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30/05/2003

BBCi unveils 21st Century CEEFAX service

BBCi, the BBC's interactive arm, have unveiled a new look and improved functionality to their digital television information services.
BBCi on TV effectively brings a 21st century version of CEEFAX to millions of digital viewers, as it is both more comprehensive than its predecessor and simpler to use.
Continuing the ground-breaking work of its analogue counterpart, the improved service offers greater sophistication, bringing under one roof all of BBCi's interactive TV programmes (like Wimbledon or Test the Nation) and interactive information services (such as BBC News Interactive).
In addition to text, BBCi on TV also offers increased video content for a visually richer experience, with extra functionality and expanded content around entertainment and lifestyle to appeal to a wider audience.
Despite this, however, BBCi on TV is simpler to use than anything currently available, providing a consistent experience no matter which BBC channel viewers come in from or which remote control button they press.
Until now, digital viewers have been bombarded with conflicting instructions as to how they access interactive services, depending on the type of service they want to see (interactive programme Vs interactive information) or whether they get their digital signal through terrestrial, satellite or cable.
Learning from its bigger brother, CEEFAX, BBCi on TV offers viewers a single point of entry regardless of whether they press the red button or the Text button on their handset.
"I call it 'sophisticated simplicity'," says Emma Somerville, BBCi's Head of 24/7 television, who led the team that created the service.
"We wanted to continue the pioneering work undertaken by CEEFAX in the 70s, by developing our existing digital television information services.
"Our aim is to create something that exploits the extra capabilities of digital while remaining easy to use so that we can encourage viewers to use the service, as part of our remit of helping to drive digital take up.
"We want to develop our existing services for the digital generation so that they will be as easy to use and as trusted as CEEFAX has been for analogue audiences."
Digital satellite viewers will be the first to experience the improved services when phase one launches at the beginning of June 2003, followed by digital terrestrial viewers on Freeview.
Over the course of the summer, the expanded content areas and designs will start to appear with a completion of phase one activity expected by autumn 2003.
Work will also be underway for the digital cable platform, with a full roll out across all digital platforms expected by summer 2004.
(GB)
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