Austext to end

austextAustext, the teletext service with news, finance information, weather, lottery results, and a TV guide available with the flick of a button, will finish at the end of September.

Operated by the Seven Network, it started providing test Teletext services in 1977, with live services commencing in 1982 in Brisbane and Sydney.

The free service, based in Brisbane, is still provided using the original 1970’s technology, but Seven has cited upgrade expenses, and the availability of the information on the internet, as reason for winding down the service.

In a statement, the service advised: “Seven is aware that Austext has many loyal supporters and we know that many of you will miss the Austext service. We sincerely regret any inconvenience the cessation of this service may cause and we have endeavoured to provide you with as much notice as possible.”

Austext ends on September 30th.

Closed Captioning Services will be unaffected and continue to be available.

39 Comments:

  1. my wife and i are very sorry to see it go we had lot off good times with austext and so did the kids as they grew up with this wonderful sevice

  2. Nooo! This is terrible news. I use it all the time to check the weather each day and often check it for sports results. My partner also find its very useful and much quicker than checking the internet. What a shame.

  3. i used to love watching the page that shows you where the lightning had struck during storms, but that disappeared a few years ago so i stopped using it. lots of stuff has been gradually disappearing so it is no surprise they are turning it off.

  4. I am really sad to read that Austext will be closed in a matter of weeks. I do not understand the decision as the service still has great potential despite the emergence of the internet.

    Look at New Zealand’s TVNZ Teletext Service – a great model which Austext/SevenTel/SevenText once was.

    Oh I remember the rural pages, the kids pages, finance share quotes and indices, the world clock and the Australian Airlines and BCC cinema feeds – not to mention the special services of a direct feed from Bathu Electoral Commission. When Christmas Day come around each year, all the pages carried the simple message ‘Merry Christmas from the Staff at Austext – No Updates for Today’. Even Grundig video recorders come on to the Australian market which were programmed from the Austext TV program guides (for all networks back then).

    I believe that the reconfiguration of Austext (two years ago) brought about the closure of the BTQ operation then – with service ‘automated’ out of ATN Sydney from a direct feed from Yahoo7 and the weather bureau. At that time, the Austext ‘girls’ in Brisbane were no more – gone went the greeting pages, on this day in history, jokes etc etc. Seven’s decision to axe Teletext is disappointing but I guess we saw it coming.

    Having been a viewer for twenty years and also seen the demise of the CTC7’s Teletext Service, the day has finally come – no more 100 index page to greet us…….RIP Austext.

    Surely Seven could have kept this service operating!!!!!

  5. As Luke said the service kind of died after the TAB left and the reason they left is they now have there own service called Skytext that goes through the Sky Channel Satellite… Good to know the technology will live on…altho im sure we arent far away from Internet enabled TV Screens for that very purpose.

  6. Hi Luke W,

    The TAB’s use TABTEXT, separate to AUSTEXT, which is carried by SKY CHANNEL Pub’s and Clubs satellite service. That will continue only in TAB’s and Pubs and Clubs it seems. MARKETCAST which was the old Stock Exchange ‘subscription’ teletext ceased early this year on SBS, that is gone.

    WA TAB info teletext will probably still be carried by STW9 in Perth, I have not heard if this is still active? Apart from that there are no other public teletext services in operation to my knowledge. Seven (page700-701), Nine (Telnet) and ABC (page 222, 322) use internal teletext to notify relay stations the active network schedule. These ‘stacks’ are not available to the general public as they are blanked out prior to reaching the local TV transmitter.

    There was a time when most stations in Australia used to have a teletext service of some descriptiopn. The AUSTEXT service, formelry called SEVENTEL in Brisbane and SEVENTEXT in Sydney was the most relayed around the nation. NINE Sydney, TEN Sydney, TVQ Brisbane I recall had local services, And the ABC used the French Florical standard on a test basis for a number of years in Sydney and Melbourne.

    RIP Teletext.

  7. I only started using Austext in 2005 when I got access to a teletext enabled tv and i used it for checking the latest news, tv guide, weather, captions and occasional use of other features. So i missed out on ever seeing the financial market, world times and kids pages which were gone by then. Later that year due to ‘legal’ issues the tv guide was cut back to only having the Seven metro guides (as is now). I wonder why they didnt keep the Seven Queensland guide though? Anyway i got a new mobile earlier this year and i use it for the latest news using rss feeds (including from this website) and with this I guess I just largely stopped using the news pages for info. Lately I noticed the weather forecasts being scaled back on many centres so I now have to use the Sydney page for a 5 day forecast. Though I still use it to this day for weather and the tv guide variations across the markets. For the weather I would take Austext over internet anyday because it has whatever you need on the one page. It will be sad to see a piece of history being shut down but at least Seven aren’t just yanking it off and are letting it run abit longer.

