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Minitel Receiver

Minitel falls under an umbrella category of similar systems, which are rather elusive in terms of definition. There are numerous names for these types of technology that came into existence in the very early 1980's including Teletext, Videotex, or Viewdata. These terms are often used interchangeably and can often lead to confusion due to the fact that there were many different types of services offered as well as many different devices for information retrieval. The International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT) makes a more clear distinction. According to the CCITT, Videotex refers to two-way information services and Teletext refers to one-way services. Michael Tyler defined Teletext/Videotex as "Systems for the widespread dissemination of textual and graphic information by wholly electronic means, for display on low-cost terminals (often suitably equipped television receivers), under the selective control of the recipient, and using control procedures easily understood by untrained users." (Tyler) An analysis of this definition by Tyler's peers points out, "It is significant to note that with the exception of the term "electronic," the definition is medium free." (Tydeman 2) Research proves that indeed there were numerous mediums that all fell under this category. With world wide web as we know it today still in the works, these were attempts to create a network type of communication system. However in most cases, Videotex/Teletext were broadcast type systems. It was possible in some countries for broadcasting companies to create their own teletext networks. For example, in the United States the Corporation for Public Broadcasting even created a guidebook to help broadcasters start up their own transmissions. This clear distinction between message senders and message receivers (except for in chatrooms) is probably one of the main causes of this system's demise. Interestingly, in the guide Carey points out the ability of Teletext to target narrow audiences as a selling point. (Carey 33) In this way Teletext was able to bridge the gap between mass electronic media which had incredible circulation and print periodicals which could already focus their attention on specific audiences. -Types

Teletext/Videotex Services

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BBC's CEEFAX Teletext News
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List of messages available from British Post Office

Their were many types of services offered by many companies, located in many countries. This is a comprehensive list of services we have found thus far.

Services Offered:
-Phone Directory
-Chat Room
-News Reports [BBC CEEFAX teletext news system PICTURED] (Sigel 24)
-Electronic Mail [for sending personally addressed messages, Courtesy British Post Office, PICTURED] (Sigel 79)

Hey guys, please find citations for the services you add, to keep this professional. thanks!

The Minitel Terminal

As has been mentioned before, there were a diverse selection of terminals available. There are some universal features that were required. All terminals need some type of display monitor, often monitors were built into the machines or the machines were meant to be used with separate televisions. All systems also require and interface for user input. Most systems featured a qwerty keyboard although some broadcast teletext systems used a more simple device resembling a television remote control. In most cases terminals were meant to be low-cost. Which is an interesting factor to consider considering the extremely high cost of personal computers.

There are definitly some interesting physical features of the Sematel model manufactured in France by LA Radiotechnique a sub-division of Philips Electronic Insturments, Inc.

num pad as opposed to laptop nums power button color aerodynamic modernity?


Graphic Interface

-ms dos -color -text (font) -graphic


-Broadcasting vs. chatrooms

Marketing, Revenue, and Tariffs


The French Phenomenon

-qwerty quote -french language

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You can use this, its a fun limitation, that fits under language

Withstanding the Internet

Messagerie Rose

Homosexuality and Expression

Last Breaths

-yahoo -that website -our experience trying to access it


  • Carey, John. Teletext Guidebook: a Report for Office of Policy Development and Planning Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Greystone Communications, 1984.
  • Sigel, Efrem, ed. Videotext: the Coming Revolution in Home/Office Information Retrieval. White Plains, NY.: Knowledge Industry Publications, Inc., 1980.
  • Tydeman, John, Hubert Lipinksi, Richard P. Adler, Michael Nyhan, and Laurence Zwimpfer. Teletext and VideoTex in the United States: Market Potential Technology Public Policy Issues. New York: McGraw-Hill Publications Company, 1982.
  • Tyler, Michael: “Electronic Publishing: Sketch of the European Experience,” Teletext and Viewdata in the U.S.: A Workshop on Emerging Issues, Background Papers, Institute for the Future, Menlo Park, Calif., 1979.