Caption Competition! (bit OT)

From: Hans Franke <>
Date: Thu Jan 16 12:05:01 2003

> Then come up with an amusing/apposite caption :)

> Bonus points for anyone who can identify the make/model of machine she's
> actually using. HINT: this photo was published circa. 1983, and is almost
> certainly British.

Hmm. To me the screen layout looks quite like a Teletext page.
I have no idea how this service was called in the UK (The name
Viewtext pops up, but I'm not shure). These are data pages,
transmitted via 'invisible' lines, 'between' or 'below' the
picture (As a bunch of other information also is). There are
1000 addressable main pages, transmitted in a continuos stream.
THe display controler waits just for the selected page, and
every time it comes around the diplay memory is refeshed. Due
this behaviour the system is also used to produce captions, by
displaying pages with just 2-3 lines of text and a transparent
background. Basicly every TV set is equipped with a decoder.
There are nifty controlers around (or at least have been, back
when TV Chipsets where less integrated), which can be used for
home projects.

Well, my guess is based on the screen layout. Especialy because
of the top line, which is the status line, holding the actual
page, and the right now passing page in the upper left, channel
ID, date and time in the upper right. Both are not part of the
page, but inserted from the controller - the later ones are taken
from a different line which hold date and time. In the 80s, it
was the cheapest way to get an atomic clock for your computer,
just decode the according line and you got a perfect usable ASCII
string :) Since this information is updated every picture (25
times a second) some comercial stations violate the standard
by sending scrolling advertisements instead of the time. It may
capture the readers eye, but I hate it. Anyway, the important
fact is that it is impossible to supress these fields (or it
would at least require a custom controller).

Now, back to the picture, what realy puzzles me is the keyboard.
The service is strict one way, you could only select a page, and
a regular remote is all you need.

Well, there have been ideas to make it some kind of interactive
media by using page sequences, where the remote can be used to
jump to a set of 4 predefined follow ups, coloured keys are usualy
used for that. So TV stations could offer simple multiple coice
games, also a 'unhide' command is available (and usualy assigned
to another button) to allot Question/answer games, where the
user would press the unhide button to reveal the answer.

Then there has been an atempt to transform it into a real online
media, where the user would send his request via a low data rate
connection on his phone, and his local cable company would insert
the requested page. Quite similar as some satelite internet services
do today. It died after some proof of concept installations, since
the data transmission is in band and part of the TV signal supplied
by the channel, and not the cable company.

No, the keyboard realy puzzles me.

Of course it could be the British equivalent of our (CEPT based
BTx system, a early online service to be used on a 1200/75
connection with pages, made in a way to be displayed on you
telly. But then the picture layout would be quite different.
That service hat a quite more apropriate set of graphic

Of course it could always be a mockup for such an online
service, using a Teletext page ...

Of course

P.S.: For the caption, I'd say
Loveletters, a full lenght movie after Rosamunde Pilcher :)

VCF Europa 4.0 am 03./04. Mai 2003 in Muenchen
Received on Thu Jan 16 2003 - 12:05:01 GMT

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