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.


Success of Ceefax

By the time we get to the '90s, Ceefax decoders are standard in television sets and no longer an optional extra, and I suppose this encouraged people to look at it, as in fact they did. At its peak during the 1990s, over 22 million people were using Ceefax every week.

It was well respected for the quality of its journalism, particularly for the sports news. In spite of its limitations, it was a huge technical advance, because this was one of the earliest deliveries of digital information to the home, and led the way to the use of the internet for gaining information.

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