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Teletext Time Machine

Jason Robertson. Courtesy Computer Shopper Magazine.

Amazingly, it is possible to recover teletext from domestic video tapes! Due to the way the medium was broadcast, we can use dedicated software to reconstruct services from off-air recordings of any channel that carried teletext.

With Alistair Buxton’s VHS-Teletext software, every tape is a potential teletext time machine – only a few minutes of recording are needed to recover some pages.

Buxton himself was the first to archive such recoveries, posting in excess of thirty fully-browsable services to the web in 2014. Shortly after Buxton’s pioneering efforts, Teletext Archaeologist Jason Robertson was inspired to take up the mantle, and to date has recovered pages from hundreds of tapes.

In turn, Terence at TV Whirl was inspired to recover teletext from his own recordings. As of 2018, he has archived highlights from over 30 services on his website.

Robertson established his own website in 2018 and the Teletext Archive in 2023, though he also posted HTML versions of his recoveries to from 2016 to 2019.

Today, there are dozens of teletext archaeologists recovering services, and they can be found at the Teletext Discord.

Click here or the image below to visit…

Teletext Archive logo

You can also find more archives under the Archive tab in the navigation bar at the top of the page.


Q. Why are most of the recoveries garbled? I didn’t know ‘recovery’ was spelled ‘rjcovjry’!

A. This is due to errors in recovery. Commonly, an uncapitalised e is often mistaken as a j, as explained by Alistair Buxton:

It’s because VHS blurs the signal. So 1010 looks like 0.5,0.5,0.5,0.5. And so does 0101. And they have the same parity.

See more frequently asked questions at Jason Robertson’s site here.

Page last updated: 7 April 2024


Discord logo in teletext by wimpie3
art by wimpie3 @discord

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