Peter Kwan edited this page Aug 29, 2018 · 22 revisions

Welcome to the vbit2 wiki!


VBIT2 together with raspi-teletext implements teletext generation on a Raspberry Pi. VBIT2 handles carousels using a timer for precise timing unlike simpler systems. It also handles all transmission flags so it can be used for subtitles, newsflash and header inhibit etc. It has a system to format various fields such as time into the header and rows. VBIT2 loads files into memory and plays them out from there so it has a very low CPU usage. It has a file monitor which can add, update, and delete pages from memory whenever the corresponding page file is changed.

A page file must be in MRG tti format. VBIT2 takes page files and generates a teletext stream from them. A teletext stream is simply a stream of character data. If you are an experimenter, you can feed the stream into other software and hardware. VBIT2 can be compiled and run on Windows or Linux. VBIT2 will not run on Raspbian Wheezy. If you have Wheezy then you can still use vbit-pi-stream.


These instructions details how to get Teefax running on a Raspberry Pi. Teefax is a teletext service informally run by a number of contributors. The software that this uses is VBIT2 together with raspi-teletext. VBIT2 is a replacement for vbit-pi-stream. If you already have installed vbit-pi-stream as an auto starting program, you'll need to disable it.

sudo update-rc.d -f vbit remove

Install Raspbian Stretch (or Jessie) as detailed at the download page . Any recent Raspbian or NOOBS will do, but older Wheezy versions won't work. The instructions here use the PIXEL version of Raspbian. Get your Pi online using WiFi or wired ethernet.
Just for my own reference, this is how I get a Pi3 up and running. Your setup will be different. I use a Pi3 with a wireless mouse and a bluetooth keyboard.

  • Start the system. It will boot into the desktop.
  • Click the Bluetooth logo and select the Add Device option
  • Press and hold the Bluetooth logo on the keyboard until the Pairing light flashes. Then follow the screen instructions to pair the keyboard.
  • Now click the network icon. It looks like two lines with a red crosses. Select your WiFi access point and type in the preshared key.
  • Select the Raspberry icon and Preferences->Raspberry Pi Configuration. Select the Localisation option.
  • Select Set Timezone and set Europe/London.
  • Check that the other localisations are correct.

Installing a basic Teefax system

This installs VBIT2 and Teefax pages.

  • Open a console window (Click on the Terminal icon in the menu bar)
  • cd /home/pi
  • wget -N
  • sudo chmod +x getvbit2
  • ./getvbit2 This process puts a few useful scripts in the /home/pi directory
    You can start the system manually by typing ./vb2
    You can get the Teefax updates by typing ./

Making VBIT2 start automatically

  • Open a console window
  • cd /home/pi
  • sudo cp /etc/init.d
  • sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/
  • sudo update-rc.d defaults

If you are running Stretch the above no longer works. Instead you can do this (also good for Jessie):

Create a file called /etc/systemd/system/vbit2.service that contains

Description=VBIT2 Teletext Service

Then enable the vbit2 to start as a service.

  • sudo systemctl enable vbit2

You can also start the server with these commands

  • sudo systemctl start vbit2

In theory you can also stop the server, but I haven't worked out this bit yet so it won't work

  • sudo systemctl stop vbit2

Poll for Teefax pages every two minutes

Keep your Teefax pages up to date. Pages in the /home/pi/teletext folder are kept current by polling the Teefax server every two minutes. If there are any changes to pages then these are downloaded. So any changes will take no more than two minutes to get through. Edit the cron job (If it asks you to select an editor, press 2 to select nano)
sudo crontab -e
Add this line to the end. It updates the pages every 2 minutes:
*/2 * * * * /home/pi/

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