BBC to end Red Button digital text

BBC to end Red Button digital text

Postby dutchman » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:09 pm

The BBC has announced it's ending its news and information service via the red button

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The broadcaster has confirmed a report in The Sunday Telegraph that its digital text service, a replacement for original teletext service Ceefax, will close in early 2020.

Ceefax was phased out during digital switchover between 2008 and 2012.

In recent years, the information on the red button digital text service largely consisted of the first couple of paragraphs of articles published on the BBC News and Sport websites, with much of the former Ceefax content that was originally included in the early years of digital text having been phased out.

As more and more users choose to inform themselves via the internet, through smart TV apps and social media feeds, demand for the red button text service continues to fall. Ten years ago, the last remaining commercial text operator, Teletext Ltd, closed its service as the internet made its service commercially unviable.

The technology that underpins the Red Button digital text service is itself being phased out.

BBC Red Button text uses the MHEG5 standard, which has been used as the basis of text and interactive services on many digital TV services in the UK over the past twenty years.

But newer smart TVs and connected boxes now support HbbTV or hybrid broadcast broadband television. And some newer models have even dropped full support of MHEG5, favouring HbbTV.

Since 2012, the BBC has offered two main versions of its Red Button service - the traditional digital text version, based on MHEG5, and a connected red button service, later rebranded "Red Button+", which is now being based on HbbTV.

In 2016, the BBC first announced its intent to move away from MHEG5 in favour of HbbTV. Funding constraints means there's little leeway to continue operating the two services side-by-side.

The connected version of the service will remain available, allowing smart TVs and connected TVs to link up with content from the BBC News, Sport and iPlayer apps.

How do I tell which version of the Red Button I'm using?

If pressing red results in a screen looking like the one shown at the top of this article, you are using the 'original' MHEG5-based service that is being discontinued.

The connected Red Button+ service looks like this (picture credit - BBC):
Image

This service, which pulls content from the BBC News, BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer apps and is based on HbbTV is staying on-air.

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Re: BBC to end Red Button digital text

Postby rebbonk » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:46 pm

I don't think I've ever used it. :?:
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Re: BBC to end Red Button digital text

Postby dutchman » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:30 pm

It was rubbish compared to Teletext. It took forever to load and didn't work half the time.

I wonder if this means we'll lose the hidden test card feature on Channel 250 as well? :roll:
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