Talk:Closed captioning

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CC for illiterate individuals?[edit]

"and in some cases, illiterate individuals" What??! —Noldoaran (Talk) 05:08, Mar 14, 2004 (UTC)

Illiterate is inaccurate, perhaps 'less literate' might be suitable. Say I am just learning the language, perhaps I am a young child or non-native speaker of the language in question. I hear a word, the meaning of which I do not know. By seeing it spelled out on the screen I can more easily reference it in a dictionary or similar research tool.
...also, Closed captioning can be used to translate complex issues into Simple English.
But I agree that without amplification of the concept, written text intended for 'the illiterate' seems an oxymoron. see also: functionally illiteracy in the US
It's not about literacy, it's about listening comprehension. That's the major benefit I see in DVD subtitles as a non-native speaker of English: It's just a great tool to train your comprehension of speech in a foreign language. My written English ist just fine and so is my spoken English most of the time, but a little help trying to understand what the actor on screen is mumbling (or hollering over the sound of gunshots) doesn't hurt. (talk) 22:40, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

captions vs subtitles in australia[edit]

I've reverted the last change that asserts the term "captions" is distinguished from "subtitles" in Australia. Here's why:

I live in Australia (Melbourne) and among the deaf community here as well as the hearing community the two terms are definitely used interchangeably. I recognise that in some official literature the terms are distinguished, yet equally in much offical writing on the matter they are not. The official use of the term 'Supertext Subtitles' is widespread - it refers to subtitles for the deaf/hearing impaired with sound effects etc (ie. equivalent to USA Closed Captions). In the TV guide such programs are represented with the letter 'S'. Sometimes the terms are presented side-by-side : "Supertext Subtitles (Closed Captions)". Certainly, in common use the words are understood to mean the same thing, and in Australian sign language they are both translated with the same sign.

I understand the need to distinguish between the concepts, however that is easily achieved with the terms "subtitles" and "subtitles for the deaf/hearing impaired" or any number of other possible descriptors.

I did a quick google on australian sites and found the following examples:

vic gov health Subtitles for TV : Television with built in closed Teletext allows deaf people to access supertext subtitles currently broadcast on some programs. This allows deaf people to read dialogue directly from the screen.
deaf soc nsw Closed captions or subtitles display dialogue and other audio information, such as music and sound effects.
AAD - Aust Assoc of Deaf "Television subtitles are enjoyed by Deaf and hearing-impaired people throughout Australia." Teletext Decoders :Many television programs have subtitles transmitted with the picture. Some videos also contain subtitles or subtitles. Though an ordinary TV does not display them, there are TVs and VCRs with decoders that will put the subtitles at the bottom of the screen
ABC TV govt broadcaster Supertext Subtitles : This symbol indicates television programs which have Supertext subtitles, or closed captions, for deaf and hearing-impaired viewers. Further information about Supertext subtitles and teletext equipment may be obtained from...
deafness forum Teletext-enabled television or video display sets must always have the subtitles/captions on.
[1] Date: 02-18-04 15:41. Do you guys really have Bewitched in Subtitles/captions over there???
[2] dunno: Its boring to watch with NO subtitles here in Australia!! There are several TV programmes here don't have CC :dunno

Therefore I reverted the wording to read "In Australia, the terms 'captions' and 'subtitles' are often used interchangeably." Please reply here if any disagreement, or contact me on my talk page. I'm very open to discussion! :) -- ntennis 00:23, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

More on captions vs subtitles in australia[edit]

Living in the U.S., I don't have direct firsthand experience with the Australian media, but I did speak to quite a few Australians during the research for my books about closed captioning, and I found that virtually all of them used the terms "subtitling" and "closed captioning" interchangeably, so I'd have to go along with ntennis on this one.

- Gary Robson 26 Apr 2005

Web media[edit]

I am learning how to caption web media (.flv .mov .wmv, etc.) and good information is still a bit scarce and/or spotty. Adding to this article and/or a separate article would be useful. I'll add it once I've learned enough, but that's a few weeks/months at least...

One particular bit of info I'm searching for right now is technical details on SCC captions. Samatva (talk) 16:05, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Captions vs. subtitles[edit]

I've been to the Australian Caption Centre twice and visited SBS's captioning and subtitling operations. I intervened in an Australian human-rights complaint concerning captioning.

Supertext is not a generic term for captions or subtitles in that country; its an ACC trademark.

Captions are captions in Australia (and New Zealand) and subtitles are subtitles. The only English-speaking country that confuses subtitles and captions is the United Kingdom (and Ireland).

Sadly, Gary D. Robson and the other contributor are simply wrong about this.

And yet more[edit]

So we have an American (me) and a Canadian (Joe Clark) that have been told different things by our contacts in Australia. We have an Australian (ntennis) editor, however, that makes several rather compelling arguments toward the terms caption and subtitle being used interchangeably in that country. Despite Joe's visits there, I think ntennis is far more immersed in the culture, being a resident. Who would be a reasonable authority to break the deadlock here? Perhaps someone from the Australian Caption Centre?

