Red Button Text
|Red Button Text|
|Archiving status||In progress...|
|IRC channel||(on EFnet)|
Red Button Text is a digital text delivery service though over-the-air digital television. It was introduced in the early 2000s as a replacement for the Ceefax analogue teletext service that was shut down with the UK digital TV switch-over in 2012.
In September 2019, the BBC (the main - only? - provider of Red Button Text) announced the service would be closing in "early 2020".
User:Betamax is attempting to preserve a representative sample of the service in its final weeks / months. Help is greatly appreciated as a separate TV tuner is needed for each channel. The software chosen for this archival attempt is RedButton, which includes two parts: RB-Download to download live data from a digital TV source, and RB-Browser, to allow the files downloaded by RB-Download to be "played back". Think wayback machine, but for digital TV text. (There's also RB-Creator, which is not relevant for archiving).
Steps to Archive
- Setup a computer with a TV tuner card. (Leaving this up to you, as setup varies wildly with different hardware / software variants).
- Install the dvb-apps package.
- Scan for channels, saving the list of channels in a place where other utilities can find them. Replace
<your-local-transmitter>with the file for your local digital TV transmitter.
scan /usr/share/dvb/dvb-legacy/dvb-t/<your-local-transmitter> > ~/.tzap/channels.conf
- Inspect a single line of this
channels.conffile. You should see something similar to:
BBC ONE Scot:522000000:INVERSION_AUTO:BANDWIDTH_8_MHZ:FEC_2_3:FEC_AUTO:QAM_64:TRANSMISSION_MODE_8K:GUARD_INTERVAL_1_32:HIERARCHY_NONE:101:102:4220
- The important parts are the first section (before the first ':'), which identifies the channel name (case sensitive) e.g: "BBC ONE Scot", and the last section, which identifies the service ID for the channel, e.g: "4220". Each line of the file is a different channel, although some are radio stations.
- Download the redbutton-download software as a zip archive and extract it somewhere convenient.
- Compile the RB-Download executable, by running
- Tune into a TV station using it's name:
tzap -x "BBC ONE Scot"
- Make a folder to save the downloaded data:
- Start downloading the digital TV text content for a channel, as identified by the channel's service ID, into the folder:
./rb-download -b bbconescot -f ../channels.conf 4220
Notes when Using RB-Download
- It has a few bugs which cause it to crash every few hours. You'll need to therefore setup some mechanism to restart it (e.g: a crontab that checks to see if it's running and restarts it if not). This isn't too big of an issue, because you'll need crontab anyway because....
- It overwrites data as it downloads it. Digital TV text operates as a stream. Once the text is updates, which happens every few minutes, the old text that was downloaded is overwritten. Therefore you'll need to have some mechanism (e.g: crontab) that backs up what has been saved. The technique I ([User:Betamax]) use is to make a .tar of the folder every minute or so.
What's Being Saved?
|Channel Name||Person Responsible||Notes|
|BBC ONE Scot||User:Betamax||Being backed up every minute. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|
|BBC NEWS||User:Betamax||Being backed up every minute. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|
|BBC TWO||User:Betamax||Being backed up every half hour. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|
|BBC Parliament||User:Betamax||A mistake in the script meant that this was not backed up until 2020-03-23, henceforth it is being backed up every half hour. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|
|BBC ALBA||User:Betamax||Being backed up every half hour. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|
|BBC Red Button||User:Betamax||Being backed up every half hour. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|
|BBC FOUR||User:Betamax||Being backed up every half hour. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|
|CBBC||User:Betamax||Being backed up every half hour. Intended eventual destination is archive.org.|