Teletext - Technology - Data Transmission

Data Transmission

A standard PAL signal contains 625 lines of video data per screen, broken into two "fields" containing half the lines of the whole image, divided as every odd line, then every even line number. Lines near the top of the screen are used to synchronize the display to the signal, and are not seen on-screen. CEPT1 hides the data in these lines, where they are not visible, using lines 6–22 on the first field and 318–335 on the second field. The system does not have to use all of these lines; a unique pattern of bits allows the decoder to identify which lines contain data. Some teletext services use a great number of lines, others, for reasons of bandwidth and technical issues, use fewer.

Teletext in the PAL B system can make use the VBI lines 6–22 in first half image and 318–334 in the other to transmit 360 data bits including clock run-in and framing code during the active video period at a rate of 6.9375 Mbit/s 25 ppm using binary NRZ line coding. The amplitude for a "0" is black level ±2% and a "1" is 66±6% of the difference between black and peak white level. The clock run in consist of 8 times of "10" and the framing code is "11100100". The two last bits of the clock-run in shall start within 12+0.4
−1.0 µs from the negative flank of the line synchronization pulse.

The 6.9375 Mbit/s rate is 444 × nominal fH, i.e. the TV line frequency. Thus 625 * 25 * 444 = 6 937 500 Hz. Each bit will then be 144 ns long. The bandwidth amplitude is 50% at 3.5 MHz and 0% at 6 MHz. If the horizontal sync pulse during the vertical synchronization starts in the middle of horizontal scan line. Then first interlace frame will be sent, otherwise if vertical synchronization let the full video line complete the second interlace frame is sent.

Bits are transmitted LSB first, MSB last. For protection against transmission errors, packet address (page number) uses hamming code 8/4. And most data bytes uses odd parity protection. For some control data hamming 24/18 is used.

Teletext variations
System Line numbers Bit rate
Waveform Encoding Bits per line Reference
PAL A 7–18 6.203 NRZ Sine squared pulse Binary NRZ 320
NTSC B 10–18 5.727 Symmetrical about 1/2 bit rate Binary NRZ 296
PAL B* 7–18 (6–22) 6.938 Symmetrical about 1/2 bit rate Binary NRZ 360
NTSC C 10–18 5.727 Raised cosine 100% roll-off Binary NRZ 288
PAL C 10–18 5.734 Raised cosine 100% roll-off Binary NRZ 288
NTSC D 10–18 5.727 Controlled cosine roll-off of 0.6 Binary NRZ 296
PAL D 10–18 5.642 100% cosine roll-off Binary NRZ 296

(Usage: A – France ; B – World ; C – NABTS ; D – Japan)

In the case of the Ceefax and ORACLE systems and their successors in the UK, the teletext signal is transmitted as part of the ordinary analogue TV signal but concealed from view in the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI) television lines which do not carry picture information. The teletext signal is digitally coded as 45-byte packets, so the resulting rate is 7,175 bits per second per used lines (41 7-bit 'bytes' per line, on each of 25 frames per second).

A teletext page comprises one or more frames, each containing a screen-full of text. The pages are sent out one after the other in a continual loop. When the user requests a particular page the decoder simply waits for it to be sent, and then captures it for display. In order to keep the delays reasonably short, services typically only transmit a few hundred frames in total. Even with this limited number, waits can be up to 30 seconds, although teletext broadcasters can control the speed and priority with which various pages are broadcast.

Modern television sets, however, usually have a built-in memory, often for a few thousand different pages. This way, the teletext decoder captures every page sent out and stores it in memory, so when a page is requested by the user it can be loaded directly from memory instead of having to wait for the page to be transmitted. When the page is transmitted again, the television checks if the page in memory is still up-to-date and updates it if necessary.

The text can be displayed instead of the television image, or superimposed on it (a mode commonly called mix). Some pages, such as subtitles (closed captioning), are in-vision, meaning that text is displayed in a block on the screen covering part of the television image.

The original standard provides a mono spaced 40×24 character grid. Characters are sent using a 7-bit codec, with an 8th bit employed for error detection. The standard was improved in 1976 to allow for improved appearance and the ability to individually select the color of each character from a palette of 8. The proposed higher resolution Level 2 (1981) was not adopted in Britain (in-vision services from Ceefax & ORACLE did use it at various times however, though even this was ceased by the BBC in 1996), although transmission rates were doubled from two to four lines a frame.

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