hattig voted 1 on this story.
This was on zdnet yesterday. The article is misinformed - Teletext in Europe has been around for 20 years, and is _very_ crude compared to modern systems available from Sky in the UK.
Here is what I said on ZDNet:
Sky Television, in the UK, has been offering interactive television for a while now, via its digital satellite service.
The service is called "Open..." and it doesn't allow full websurfing, but it allows you to shop using the television, and there is a large range of goods to buy, from electrical goods to holidays. The data is sent via the satellite to the receiver, so lots of data can be provided to the service, although you have to use a telephone line to actually order anything (you don't need to go online to navigate the system though). This allows lots of graphics and data, as well as video and audio to be provided with the shops.
E-mail is also provided as standard, and it uses the talk21 email service, and this works quite well with the IR keypads that you can buy.
Obviously, Sky provides the EPGs etc... but in Europe, and especially the UK, we are a long way ahead of the US in terms of television technology now. We even get all of the crap television programmes.
Sky will be replacing their existing set-to-boxes within 3 years to an upgraded specification box, which will probably include web-surfing capabilities, but the web isn't what most people want from this kind of service - they want to shop and read news and information in a simple, easy to navigate manner.
Teletext came out in 1981 IIRC, and for its time it was great, and it is still provided. It is very lame though now, having a 40x25 text screen in 8 colours with blocky graphics. It is useful for a few things, but it will be replaced by even more digital services within the next year or so.
And in reply to someone else:
In the UK, it has caught on massively - over 2million people has iTV systems provided by Sky TV, and the Cable TV operators are bringing out their systems soon.
The UK systems might not provide full web functionality atm, but as many people have pointed out, the TV is not the ideal thing to view the web on! It provides most of what you want though, with some limitations (imposed by the broadcaster though, not the system).
The UK systems are fully upgradable via the satellite as well - the code can be improved and upgraded whenever Sky TV decides that it is necessary. If Sky suddenly thinks that an ICQ a-like would be a great thing to have (messages come over the satellite link to the box, sent messages go out over the phone line, etc) then they can add that functionality easily.