OK Joe, as I noted earlier the terms are distinguished in some official contexts, following the North American use of the terms. This is clearly the arena you have been involved in. However, both "on the ground" and in some other official contexts (eg. the national broadcaster's own websites, see above), there is a different system of terms being used. Australia tends to be influenced by both American and British culture, and often multiple terms co-exist here (eg. apartment/flat, color/colour) while the canonical preference tends to be for the British version (maybe residual pandering to the Empire?).
When you talk about the UK and Scotland "confusing" the terms captions and subtitles, which to you have a natural, self-evident, and universal meaning, you reveal your ethnocentric bias. These countries (like Australia) just have a different system of terminology: eg "subtitles" and "subtitles for the hearing-impaired". There is nothing confusing about it for us locals! The only one who seems to be confused is you. This is from wikipedia page American_and_British_English_differences:
It should also be noted that most American words can be freely interchanged with their British versions within the United Kingdom and English-speaking Commonwealth nations without leading to confusion, though they may cause irritation. It tends to be only when the situation is reversed that real problems of understanding occur.
Please have a look at that page for a crash course in dialects of English, as well as Australian English and dialect.
The usage and meaning may well change and the terms captions and subtitles may come to be distinguished in general usage by the Australian people - however until that happens, wikipedia should regonise the terms as they are used - not as you (or anyone) would like them to be used.
Therefore, I am reverting the text to read "the terms are sometimes distinguished but often not".
By the way a few points of etiquette on discussion pages: always sign your posts! This can be done by typing four tildes like this: ~~~~
When replying to a previous post, indent your replies with a colon. New headings are for new topics. See Wikipedia:Talk_page.
ntennis 03:17, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Lecturing on linguistics now, are we?[edit]

Let me see. You're lecturing a 25-year expert on captioning, who also has a degree in linguistics and speaks and writes the curious amalgam of influences that is Canadian English (neighbour:organize:tire vs. neighbour:organise:tyre vs. neighbor:organize:tire) on what to call captions in Australia?

Not only have I visited captioners *and subtitlers* in Australia, who have no trouble differentiating the two, I've watched captions on Australian television, and by golly, don't they call captions captions and not subtitles? I mean, check the credit at the end of the program.

It gets better: I've had real-time captioners producing CART text of my own speech in Australia, and everyone working on that task called what they do for broadcast "captioning."

It gets better still: Why do all the recent government documents about captioning, including settlements reached with broadcasters and movie exhibitors, use the word "captioning" and not "subtitling"? (I intervened in a couple of those proceedings.) Could it be because captions are called captions in Australia? And because showing up to a subtitled version of The Stepford Wives is slightly different from showing up to a captioned version? (I did the latter, by the way.)

As for your claim that calling captions subtitles and also subtitles subtitles is never confusing, well, that's rather rich, isn't it? Would you like to to sit down with me and watch a DVD with captions or subtitles? If you don't think the terms are confusing, then my preference is for Chinese. But wait-- that's not what you meant, is it?

So I'm rereverting the edits. I have all the time in the world to keep doing so, too. We can go to arbitration if you want. 23:23, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

A few more sources[edit]

Let's see.

  1. You all know about the Australian Caption Centre, which is not, curiously enough, called the Australian Subtitle Centre.
  2. One of Auscap's major competitors is a joint venture between ITFC and WordWave called Captioning & Subtitling International (note the two terms); they just won a captioning contract with ABC. When that contract came up in the senate, the topic discussed was captioning, not subtitling.
  3. The HREOC’s splash page on captioning discusses captioning, not subtitling.
  4. The Deafness Forum Australia is running a caption quality campaign and not, it is interesting to note, a subtitling quality campaign.
  5. The former National Working Party on Captioning was not, in fact, called the National Working Party on Subtitling.

So no, captions are not typically called subtitles in Australia. – joeclark 23:50, 2005 Apr 30 (UTC)

I presume that anonymous contributor and Joe Clark are the same person?
Most of your arguments come down to a blustery "i'm an expert! how dare you criticize me!" it's a kind of inverted ad-hominem argument and proves nothing. Please try to calm down, put ego aside for a moment and respond to the points made. Remember that Wikipedia is a collaboration - not a territorial war!
I understand very well the need to distinguish between a film with subtitles of sound effects etc and one without. I watch them regularly, both on TV and DVD, where I use the 'subtitles' menu and select the "English subtitles for the deaf/hearing impaired" (which I'm sure you wish was titled 'captions' instead). There is nothing confusing about this! (but perhaps Joe Clark would fare better with Chinese). It becomes clear if you apply the following definition:
In Australia, the term 'subtitles' is mostly used a general umbrella term for any text that appears on the bottom of the screen, and the terms 'captions' or 'subtitles for the deaf/hearing impaired' are subordinate terms that refer specifically to subtitles that describe dialog as well as additional audio information.
None of your examples contradict my assertion about the subtitles/captions terminology. I'll repeat, for the third time - yes, some official contexts in Australia, as we have both pointed out, like to distinguish between the terms captioning and subtitling. This is mainly AusCap, following the North American use of the terms (it's no surprise that the private sector is influenced by North America, and the government is influenced by the private sector, especially when discussing international contracts).
Even on the Australian Caption Centre's own website the terms "captions" and "subtitles" are being used differently to the Joe Clark definition (it appears the Australian Government is using the term "subtitles" here where the Australian Caption Centre using "captions"):
Through assistance from the Federal Government’s Department of Family and Community Services, the Australian Caption Centre manages the Subtitled Video Project (SVP). The project’s objectives are to cover entertainment video releases within Australia that have not been captioned when first released internationally and to cover video releases of Australian titles & television series.
Here's another excerpt from AusCap's website (this time about New Zealand):
Mr Kim Robinson, a Deaf resident of Blenheim, New Zealand, has taken a complaint to the NZ Human Rights Commission regarding the lack of captioning on the cinema version of The Lord of the Rings. [...] He proposes that movies should be screened with subtitles which Deaf viewers would see by wearing special glasses.
(post note - I used a variety of these terms and concepts as this case was a 'test case' to see which bait the fish would bite. Language is not a Human Right in New Zealand, therefore I had to look at other ways to ensure that the issue gets the attention it deserves without having to go into the lingual arguments. To date the case is still being worked on by a group of representatives from the Deaf/Hearing-impaired and Cinema Industry. This has resulted in [3] being created.) Regards - Kim Robinson

