Test Cards and Ceefax

Test Cards and Ceefax

An interview with Edwin Parsons a BBC preservation expert

Edwin Parsons, a preservation expert from the BBC's Archives, explains why the test cards and Ceefax matter more than you might think.


What is a Test Card?

What is a test card? Yes, very good question. Originally it literally was a card, a photograph with a camera pointing at it. And hence the name test cards. When a television was installed in the home, the engineer would turn the set on and look at the test card to see that it was properly tuned in, properly focused and had the right sort of brightness and contrast. Test card would have been on our screens every day, even Saturdays and Sundays, when there were no programmes on, and was likely to have been eight hours a day.

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