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Revolving headlines on Digital Text

Tristram Biggs | 12:06 UK time, Thursday, 30 April 2009

This week sees the launch of an important iteration to the BBC's Digital Text service on Freeview - revolving headlines at the top level.  We actually implemented the same update on the Sky platform back in March, but wanted to wait before telling everyone until we had launched it on Freeview - meaning more than 85% of Digital TV users in the UK benefit.

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The project really marks another step in our march to Digital Switch Over (DSO), the government-backed initiative to convert the UK to a digital only TV broadcast infrastructure.  DSO will mean the eventual demise of Ceefax for the whole country by 2012, and one of our long term projects is to manage the transition of millions of Ceefax users to the BBC's Digital Text service.

DSO has meant the introduction of some new content to the Red Button service, including Flight Arrivals.  But it also means migrating some Ceefax functionality to Red Button too, in this case an element of dynamism into the top level that we felt was missing.

Now, on pressing red, a viewer watching any BBC channel can automatically see the latest News, Business, Sport and Entertainment headlines, as well as (where applicable) Weather warnings - without navigating to the individual indexes to find them.  Just as they've been able to do on Ceefax for years.  Sometimes moving into the future involves looking to the past.

Tristram Biggs is Executive Product Manager for TV Platforms in FM&T Journalism.

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