This is from the organisation that endorses the subtitles/captions distinction! If you look further, especially community organisations and situations of everyday use by Australians, you will find the term 'subtitles' is mostly used a general term for any text that appears on the bottom of the screen, and is commonly used by both deaf and hearing Australians to refer to what North Americans might call captions. In my work here in Australia (I work in television) and in my personal life in the Deaf community here, everyone I know uses the terms in this way. Also remember that the contributor Gary Robinson found the same thing when researching for his books on captioning: "virtually all [Australians] used the terms "subtitling" and "closed captioning" interchangeably".
'Captioning and Subtitling International', the organisation you referred to to back up your claims, is (strangely enough) international - it's not Australian! According to their own website, they are an amalgamation a company providing services to Europe (principally the UK) and a company that operates in North America. So it's no surprise that they use both terms in their name (note teletext subtitles for the deaf in the UK), and of course, it says nothing about use of the terms here in Australia.
The other organisation you referred to, Deafness Forum, in a press release about the very campaign you are talking about, begins their press release with the term "captions" and then later uses the term "subtitles". The two terms are being used interchangeably.
DEAFNESS FORUM AND AAD CALL FOR LATEST SONY BLOCKBUSTERS TO BE CAPTIONED - Since 4 May 2001, open captioned films have been available to cinema distributors in Australia through Tripod Captioned Films and the response from Australian audiences has been very enthusiastic. However, not all movies are available in open caption format.[...] This has led to complaints from Deaf and hearing impaired cinemagoers in Australia [...] One cinemagoer has said "by the time we eventually get to see the movie with subtitles, everybody who hasn't got a hearing loss has already watched it on the big cinema screen without subtitles."
Furthermore, throughout the Deafness Forum's policy on sporting venues, they use the term "subtitles/captions" (they want TVs in the gym to play with the CC decoder on). And (we're starting to see pattern here) their info page on "Television Access" carries the heading "Closed Captioning (Supertext Subtitles)".
So you've "visited" Australia as an overseas consultant on captioning. This is enough evidence that we accept your description of language use in Australia? Congratulations on your linguistics degree - perhaps you should refer back to your course notes about language variation.
I've put a 'factually disputed' tag on the top of the page until this is resolved. -- ntennis 02:25, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
This seems a little harsh. The argument is somewhat minor, and doesnt really pertain to the majority of the facts in this article. --Bonus Onus 02:41, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
I'm open to other suggestions! However as the article has been reverted three times by Joe Clark times to the same wording, and I have tried to re-phrase or re-word the information three times, I felt the dispute warranted a tag (see Wikipedia:Dispute). Please suggest a better approach to a resolution. :) -- ntennis 02:58, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
The subject matter we're disputing is a tiny fraction of what's contained in the article. I, also, believe that the disputed banner is a bit much. I disagree with Joe on this one, but it's just not major enough to drag down the whole article. How about if we simply don't mention Australia and New Zealand in that sentence? And, just for the record, ntennis, it's "Robson" not "Robinson." Thanks. Gary D Robson 21:49, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Whoops! Sorry about mis-spelling your name Mr Robson. As you probably noticed I already removed the reference to Australia and New Zealand rather than face an edit war. I accept your proposal to keep Australia and New Zealand out of the article and remove the 'dispute' tag - please go ahead and do so. As the issue is (hopefully) laid to rest for the moment, I will, however, remind contributors that Wikipedia is actively trying to remove North-American bias and become more relevant to all parts of the globe. This solution is a step backwards in that respect. Cheers. -- ntennis 04:55, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Further on subtitles/captions[edit]

Well, you know, it's not ad hominem to list sources and state eyewitness histories. If necessary, I can also go into the storeroom here and look up the inch or so of printed matter from Australia on the topic of captioning.

Is it just barely possible that my qualifications are relevant, and that they are actually more relevant than working in TV in Oz and knowing a few deaf people?

The link I provided to the Captioning and Subtitling International Web site, had it actually been followed, would have shown you that they use "captioning" to describe what they do in Oz. They may be a foreign-owned company, but they are nonetheless carrying out business in Australia.

