BBC Text Service

Oldbat

Novice Member
BBC Text service HELP. My husband is a simple soul and likes to look at the text service on BBC to check out football results etc. He likes to be able to go to the main page and either key in a number or scroll down to the relevant pages. He doesn't want the new service that seems to be on the BBC app. We had a 50 inch Samsung TV bought in January 2019 which could access the service but by early this year we were having other weird issues with it (such as audio on/off messages constantly popping up etc) so he moved it out of the living room with the intention of getting it changed as it was still under warranty. Unfortunately he dropped it.

Naturally the warranty didn't cover our own stupidity but the insurance paid out and, not wanting another Samsung cos of the other issues, we bought another TV then another, then another. Each one sent back because after setting up we found they didn't offer the text service. None of the sales reps could tell us beforehand whether they had this and some tried to patronisingly talk down to me telling me it was scrapped a long time ago - could almost hear them say 'dear' at the end of that. I know this is not true because A) the BBC tried to get rid of it last year but support groups lobbied on behalf of the elderly and those with special needs etc so it was kept (my hubby ticks at least one of those boxes ha ha (he's 70 this year)) and B) we get it on a TV in the conservatory.

Before anyone says anything - yes he does drag himself into the conservatory to access the text service but this is clearly a lot of effort and that TV is only a 40 inch or something, so not big enough to swap for the one in the living room. He wants to look at it in the comfort of his living room.

PLEASE can anyone tell me if they've got a modern 50 inch TV on which the text button doesn't just say 'unavailable' but shows something like the screenshot attached before I have to swap yet another TV or my husband whichever comes first??
 

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mikej

Well-known Member
Pressing the red button while watching BBC One on my 10+ year-old LG TV still brings up the old Red Button text menu that you pictured and the service still appears to work, whereas doing the same on my 2019 Panasonic TV takes you to a very simple News / Sport (etc) menu that, in turn, takes you into iPlayer. The 'Text' button does nothing.

From this, I would guess that even though the old red button text service is still going, it would appear that certain manufacturers like Panasonic have chosen not to continue supporting it (on their recent OLEDs, at least). The fact that you've been through multiple TVs that you also couldn't get it on this year would back this up and suggests that the same might be true of other manufacturers, unfortunately.

Incidentally - as it's usually called the BBC Red Button Service, then if you've been asking in stores about a text service, presumably the salesmen thought you meant Teletext / Ceefax which was indeed closed down many years ago.
 

Oldbat

Novice Member
Thanks for this. I think you're right about the TV manufacturers. I think the BBC announced their plans to ditch the service nearly a year before they intended to do it but then the campaigns started so they held fire on it but by then the manufacturers had already made changes. I asked one company why the remote had a Text button when it didn't actually do anything and they said it was because the remote was generic across other countries who do still have this kind of service. I was just hoping there might be a company out there that were still doing it for UK TVs.

I should have made it clear that I DID ask about the BBC Red Button Text service to clarify what I was after, as the very first time I enquired, the guy thought I was talking about Ceefax but people then usually thought I was referring to the 'new' Red Button Service that was why in the end it was easier to show them the screenshot!!

I keep trying to tell my hubby that, from what I can tell, the BBC still intend to change or reduce the service even if we can find a tv that does it but he's still hoping!!
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Now that's interesting.

Like your hubby, I also like to read the text on the Red Button service (though I am only 57!) and yes, the remote has a button called TEXT which I press to bring up the menu.

My TV is a Panasonic OLED bought in 2016. I still love it and everything works fine. I think I'll keep it for as long as possible if you're right and a new replacement TV might not support the Red Button service.

How can we find this out anyway? In the showroom perhaps?
 

mikej

Well-known Member
How can we find this out anyway? In the showroom perhaps?

You should be able to test this in any TV showroom who's TVs are connected to a Freeview feed.

Most will be fed by an HD or 4K signal via HDMI these days, but some places are also wired up for TV signals via coax. John Lewis were at least, when I bought my current TV a few years ago.

It should be fairly easy to check in places like Currys too, as many of their TVs are out on the shop floor with their backs visible. You often have to ask a shop assistant for the remote, in my experience.
 

Oldbat

Novice Member
Now that's interesting.

Like your hubby, I also like to read the text on the Red Button service (though I am only 57!) and yes, the remote has a button called TEXT which I press to bring up the menu.

My TV is a Panasonic OLED bought in 2016. I still love it and everything works fine. I think I'll keep it for as long as possible if you're right and a new replacement TV might not support the Red Button service.

How can we find this out anyway? In the showroom perhaps?
I've tried asking in Curry's which is the only 'showroom' near us but, as mentioned in the post below, the TV needs to have the correct link up to find out. There was also a rep for Samsung there and he couldn't tell me about them either!!
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
I've tried asking in Curry's which is the only 'showroom' near us but, as mentioned in the post below, the TV needs to have the correct link up to find out. There was also a rep for Samsung there and he couldn't tell me about them either!!
You'd think that they would be able to either know about this or accommodate it, wouldn't you?

I mean, when the BBC made their initial announcement that they were closing down the service, there was a huge outcry and many groups and organisations contacted them to protest.

Now, it's almost elimination by stealth - if the TV doesn't support it then what can you do? This isn't good.

I suppose you could contact the most popular manufacturers' Tech departments via e-mail and ask? You know, Samsung, not Panasonic, LG, Sony and Philips? One of them must know?
 

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