Bildschirmtext was a V.23 online service (an interactive videotex
Videotex was one of the earliest implementations of an "end-user information system". From the late 1970s to mid-1980s, it was used to deliver information to a user in computer-like format, typically to be displayed on a television.In a strict definition, videotex refers to systems that provide...
system) launched in West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....
in 1983 by the Deutsche Bundespost
The Deutsche Bundespost was created in 1947 as a successor to the Reichspost . Between 1947 and 1950 the enterprise was called Deutsche Post...
, the (West) German postal service
Mail, or post, is a system for transporting letters and other tangible objects: written documents, typically enclosed in envelopes, and also small packages are delivered to destinations around the world. Anything sent through the postal system is called mail or post.In principle, a postal service...
. Btx originally required special hardware, which had to be bought or rented from the post office. The data was transmitted through the telephone network
In telecommunications, telephony encompasses the general use of equipment to provide communication over distances, specifically by connecting telephones to each other....
and the content was displayed on a television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...
Originally conceived to follow the UK Prestel
Prestel , the brand name for the UK Post Office's Viewdata technology, was an interactive videotex system developed during the late 1970s and commercially launched in 1979...
specifications, and developed on contract by IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...
Germany, Btx added a number of additional features before launch, including some inspired by the French Minitel
The Minitel is a Videotex online service accessible through the telephone lines, and is considered one of the world's most successful pre-World Wide Web online services. It was launched in France in 1982 by the PTT...
service, to create a new display standard of its own, which in 1981 was designated the CEPT1
CEPT Recommendation T/CD 06-01 was a standard set in 1981 by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations for the display of Videotex; specifically, for the Videotex Presentation Layer Data Syntax...
profile. In 1995 an enhanced backward-compatible standard called Kernel for Intelligent Communication Terminals (KIT) was announced, but this never really gained acceptance. CEPT permits the transmission of graphical pages with a resolution of 480 by 250 pixel
In digital imaging, a pixel, or pel, is a single point in a raster image, or the smallest addressable screen element in a display device; it is the smallest unit of picture that can be represented or controlled....
s, where 32 out of a palette of 4096 colors could be shown at the same time. This corresponds to the technical possibilities of the early 1980s
File:1980s decade montage.png|thumb|400px|From left, clockwise: The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, lifted off in 1981; American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eased tensions between the two superpowers, leading to the end of the Cold War; The Fall of the Berlin Wall in...
Btx always transferred whole screen pages; the receiver paid per received page. The content provider was free to set the price, and could require either a fee per page (0.01 DM
The Deutsche Mark |mark]], abbreviated "DM") was the official currency of West Germany and Germany until the adoption of the euro in 2002. It is commonly called the "Deutschmark" in English but not in German. Germans often say "Mark" or "D-Mark"...
to 9.99 DM), or a time-dependent fee (0.01 DM to 1.30 DM per minute).
The last Btx access was switched off at the end of 2001 by Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom AG is a telecommunications company headquartered in Bonn, Germany. It is the largest telecommunications company in Europe....
; it had been made obsolete by the Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...
. However, Btx formed the basis of T-Online
T-Online, a former subsidiary and now business unit of Deutsche Telekom, is the biggest internet service provider in Germany. It evolved out of the proprietary German Bildschirmtext information service in 1995...
, Deutsche Telekom's online service, which maintained a Btx interface in its access software after the T-Online brand was introduced in 1995.
After German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...
, Btx was available throughout Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
. Btx was also available in Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....
, where it was called Videotex (VTX).
- Screen Shots from Btx terminal displaying its description and history
- Some example pages
- Twenty year old "internet" in Germany
- Bildschirmtext: Computing for all?, Der SpiegelDer SpiegelDer Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...
, 14 March 1983. Article on the launch of the system.