel offers a final love letter. The Telegraph's Emma Barnett offers 10 things she'll miss the most.