It is relevant that I have a B.A. in linguistics because I was being accused of a kind of language imperialism in imposing an americanism (I'm actually Canadian) on the glorious and independent British and Scottish people. Captions are called captions in Australia and not because I think they should be.

Clearer now, ntennis?

Not the ideal solution[edit]

Even if it's only a relatively minor point of the article, it's disappointing that the issues regarding the distinction between "captions" and "subtitles" had to be resolved by removing the mention of Australia and New Zealand from the article.

At the grass-roots level in the Australian deaf community the two terms aren't distinguished and so it seems misleading to suggest that there is a clear-cut distinction. Perhaps we could incorporate that into the article - that at an official level the terms are sometimes distinguished, but within the community itself they are not distinguished?

Mija 04:50, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you, Mija. Unfortunately, our Canadian spokesman, Joe Clark, based on a couple of visits with people at the highest level of captioning in Australia, has decided to speak for the Australian populace at large, and I don't particularly want to get in a petty "you add it and I'll take it out" edit war with him. It's counter-productive, and it's much easier to just leave Australia out of that paragraph at the moment. Gary D Robson 15:25, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

I don't need an American lecturing me on what's correct for Australians[edit]

This is a request for Gary D. Robson, an American, to stop implying that because I'm Canadian I must be incorrect on the topic of the terms "caption" and "subtitle" in Australia. The crux of the argument is that I'm not Australian, so my expertise-- despite my firsthand knowledge-- can be ignored. But Robson isn't Australian, either. Where does that leave him?

I'll presume that unsigned comment is from Joe Clark, and I'll request that he stop implying that because I'm American I must be incorrect... *sigh*
I had already agreed to not revert your edits before you made your rather pointless posting above, Joe, so why don't you and I stay out of it and let people like ntennis who actually live in Australia decide how to write text applying to their country? Gary D Robson 22:21, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm careful to log in before providing comments. If the system doesn't identify me, the system needs improvement.
The point, nonetheless, is that an American is somehow valiantly defending the right of an Australian to assert that his Australianness makes him right and my non-Australianness makes me wrong. The American is in no position to do so, since he's just as non-Australian as I am. Address the point, please, Gary. Joe Clark
Okay, Joe, I shall address the point. You, a Canadian, have worked with the Australian captioning industry, and you assert that the terms "caption" and "subtitle" are always clearly distinguished, with distinct meanings. I, an American, have worked with the Australian captioning industry, and I assert that the terms are oft confused and used interchangeably, even though a distinction does exist. Given that you and I--both foreigners--disagree, I tend to give extra weight to the input of ntennis, who lives and works in Australia and encounters more of the day-to-day use of both words in both print and conversation. It's not complicated, and it's not personal. Gary D Robson 17:20, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
While I agree with Gary that members of a speech community know their own vocabulary better than outsiders do, I want to emphasise that this dispute should not be decided on the basis of an individual's claim to authority. It can easily be resolved by looking at the evidence. The original claim that the two terms ("subtitles" and "captions") are used interchangeably in Australia is verified by ample evidence above. I could add many more examples - programs outside of prime time on the ABC (the main government TV station) carry the teletext message "this program is not subtitled", while programs on (commercial broadcaster) channel 7 say "this program was captioned by the Australian Caption Centre". The converse claim, made solely by Joe Clark, that Australians exclusively use the terms in the same way as North Americans, is alledgedly backed up by an "inch of printed matter in his storeroom". Even if these documents exclusively refer to captions not subtitles it can hardly disprove the numerous regular uses of the term "subtitles" by prominent sources (ABC, AAD, Deafness Forum, Aust Govt) and individual Australians which are evidenced above. If we accept Joe Clark's assertion, then all of these relevant Australian bodies and indiviual consumers are incorrectly using Australian English. How odd. ntennis 03:48, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
p.s Can we stop using phrases like "the terms are oft confused". It's like saying Australians "confuse" the terms "flat" and "apartment". We simply use both. Call us adaptable. ;)

And now, yet another Robson[edit]

The other Robson's addition of "improvements" to the discussion of "instant" captioning (a term nobody uses, not even in Australia) does little but add a link to an old article about Ceefax that could (and, according to Wikipedia practice, should) go at the end of the article.

How does this help, exactly?

Another unsigned comment. Joe Clark, I presume? If you don't like what Adrian Robson wrote, fix it, don't just grouse about it. And don't try to connect it to me with your snooty "another Robson" comments--I don't know Adrian, although it wouldn't matter if I did. Gary D Robson 22:24, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
Contrary to Gary's complaint, rewriting an edit that one does not like is not the only solution. I asked the author to defend the edit's purpose. If he can't do that, it's pretty strong evidence the edit shouldn't be there. – Joe Clark


I'm not sure it's the best idea in the world to use a registered service mark as an illustration for an article on captioning. – joeclark 20:14:42, 2005-08-19 (UTC)

I agree completely. I have substituted a generic symbol, which everyone except NCI uses. I drew this symbol myself and released it into the public domain, so there can be no trademark issues. The design itself has also been released into the public domain by WGBH. Gary D Robson 16:13, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

What are Closed Captions?[edit]

I had a guess as to what cc-s are, but I wanted to find out. This article is waaaay to long and complicated in getting to a simple statement (definition) of cc. The opening should be simplified and cleaned up. THEN, the article can get into all the technical stuff. The next thing I wanted to know was how some-one can SEE the texts (on t.v.), assuming one has a newer t.v. Maybe the answer is in the article, but I'm none the wiser. Please tell us now, using straight-forward English!