  8. @ Kuttyswood – the Closed Captions on PayTV are better, look like dvd subtitles and they show up in the weirdest places (did you know the music video to Beat It is close captioned?!)

    Austext was a great novelty that lost it’s lustre about two seconds after I got Internet access, vale I guess…

  9. I’m surprised it was still around. Thinking back I used to use this all the time before the internet. I guess it’s something that the need for it just disappeared and I didn’t even notice. Probably a combination of the internet and foxtel with 24hour news.

  10. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.. Like Luke, i’d also use Teletext when i did not feel like turning on the computer and using the internet to view information – be it a quick news fix, or to check out the weather temperature.

    In saying that i only started to use the service on a frequent basis, close to a year ago, i’ll miss the novelty of being able to use it.

  11. In the early 1990s, Austext was the only source of getting news and information from around Australia and around the world. Remember the old catalogues from Brashs and Chandlers where Austext was the selling point for big screen TV sets? When my father bought a 29″ TV with Austext to replace the 15″ TV in the lounge in 1994 (it is still in use 15 years later!) I was sooo happy.
    But Austext had its limitations too. It was only updated up to 6pm AEST or when each news section (national, world, sport) filled up to 15 pages, whichever was earlier. It was only 2 years when Seven adopted rolling news from AAP that the news section was finally getting constantly updated all day. But the big blow came even earlier when the TAB stopped providing odds and results to Seven in around 2003, that Austext started becoming irrelevant. Now I seldomly use Austext on my TV.
    I agree with Kuttsywood that more money should be put in to provide better subtitles and live captioning for programs.
    P.S. The BBC announced last year that Ceefax, the UK’s teletext service, would be phased out when analogue TV is shut down in 2012.

  12. I used to use Teletext to grab information without having to turn on my computer to use the internet. Then I got Foxtel and I could get info on demand there. And now I have a mobile phone capable of providing me the latest info in just a few seconds, I began to not notice Teletext. I also think el-cheapo digiboxes are to blame as well, as the teletext setup on some of them is awful. But I just thought of something, all the TAB’s around the country are now screwed!, as they use Austext racing pages for their televisions for race results and info.

  13. What? You mean there’s no longer a place in this world for garishly coloured, constantly blinking, half-garbled, poorly spelled, archaic technology? I am shocked!

    A few years ago, my housemate at the time tried to impress me with his Teletext enabled TV. This was five years into my Web Design career. Sorry, but no cigar.

  14. I would have thought Seven poured money into a digital future, for Austext.

    The closed captioning won’t go, because it is easier to carry on a digital feed, as the “subtitles” can actually be made part of the feed. Hopefully money can be poured in to make subtitles better for digital TV viewers, as currently, they look blocky, like analogue.

  15. Glenn Petrie

    I am interested in times around the world, and there used to be an AusText page dedicated to World Time. About two years ago, I found out that this page disappeared, so I stopped using AusText. Now one of my buttons on my TV remote will be useless.

  16. No big surprise here. I’ve recently gone into teletext to see what’s there and the content seemed to be pretty thin. In the days before the internet this was fantastic but it’s all been well and truly superseded now. RIP Teletext.

  17. Neon Kitten

    My 80+ year-old parents, who don’t have any interest in the internet and have complained for a long time now about the gradual removal of information from Austext, won’t be entirely surprised at this.

    It’s been perfectly clear they’ve been shutting the service down gradually for a couple of years now.

    But Seven, seriously. “Upgrade expenses”?

    Upgrade to what, exactly? Teletext is teletext. There is no next level. It’s ’70s technology that has barely changed since it was invented. Indeed, when I used to use Telecom Australia’s rip-off (surprise!) communication service “Viatel” back in the pre-internet days, it looked exactly like Teletext does now. Same tech, basically.

    Hope they find new jobs for those few (one, maybe?) remaining lonely Austext employee(s) in Brisbane… 🙂

  18. A lost chance by Seven here.
    I regularly use Austext service to update myself with news,sport,weather from all over the world without the need to logon to the net, listen to radio or watch the main news service.Having the weather for all over Victoria is handy too – from Mt Dandenong to Ballarat you get to know what is brewing.
    It is extremely handy and if something of interest piques my interest, I know the yahoo7 website will have more info.Furthermore the TV guide gives upto date info for Seven statewide.
    Surely they could have found sponsors to keep this service going.
    Seven, you dropped the ball this time and missed a big chance to giv something back to the viewing public..

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