Teletext was an early mainstream precursor to the web that became successful in the UK and France: hundreds of low-res pages a day streamed in the invisible overscan margins of the TV signal. It died with analog television; archivists are finding the original data can be recovered from VHS tapes.
Technology is changing that. The continuing boom in processor power means it’s now possible to feed 15 minutes of smudged VHS teletext data into a computer and have it relentlessly compare the pages as they flick by at the top of the picture, choosing to hold characters that are the same on multiple viewing (as they’re likely to be right) and keep trying for clearer information for characters that frequently change (as they’re likely to be wrong).
It's an interesting study in horsepower: it takes such "phenomenal processing power" to accurately and reliably scan VHS recordings of text that we're only now on the cusp of being able to do so.
That hundreds, even thousands of frames of each teletext page are required to OCR each one is also a powerful tribute to just how astoundingly awful VHS is.
Above, legendary punk trio Hüsker Dü meet Joan Rivers and perform on her Late Show in 1987. I have a special love for Hüsker Dü as they were my first club show, back in 1985 or so. (My first concert was Styx and, yes, that was amazing too.) Over the years, I’ve gotten to know […]
On January 16, 1985, BBC One was playing a classic Star Trek rerun when something weird and wonderful occurred. They might call it a “Temporary Fault” but Sulu knows it as… paradise. (ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)
Comedian and filmmaker Matthew Highton recreates classic TV show title sequences using only stock footage. The results remind me of the Seinfeld episode “The Bizarro Jerry.” Above, Highton’s take on Friends. Below, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, yes, Ducktales. (via Kottke)
After years of hearing a steady drumbeat about the necessity of surfing the web under the protection of a VPN, even the most technophobic among us are starting to come around. But even knowing the dangers one can face from cybercrooks phishing for information from unsuspecting victims online, those last holdouts still have some fears. […]
You may not realize it, but some of the biggest films in movie history have been edited using the same tools some of you use to cut your video of vacationing at Disney World. Giant movies from Oscar favorites The Social Network and Gone Girl to blockbusters like Avatar, Deadpool, and last year’s Terminator: Dark […]
Now that the initial furor and shortages have subsided, it’s probably not a bad time to start considering your long-term cleaning and disinfecting plans. Sure, that might seem anywhere from overly cautious to outright ridiculous, but the threat of COVID-19 appears poised to be present for a while and the need for quick travel clean-up […]