Whoever wrote the preceding comment has a good point. If somebody can come up with a good public-domain picture of captions on a television screen, I'll write a new introduction to the article that explains what captions are to the layman before launching into the technical stuff and applications of captioning. Gary D Robson 16:54, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
Opening paragraph is confusing. Particularly the last words. I'm still not sure the difference between the terms 'open' and 'closed'.Preroll (talk) 21:05, 26 October 2014 (UTC)


LITO is commonly used to refer to NTSC's Closed Captioning on LIne Twenty One. A simple Google search will show this as well. In the future, please do not remove information unless you are absolutely sure that it is false. --tonsofpcs (Talk) 21:13, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

I disagree. I followed your Google search, and the majority of the results having nothing whatsoever to do with broadcasting or captioning. Six of the top 50 results have to do with broadcasting, and most of those contain the precise text: "The US "CC" is known widely in technical circles as LITO = LIne Twenty-One! where it lives." -- right down to the exclamation point. I've been working in the captioning field since 1989, and I've met most of the major players in the field. I've also written three books and over 50 magazine and newspaper articles about captioning technology, and I've never heard the phrase before. Having a paltry 230 hits on Google, of which 90% or so seem unrelated, doesn't make it "widely used." Somebody made up a new acronym, and you may be using it widely, but that doesn't mean this Wikipedia article needs to. Gary D Robson 00:07, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
OK, I need some clarification here why Gary D. Robson can get away with listing his qualifications without challenge, but when I do it, some guy whose sole qualification is "I talked to a deaf person once" can attempt to invalidate my qualifications. – joeclark 01:38, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
It's a matter of context, Joe. In this particular example (LITO), I'd be very interested in whether you've heard the acronym before and whether you consider it "commonly used." I stated my qualifications in the previous paragraph because they're germane to the issue of whether LITO is a widely-recognized abbreviation. In the Australian discussion, I really don't think your core qualifications are being challenged. It's just that when we're discussing Australian lingo, an Australian's opinion must be given higher weight, as he is exposed to it far more regularly than you or I. Please do weigh in on the LITO discussion, by the way.Gary D Robson 04:33, 1 October 2005 (UTC)


Supertext is definitely a trademark and is owned by the Australian Caption Centre along with the S logo. Networks not using the ACC cannot use the terms Supertext or the S logo, or they'll get sued.

Not Enough History - Possible Errors Too[edit]

There's hardly any history or background of the technology that made closed captioning possible. Whose invention/idea was this? How did it come to be adopted worldwide, what motivated television companies to provide this service etc. 03:42, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Additionally, on the page for "The French Chef" (television show) I have found this claim: "A 1971 episode of The French Chef was the first television show to be captioned for deaf viewers." This runs in contradiction to the current history posted in the "Closed captioning" page. Ptrimby 04:58, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Closed Captioning of Video Games[edit]

First video game Confirmation[edit]

Police_Quest_IV: Open Season, released in 1993, CD-ROM version was one of the first games to use video-like graphics and subtitles. Though it was primarily used for folks without soundcards, the fact of the matter is, it did provide dialogue since it follows the definition or closed captions. It was off unless enabled, and enabling it did not disable audio. I'm not too sure if it indeed describe audio, since I didn't play that game since I was a teenager, I would say PQ4 is one of the first games to have CC, since Zork was four years later.


--Jweinraub (talk) 04:07, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Confirmation needed[edit]

Can anyone confirm that the Video Games listed actually create closed-captions, and not open-captions or subtitles? If so, it would be nice to have information on how these games accomplish this task (and of course, information on how to create your own closed captions using some of the game system's hardware). --tonsofpcs (Talk) 06:20, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

I was the one that added Zork: Grand Inquisitor to the list, and I can definitely confirm that it's closed captioning. You have to go into a control panel to turn it on, which is the definition of closed captioning. As for the rest of your question, the games don't accomplish the task: the programmers do. I know of no way for a non-programmer to add captioning to a game. Zork GI, by the way, runs on a computer rather than a console, so there's no "game system hardware" per se. Gary D Robson 22:08, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

could someone explain why exactly video games need cc? is this a joke? Bob A 04:20, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

CC would permit people with hearing disabilities to understand and play video games. Unless you're advocating that people who can't hear shouldn't be able to play, I doubt we are joking very much. Otherwise, mute your TV and play Halo. --lux 06:16, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Many Playstation 2 games are captioned. I don't know what the motivation of the game designers is for including captions, but I know a lot of kids play games with the sound down to avoid annoying the family, and even with the sound up the funny character voices are sometimes hard to understand, especially for ESL speakers. So a large proportion of people who would be using them are hearing. ntennis 07:39, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
only new games have audible speech, and even those have subtitles. the older ones (super mario rpg) have no such speech at all; everything is in text. is this so deaf people can read the music being played? i don't get it.
is this so deaf people can read the music being played? The purpose of closed-captioning is accessibility. People can get information on it, including how music is played, what kind of music, who is singing, and what is being sung. In other words, it permits deaf people to understand what is going on, everything that is going on.
But, if it was just the music, that would be fine. Unfortunately, it's not just the music. To put it unkindly, if you're saying ALL games have subtitles, you're actually wrong. Deaf Gamers, based in UK, gives reviews of games that have been recently released. They show that even now, some games are not subtitled. The review of the The Chronicles of Narnia explains that

