MHP The Test Card Gallery

The BBC and ITV have over the years used a number of tuning signals, test cards and captions either for engineering purposes, or just to fill time in the days before breakfast and daytime TV. This page shows some of them, and some of the captions used in days past.

Listen Now! We can now provide some music whilst you watch, The Gallery Theme from Vision On!
Alternatively, Mike Brown can tell you about a CD containing some of the best Test Card Classics.

Click on an image on the left to see a different section of the gallery.

A Bit of History First, A Little Bit of History
An introduction of sorts, to early television, and how test cards began.
BBC Tuning Signals BBC Tuning Signals and Test Charts
Used from the beginning of the BBC until the early seventies, the tuning signal was primarily for viewers to warm up their television sets and adjust the numerous controls until they could see an acceptable picture. The images and patterns were for use by "lay-people" and were not designed to test equipment in any scientific way.
BBC Test Cards BBC Test Cards 24 Jun 2000
The Test Cards were for testing of equipment throughout the full chain of transmission. Many of the cards were produced for specific purposes, e.g. testing camera response, receivers.
This section contains the famous Test Cards "A" to "J" and "W"
ITA Test Cards ITA and IBA Test Cards and Tuning Signals
From 1955 the ITA, and its successor the IBA used numerous test cards and tuning signals, some were variants of those used by the BBC, others like the classic "Picasso" tuning signal were entirely original.This section shows a selection of them.

BSB Test Cards

BSB Test Cards
The innovative satellite service was very short-lived, merging with Sky Television in 1990. Each channel had a unique themed test card, brought back to life here.
Grpahics Around the World Pictures from around the World
It is perhaps to be expected that having given birth to Television, that British Test Card designs should be exported all around the world. This section shows some of the variants of the classic BBC test cards used globally, plus also some of the native variety used in North America and Ireland.
Test Card FAQ Test Card FAQ
Some Frequently Asked Questions that I have received by email since starting these pages

A Little Bit of History BBC Tuning Signals and Test Charts BBC Test Cards ITA and IBA Test Cards Around the World Test Card FAQ Test Card Circle


The Meldrum Home Page
Last Updated 29 Mar 2000