The Micro Arts Collection

Micro Arts on Prestel

In 1985 Micro Arts moved on to Prestel teletext, an early public information system that predated the World Wide Web by a number of years. Teletext was, like other "videotext" systems, accessed via a computer terminal connected to a telephone modem. The connection to the servers was 75/1200. That is, 75 characters per second upload and 1200 characters per second download.

Geoff Davis writes:

"Micro Arts was invited to be on a large section of Prestel teletext at Micronet 800 (at location 8008). Teletext is also known as viewdata if interactive. This was technically a success but since the world of Prestel was even more obscure than computer art to the typical art connoisseur, it took a bit of the forward momentum out of the project.

Micronet was owned by the Telemap Group, part of EMAP’s Computer & Business Press. Telemap was first based at Herbal Hill, Clerkenwell, London. Micronet 800 was quite similar to the famous French Minitel services. The staff at Telemap in London were very friendly and helpful setting up the content from Micro Arts and the telesoftware. David Babsky was the editor at the time.

Micronet became less popular due to costs, as Prestel started charging for using the service by time for evening use, on top of phone charges. This was the main time people used the service.

Micronet had around 10,000 subscribers when it ended in 1991, and had peaked at 20,000. Overall use of Prestel was 90,000 users. It never really took off (unlike Minitel in France) mainly due to expense, since everything was charged for, even for a casual service."