"The biggest disappointment is that deaf gamers are not going to be able to follow the story because of the absence of subtitles. (snip) when it came to how deaf gamer friendly the game is, it kind of all falls down. As we remarked earlier there are no subtitles. This means all the movie clips are pointless for deaf gamers and the same can be said for the cutscenes. Comments made by the characters during the game are also not subtitled. (snip) Tutorial messages are shown in text which is helpful of course but it's a small consolation when you can't enjoy the game's story. (snip) The most appealing aspect of the game, the story, is lost for deaf gamers though and this puts a big question mark against whether the game is worth playing for deaf gamers. If you enjoyed the movie of the book, then you might want to give it a go, it is a good game after all, but essentially the experience is watered down somewhat from not being subtitled."

Another review is Codename: Kids Next Door
But I don't think you're saying that all games have subtitles, just that most of them have sufficient amount. It's just there's a few games that aren't subtitled. Overall, it's been a mixed bags because sometimes, in simple things, like BloodRayne, the introduction isn't subtitled, even though the rest of the game is. --Lux 23:27, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
by subtitles, i simply meant dialog being displayed onscreen. all of the older games had everything in "subtitles". there was no speech, there was no singing. the most obvious exeption to me are the two lines from super metroid. and for the newer games like final fantasy x, what's the point of having cc when you can just use "subtitles"? Bob A 23:30, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Technology specifics of subtitles on videogames systems[edit]

(We need some agreement on terms here) - closed captioning needs to be distinguished from subtitles: Closed captions are controlled at the TV receiver, while subtitles are controlled at the video source (DVD player, etc.) It's also helpful to put into the context of the video technologies used NTSC, PAL, ATSC ...
PC games presumably could support NTSC closed captioning via the Line 21 technology, if their optional 'TV out' video cards supported it. However, VGA video standards have no support for closed captions, it's either in the VGA output as part of the signal or not.

Do any PS2 titles for the NTSC console support closed captions? Or are they all based on subtitles that can be turned off or on via the console

I finally understand where we got confused. From a certain point of view, closed captioning and subtitles are pretty much the same thing. Usually, closed captioning has to be turned on, while subtitles were always on (as in foreign movies or older games), which we agree on. But, DVD (and video games) has pretty much blurred the distinction between the two terms, because they call it subtitles even though it could be called closed-captioning because it can be turned off and on.
But you were talking about closed captioning in the different narrower definition, referring to simply the Line 21 coding in TV programs and VHS that requires a special decoder to use.
In that case, no video games have closed captioning, because they don't use Line 21 and don't need a decoder. They also don't need Line 21 because subtitles should be there already. I think I might have been rude earlier. It's a thoughtful discussion because meanings have changed since DVDs didn't exist before. So subtitles always had to be there, or not. Now that you can change the option to turn it on or off, that makes subtitles more similar to closed captioning. Games are also blurring the distinction further. In this case with people asking about turning on closed captioning in the game, it means that closed captioning and subtitles are now used interchangeably. --Lux 19:26, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Being an avid gamer myself, I tried to offer another example of captioning in games, another one that shows how subtitles in a game can be more useful than simple movie captions. I removed the Mario examples; all of those examples were Mario RPG titles, which have never had spoken dialog in the first place, so they're no more "closed-captioned" than any Super Nintendo game was. The original video game edit, which stated that those games were the "only" games to offer closed-captioning, almost seems like vandalism to me. I also tried to clarify the issue about the method the game uses to display the subtitles; now that I think about it, it might be a bit misleading to compare it to a DVD, as the DVD player itself decodes and displays the subtitles, while a game console does not. If anybody has better examples of games that make use of captioning to help with the actual gameplay, please add them. Werthog 02:27, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

CC #'s[edit]

What are the difference between CC1, CC2, CC3 & CC4? 18:41, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

I added a brief description. I'll put in more when I have a chance. Gary D Robson 21:22, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Are TT1, TT2, TT3, & TT4 also considered closed captioning or are they considered something else? 19:21, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

DVD, HD DVD, Blu-ray (BD) Line 21[edit]

My understanding is that DVD NTSC video doesn't technically have Line 21 captions, but stores the information as user data somewhere; and accommodating players will place that information over the video signal where the decoder can access it.

More to the point, though, I think Blu-ray does the same thing. In contrast with the current article's reporting under DVD, "HD DVD and Blu-ray disc media cannot carry Line 21 closed captions, so SDH subtitles are used as the sole default method", I have seen Line 21 style closed captions -- separate from menu-accessible "SDH" subtitles -- in Blu-ray product. Early BD players cannot show the "Line 21" content, but I've done so with CyberLink software and I have been told future BD players will also. I assume this is true of HD DVD as well, but have no personal experience with that format.

