|★ HARDWARE ★ PERIPHERIQUES ★ TV - INTERFACES TELETEXT ADAPTOR AND TUNER|AMSTRAD ACTION) ★|
|Tv - Interfaces Teletext Adaptor And Tuner|Amstrad Action)||Hardware Peripheriques|
Microtext has made it possible for you to page Oracle and Ceefax without the need of a television or remote control unit. Indeed, all you need is your Amstrad CPC. a couple of black boxes and an aerial You may think It odd having this facility on your Amstrad. but the monitor is ideal for displaying Teletext frames, ana it's a lot cheaper than buying a special Teletext-receiving television.
The Teletext Adaptor has been available for almost a year. To tune into the Teletext services (with only the adaptor) you need a video recorder. A lead is connected between the adaptor and the Video Out or AV of the video Video Out is normally used for recording from one video to another, but carries all the correct signals for tapping into Teletext Recently another box has joined Microtext's system - the Teletext tuner You no longer need a video to assist in picking up Teletext because the tuner does that. Cost of upgrading is £48.80.
Using a video recorder and adaptor to receive Teletext allows you to use the setup anywhere in the world - assuming that the country you're in has such a service. Currently most of Europe. Australia. South Africa, Malaysia and a host of other countries have Teletext on offer. If you use the tuner you probably won't be able to use it in other countries.
If you're lucky enough to possess a satellite dish then you may tune into SkyText and similar services from abroad.
The Teletext adaptor fits neatly into the expansion port at the back of the computer. If you're using a video then a lead (supplied) is connected between adaptor and video recorder Alternatively a cable (also supplied), with plugs of the 5-pin din variety at each end. is placed between the adaptor and tuner. The tuner requires external power, which it gets from a 12V power pack An aerial is necessary A loft or indoor aerial may work in your area, but to avoid any uncertainty connect to a roof antenna If you intend using the tuner to receive teletext then special software must be run This automatically scans the television frequencies in your area to find out which are being used. If you've connected everything successfully then you should get a message PI00 SEARCHING. If the tuner is not plugged in. or the power not turned on. then you won't get such a message When the software encounters a signal, you'll know it because the fust line of the Teletext frame will be displayed, then you may save this channel setting to a key (between 0-9 and A-F). Alter that the software continues its search, letting you save channel settings when found, until the whole TV band has been scanned (which takes about 90 seconds).
During the signal tracing you can identity from which broadcasting house the Teletext frames are coming as either CEEFAX (BBC) or ORACLE (ITV) appear
CEEFAX 134 Wed 14 Oct 11:23/03 - BBC J
You can distinguish between BBC 1 and BBC 2 frames by the frame number in the 100's and 300's for BBC 1 and 200 s. 300's and 700's for BBC 2 It is simpler to spot an ITV or Channel 4 page as either ITV or C4 is displayed at the top of the frame
There is no need to go through this procedure if you are using the video and adaptor as the video is already tuned in to the correct channels.
With the software running, frames can be displayed quickly and easily by tapping in a three digit number The number simply refers to the page you wish to access. But the fust thing you want to do is select a channel, press C followed by a number between 0 and 9 or letter from A to F to choose one of the previously defined channels. Apart from jumping between channels and calling up pages. Microtext s software gives you many other options to play with - things not normally available from a Teletext-receiving television All functions are selected by pressing one key:
N - Next page. Say you have selected page 203; by pressing N you will advance to the next page Each keypress moves you one page forward.
B - Moves you back a page
R - Reveal Certain pages have hidden sections, such as a puzzle or joke which can be shown by hitting this key
H - Hold Pages may take up several screens To avoid the screens updating too quickly the H key holds the current screen Any othei key resumes
S - Save. This saves the current screen image to cassette or disk. You will be prompted lor a filename
L Load. Simply loads a previously saved image
Frames may be dumped to a printer if you have one that accepts Epson codes. However. Microtext can supply you with a dump routine for other printer types. The manual contains a program that prints a Teletext frame without the graphics characters. It's much taster and works with daisy wheel printers.
The place to be
If you have problems receiving Teletext frames, lor example characters are missing 01 lines corrupt, don't blame the adaptor or tuner immediately If you are using a loop or indoor aerial then the signal may be too weak - try and use an external antenna. Problems will also occur if you are hidden away in a valley or there are tall buildings that won't let signals through In these cases you may have to reposition the outside aerial
The Teletext frames that are eventually displayed on your Amstiad monitor are of decent quality Microtext had the problem of displaying 16 colours with forty-columns of text They had to settle for 16 colours and squashed text. The result, although not of the same standard as that found on the television, is very high indeed and legible
Microtext has left the software in unprotected form and actively encourages you to inspect it. The manual explains what certain parts of the program do and suggests that you could re-write it to suit your own purposes. This means you could automatically download particular pages everyday to keep track of trends in the weather, the stock market, or even use it as a pools predictor.
If you need to got your hands on the latest news flash, sports results or weather report in a hurry and don't have a Teletext receiving television then Micro text's offering is a welcome alternative. The Teletext adaptor et al is priced just right when you consider what you get and what it does. A well thought out product that performs admirably.