MINITEL (Interactive Medium by Digitization of Telephone Information, or « Médium Interactif par Numérisation d'Information Téléphonique ») is a type of computer terminal designed to connect to Teletel, the French Videotex service. France was very proud of it because it was the first online service in the world allowing access to services, at the cost of a normal or premium rate telephone call. In France, the commercial operation of the service lasted from 1980 to 2012.
Remember the “Type 36 15 code ....” In 2012 mail-order selling catalogs in you could still place your order through Minitel, and buying a train ticket was also faster with a Minitel than over the Internet.
How much does a Minitel cost?
What is the price of a Minitel? You can find it on individual-to-individual announcements websites for a cost between 10 and 30 euros (between $11 and $33). The Minitel however remains a machine launched in the 80s and for which the service maintenance is over since 2012. As a result, the number of Minitels in working condition will decrease, and their value may go up. Careful buyers or collectors are ready to pay up to 300 euros ($328) to find some rare models known for their durability and performance.
How does the Minitel work?
The Minitel is a passive computer terminal, which means it operates only like a keyboard and a screen, with a very low processing capability (videotex protocol process) and has no hard drive. The services can be accessed from a telephone line thanks to an integrated modem.
How to do: Pick up your phone and dial the code (for example, 3615) like it were a real phone number, wait for an audio signal on the phone, then press the "Connection" key on the Minitel keyboard, hang up the phone and in theory it's okay you're connected…
Does the Minitel still exist?
Yes, the Minitel still exists, but the Teletel service has not been commercially operated in France since 2012.
Can I display an image on Minitel?
Yes, ImgToVdt software allows you to convert an image to Minitel format. It's possible to generate images on Minitel screen. You can download ImgToVdt directly or take a closer look at the ImgToVdt software dedicated page for additional information.
You can even perform graphical glitch on your Minitel.