To provide UK homes with electronic hardware that could download pages of news, reports, facts and figures, in 1971 Philips lead design engineer for VDUs, John Adams, created a design and technical proposal that used the vertical blanking interval (VBI), since nothing sent during the VBI is displayed on the screen. Adams' proposed Teletext system included 24 text rows of 40 characters each, page selection, multiple screens of information and vertical blanking interval data transmission.
"A major objective for Adams during the concept development stage was to make Teletext affordable to the home user. In reality, there was not the slightest chance of making an economical Teletext system with 1971 technology. However, as low cost was essential to the project's long term success, this obstacle had to be overcome.
"Adams built a fully functional Teletext prototype in 1971 and the first test transmissions were made by the BBC in 1973. His invention enabled the world's first widely used implementation of the information revolution. In the UK, his format and standards for Teletext were eventually adopted by the BBC as Ceefax and by the Independent Broadcasting Authority - IBA (Oracle). They also formed the basis of British Telecom Prestel and other similar telephone text services in many other organisations and countries. In addition, they were the basis of the British Teletext standards and of the "Broadcast Teletext Specification" which was published in September 1976 jointly by the IBA, the BBC and the British Radio Equipment Manufacturers' Association. The standards became international as the European Teletext standards and as the "World System Teletext" (WST) and formed the base of all Teletext systems built throughout the world for the rest of the century. The highly successful Philips Teletext chip sets, of which many millions were made, were also based on Adams' original design and concepts" (Wikipedia article on Teletext, accessed 12-11-2013).