Were you around when TV stations had limited broadcasting hours and weren't 24-hour content dispensaries?

@noelle i know some stations were limited here was it for all stations at some point?

@pup_hime I know CNN was the first 24-hour news channel but I'm not sure if it was the first 24-hour channel generally.

@pup_hime Looks like the first 24-hour channel was a little local station in the south of the US, in the late 70s. But broadcast stations were still mostly limited-hour (often 7 AM-1 AM) until the 90s.

@noelle I feel like technically I should be old enough for this but I don't actually remember it so I had to vote the third option lol

@noelle The national anthem on BBC1 before closedown. Usually because my dad had fallen asleep in front of the telly again.

When I was young, some channels had 24hr programming, but some didn't. They would play some absurdly patriotic clip, usually involving jet fighters and the national anthem, then go to colorbars. It was pretty cheesy, TBH.

@noelle I feel like I'm skewing this a little by being Canadian, as TV stations not being 24 hours lasted a lot longer here... in fact, some stations STILL don't broadcast 24/7 here. (Mostly French channels for some reason.)

Although it's not usually test patterns anymore, they usually do an animation of their logo and text saying "we'll be back at X:00". Or Radio-Canada simulcasts RDI.

@noelle (RDI, or Réseau D'Info is Radio-Canada's 24/7 news station.)

@noelle i remember as a smaaaall child staying up extremely late and being shocked to discover that a channel i was watching ended at some point

by the time i was old enough to actually stay up that late regularly none of the channels i watched did that

@noelle Test patterns? In my day they just cut the signal. Can't afford to put up a test signal.

When I was young & occasionally got to stay up late. I remember the national anthem being played. We didn't have many stations. Since we are close to Canada we had a few of there stations. Only one I can remember was channel 9.

@noelle I DO remember staying up so late one day that regular programming turned into like. a block of informercials

@noelle UK 90's kids remember cartoon network closing at 11pm and becoming some weird black and white movie channel

@xmakina Apparently there's a not-inconsiderable cohort of people who were, as kids, absolutely terrified of that clown doll. I can't remember why, but I ran into them a while ago.

@noelle @xmakina I guess that's because it is what you see if you get up from a nightmare and turn on the TV to think on anything else, which clearly isn't a great strategy, but being groggy, scared and a kid, is like one of your only options.

@noelle @xmakina on the other hand, this is what an university TV channel here uses to start their daily transmissions, something that a lot of adult people here have qualified as "unnerving"

@noelle @xmakina

a lot of kids were scared by testpatterns including colour bars/bars on red, PLUGE (the white and purple lines) PM5544, loud front idents on ITV companies and the 400 Hz test tone that UK TV used to use before 1000 Hz, some of those who overcame these fears became broadcast engineers 😁

@xmakina @noelle

this is still used today (both for testing remote uplinks and more rarely on broadcast feeds) with updates for digital/HD - it now has test tones for multiple channels + low frequency; and sound channel IDs that flash on and off and create a moving image - a static testcard isn't any good for modern digital video streams as one failure mode is a crashed codec repeating the contents of the last frame in the framebuffer down the line...

@publius @xmakina @noelle

I remember in 1985 tuning in a black and white TV on VHF channels (which had just stopped being used in UK) on internal antenna from my room in Reading, England and saw a grainy PM5544 with "NORGE" - "TELEVERKET" as ID - I worked out that Televerket was something like British Telecom for another country but had to look in an atlas to discover where Norge was (unusual weather/atmospheric conditions allowed the TV signal to travel thousands of km)

@vfrmedia @xmakina @noelle

I understand people in Dublin used to routinely watch BBC-TV coming in on VHF across St George's Channel.

@publius @xmakina @noelle

Britain and Ireland initially used an unusual 405 line black and white TV standard on VHF (whereas other countries used 625 lines) - currently the UK does not use VHF for terrestrial telly anywhere but VHF Band I is used for studio to transmitter audio links for radio stations (our community radio station has this setup) and Band III for DAB radio. Even in late 90s, some UK cable networks relayed analogue TV channels unencrypted on VHF frequencies..

@vfrmedia @xmakina @noelle

System A was also broadcast in Hong Kong.

I kind of love System A. Alan Blumlein, perhaps the greatest electrical engineer you've never heard of, basically invented it in the course of a weekend, and it was used for 40+ years.

@noelle I used to wait in front of a test pattern early in the morning on Sundays for the rerun of the Disney Club (Germany's version of the Disney Afternoon) from the previous day because I couldn't watch it on Saturdays.

@noelle I remember when stations signed off with the National Anthem.

@noelle also, for the furthest back I can remember, the only 24-hour networks were premium channels like HBO and Cinemax—of course, back then, they actually showed softcore porn (e.g., HBO’s “Real Sex” series) mixed in with movies during the overnight hours

I could be misremembering, though—my memory is shoddy *at best*, especially since I rarely dig into memories of the past (unless it’s of stupid shit I did when I was younger)

@noelle I remember turning on the TV before they went on air to listen to the background music, which I later learned what it was and bought all the band's albums.

@noelle TV still has limited broadcasting hours here: most channels don't broadcast between 2 and 6 AM. I remember getting up really early to go to school (circa 2010) and turning on the TV while eating breakfast just to find that it wasn't still 6 AM and the signal was just the programming for the rest of the day.

@noelle For a while when I was a (very dorky) kid I would get up early to watch the BBC open with Pages from Ceefax 👴 because the whole idea of teletext fascinated me, and it being the actual TV show at the same time even more fascinating. 📺

cold war 

@noelle I remember back in like 2002 watching CBC at a new year's party. We watched the countdown, then they played Dogma, then there was O Canada, then the test signal.

One of the people at the party had a little freak out and made us turn off the TV right away. She said the test tone reminded her of the emergency broadcast signal. (continued)

cold war 

@noelle She'd grown up in North Bay, Ontario, the Canadian headquarters of NORAD, and target number two after Colorado if The War ever happened. To her, that sound meant the bombs were coming.

We turned the TV off.

@noelle I remember getting up very early in the morning as a child and watching nightscreen until the actual tv programmes came on (trans world sport and Open University programming iirc)

@noelle I remember the national anthem playing before the signal shut off. I'm not sure if that was a military base thing or just a US thing

@noelle feel like with numbers like this there's very likely some sampling bias coming in to play

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Just Ellie (and perhaps some of her toys).