Consistent with my first paragraph about DVD, I've noticed on a TV/DVD/VHS combination unit that I can access Line 21 from broadcast video, but not from the DVD player--even when I've accessed Line 21 from the same disc on another player (though this may just be a technological shortcoming of the specific DVD player in the combo unit).

I think there needs to be a correction of the following statement, or a citation given for it: "HD DVD and Blu-ray disc media cannot carry Line 21 closed captioning due to the design of High-Definition Multimedia Interface specifications that were designed to replace older analog and digital standards, such as VGA, S-Video, and DVI." There are DVD recorders with ATSC tuners that can decode captions from the DVD and then transmit the open-captioned video via an HDMI cable (such as recent DVD recorders with tuners from Panasonic). Although HDMI cables cannot transmit closed caption DATA, they can transmit decoded captions that are part of the video signal, so the use of an HDMI cable is not sufficient justification to claim that a Blu-ray DVD cannot have closed captions.Dmulvany (talk) 17:43, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

From my years of working with line 21 on DVD players, I can confirm that the closed caption data is stored in a separate user data packet, and isn't really stored in the video as line 21, for example.

I can confirm user Dmulvany comment about Line 21 captions being available from a Blu-ray discs when played in a Blu-ray player. I use two such players regularly in my engineering lab to generate Line 21 composite video. But not many Blue-ray discs seem to contain CC, last time I went shopping I guessed around 10% had the CC logo. I agree the sentence needs to be reworded. However, unless one is content to watch their high definition movies on 408i analog video, practically speaking the line 21 from a Blu-ray disc is not terribly useful. Rclott (talk) 03:54, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Rclott

The latest nonsense from U.K. English–speakers[edit]

I reverted, in an allegedly "hostile" fashion, repeated attempts to move some business about open captions (which is what they really are called) being termed "in-vision subtitles" in the U.K. and, presumably, Ireland. While this is merely another captioning-related malapropism in those dialects, I know from experience, more of which I have than most contributors to this page, that open captions are indeed misnamed as "in-vision subtitles" over there. What is not true is the claim that closed captions are also called "in-vision." I took that out, but the previous point remains in the article, which should be more than enough for the contributor who was trying to make things worse through inaccuracy.

Now, on the more general point, could a native speaker of British or Irish English please explain when a caption might be out of vision? When you're not looking at it? When it isn't decoded? When it isn't there? – joeclark 20:32, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Ooh, aren't we a bit America-centric here? – gpvos (talk) 19:09, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Stop calling me American and we’ll get along better. – joeclark 21:23, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Although I hail from The Netherlands, I have been viewing the BBC for more than ten years. The distinction here is between teletext subtitles ("out-of-vision"), for which you have to turn your TV to teletext mode and call up the subtitle page (often page 888, but for example, the French channel TV5MONDE has separate pages: 888 French (TV5 France/Belgique/Suisse), 891 French (TV5 Europe), 892 German, 893 Dutch, 894 Swedish). In-vision subtitles is when subtitles are shown on the screen by the broadcast station for all to see. This is generally done on Dutch television for foreign films, but the BBC also sometimes uses it for French films, and also for their programme See Hear for the deaf. In general, in-vision subtitles are not duplicated via teletext. However, cable operators for example often have equipment installed that converts teletext subtitles to in-vision subtitles. In the Netherlands, most cable system operators read the subtitles of TV5MONDE from teletext page 893 and render them on-screen for all to see before transmitting the picture to the home of subscribers. As you see, the difference between captioning for the deaf and subtitling for the hearing is very small in Europe. And please understand that the words "caption" and "captioning" are completely unknown over here — "subtitle" is the word. – gpvos (talk) 17:24, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, my not being a native English speaker has been showing up a bit in my previous contribution. A "caption" on television exists, of course, and it's the text usually a the bottom of the screen that describes who (or sometimes what) is being shown on the screen, generally during the first few seconds when that person appears. Never, however, does a caption contain the text that is being spoken. In my experience, there is quite a strict difference between those captions and (in-vision) subtitles. Teletext subtitles (and, I presume, North American so-called "closed captions") also contain descriptive text like "applause", or "music: Strawberry Fields by The Beatles"), but it's still a description of the sound. This suggests to me that it's the Americans who have got their terminology the wrong way round, using the word "caption" for two different things. – gpvos (talk) 19:09, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
in the USA the term 'caption' or line21 caption CC was at some point a requirement on TV station and on other hardware equipment, such as VHS. The Line21 CC requirement was aimed to help people with hearing problems still be able to watch TV. Someguys misunterpretated the meaning of the line21 caption stream, and started to input personal impressions on sound: 'applause'ing, 'water drippings', 'glass breaking', 'humming voices', 'door squeak', etcetera. The indirect transmision of sounds through impressions I don't think it's a good idea. On the other hand the french TV-station M6_(TV_channel) had a bright idea to change colour on different speaker's line-out. The use of the teletext subtitle on TV5 and M6 is targeted for a different reason. (talk) 15:40, 26 August 2010 (UTC)


I do not support Joeclark removing the merge tag. Subtitle (captioning) as well as Wikipedia:WikiProject Filmmaking and Wikipedia:WikiProject Deaf already have discussions to merge the two articles. Taric25 19:23, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

