Teletext for Series60



This is very cool - from James over at the MMS Memo:

Teletext viewer for Nokia Series 60

I continue to be amazed by the quality and range of software I'm finding for my new Nokia 3650. But this teletext viewer from Nowire Smartphone has got to be one of the best yet. It's damn brilliant really!

There is already loads of excellent free information available on teletext channels all over the world and it's in a low res text format that is perfectly suitable for downloading and displaying on mobile devices. This is definitely one application to download.

This is *very* cool. I honestly haven't tried it yet, but I think it's a great service. I didn't realize you could get to the Teletext stuff via the internet. That's great.

Okay - and now a translation for the Americans. Teletext is HUGE in Europe. It's an internet for the everyman. Here's an example - last summer when the World Cup was being broadcast, the games were only being shown on satelite TV here in Spain, so about 99.999% of the population couldn't watch the games live, and there was no other coverage of it except late at night on one public channel. (Spanish games, of course, were broadcast live). I of course, being an internet junkie would naturally go to the net to find the latest scores and news, but if you're my father-in-law in a small town in the middle of La Mancha, how are you going to keep track? Teletext, of course. Almost every channel has a Teletext service with news, guides, calenders and other useful information. I can honestly say that I didn't *get* Teletext services until I saw him use it that way.

I'm not exactly sure how the data arrives to your TV (is it the same frequency that Microsoft's SPOT uses?), but it works sort of like this: When you flip to Teletext (with a button on your remote), you are presented to you as "pages" which are numbered from 1 to god knows, I've seen up to 999. Each page has either a menu or real information, and maybe an advertisement (which could be a link to another page with more info). The way you navigate is simply to type in the number of the page you want to go to, or sometimes the TVs and Remotes have a Next Page/Previous Page button and you can navigate that way. My TV even has 4 colored buttons which act as "quick keys" which are definable per page. So on the Sports News page, the red button will go to soccer, the blue button to latest news, the green button to cycling (or whatever's hip that time of year) and the yellow button might return you to the main news page.

The problem with Teletext is that it's painfully slow - at least on all the TVs I've tried it on. On my TV when I type in 201, for example, to go to whatever news is on page 201, a little number counter starts up in the top right corner and starts to count its way up to 201, but slowly. Maybe 2 numbers per second. Thus if you're going from page 4 to 500, it can take a minute or so before you arrive, literally. I really don't know if this is a TV thing, a memory thing (maybe TVs only come with like 32k of memory and needs to grab the pages?) or a trait of Teletext itself.

Anyways, it's a big thing. I read a while ago that a good percentage of Brits use Teletext to plan their holidays, and Jim just told me that the reason is because you can find some great last minute deals, so it's worth struggling through the system. Like I said, for the vast majority of people out there who don't have internet, this is a great way to get up-to-date info "online" and I've read about companies who've made a bunch of money by tapping into that.

Presenting all this on a Series60 phone, to me, is quite amusing but there's a ton of stuff out there for Teletext, so it's neat to be able to present it on your phone. And for someone like my father in law, who may be intimidated by Web Pages and all that on his phone, this would be a neat cross over app for him (and the zillions of others who use Teletext as well).


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