It should remain seperate as if you come from an English/ Australian/ New Zealand background etc you have not heard of Closed Captioning, a cross reference to sub titles is appropriate. The present article gave me a good understanding of the difference between the two. If there was no article about Closed Captions then i would not have worked it out —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 22:32, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
First off, I'm American. Second, I'm saying we should have one article to eliminate overlap and compare & contrast. Taric25 01:59, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Nobody cares where you are from. Wikipedia is used by the world and shouldn't be dictated by any one nationality - and certainly not a minority. Subtitles are different from closed captioning and it clearly shouldn't be merged. IceHunter 23:00, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
The previous editor assumed I was not American and had not heard of closed captioning, so that is why I declared my nationality, not because Wikipedia should “be dictated by any one nationality”. When you reply to another editor's comments, please be sure to respond with civility. Taric25 07:18, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

You don’t have to “support” my deletion. Subtitling and captioning are two separate things and their separate articles will remain. – joeclark 05:24, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
That is not for you alone to decide. Subtitling and closed-captioning share many aspects and techniques. The two articles have enormous overlap. A possible solution would be to create three articles (one main article and two subarticles):
  • "Subtitling" or maybe even just "Titling" – about subtitling in general and all technical aspects (on-screen versus line 21 versus teletext versus DVD versus video game versus however it's done in a cinema or during an opera performance in theater – I've seen supertitling there), as well a section summarizing the differences between captioning for the deaf and subtitling for hearing people.
  • "Subtitling for the deaf" or maybe "Closed captioning" or "Captioning" – containing only the parts relevant to captioning for the deaf.
  • "Foreign-language subtitling" or maybe "Subtitling for hearing people" – containing the bits about foreign-language subtitling.
I am open to suggestions about article titles and the exact distinctions about what should go where. – gpvos (talk) 17:03, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree with gpvos. We should have one main article to show how they compare and contrast. We only need one article, unless it becomes too long, in which case we would have one main article and two supporting articles. (Take a look at featured article Final Fantasy VII and its supporting articles Gaia (Final Fantasy VII) & Characters of Final Fantasy VII.)
We currently have a section comparing and contrasting the uses for people who are D/deaf and hard–of–hearing and people not deaf or hard–of–hearing. The first section is very short! This is a perfect place to import a lot of this information.
The name of the article is Subtitle (captioning), not Subtitle (except captioning). You could show how these compare and contrast in the appropriate section. Taric25 18:58, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Cross-referencing is fine, but I do not support the merge. Subtitles and closed-captioning were created for different ends. Muddying them up through merging would make people think these terms were interchangeable and thus allow them to think they have fulfilled the US Americans with Disabilities Act by merely providing subtitles, which do not necessarily include non-dialog information. Because the UK-Australia-New Zealand imperial axis has different sets of laws of which I am unfortunately highly ignorant, I reiterate that I do not support the merge. --Lux 19:14, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, I suppose we could have a subsection "legal necessities in the US of A" somewhere. – gpvos (talk) 21:54, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
We must remember Wikipedia is worldwide, an we must explain things with world view, not an American point of view. We should mention the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but give other nations around the world a part too. For example, in the United Kingdom, many Welsh TV shows have captions (teletext) in English, for people who do not speak Welsh, as well as captions in Welsh, for Welsh–speakers who are Deaf. Taric25 18:58, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Many closed captions are not for people who are D/deaf and hard–of–hearing. Many American TV shows have CC2 or CC3 in Spanish, and they have neither speaker identification nor sound effects (i.e. [Car horn]). Spanish soap–opeas often have CC3 in English. Also, PBS uses CC2 for Basic English. Taric25 18:58, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Note: my musings above, under The latest nonsense from U.K. English–speakers, may be interesting too. – gpvos (talk) 15:59, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
This entire discussion is based on a political ideology similar to the claim that the pages for Quebec and Manitoba should be merged because they’re both provinces (variants of the same thing). If you want a stronger example, check the difference of opinion between Tibetan and Chinese contributors on the Tibet article. Despite what British and Irish ideologues may wish were true, captioning is captioning and subtitling is subtitling. Essentially, proponents of this merger wish to lie to Wikipedia readers and claim that subtitling is the base form and subtitling for the deaf (which “Americans” call captioning) is some curious and marginal variant. To continue with the same comparison, you are claiming that Tibet isn’t its own country but a province of China (Cf. Iraq and Kuwait before the Gulf War). Through smug dismissal of any perspective you deem “American,” which itself shows how well you can research your opponents, you are engaged in a bad-faith effort to rewrite facts. Captioning *is not* subtitling; subtitling *is not* captioning.
Again, if you want to compare and contrast the two fields, go to town. If you want to add (likely unverified and false) claims about which countries use which terms to refer to what, go to town. But don’t try to pretend you’re proposing this change out of anything other than a wilful intent to rewrite the facts of the world you live in. You aren’t trying to improve Wikipedia; you’re attempting to *erase* your opponents’ beliefs and lie to readers.
I reiterate: You’re doing this in bad faith and you are attempting to lie to readers. Not only am I not assuming good faith, a Wikipedia principle, for the third time I explicitly state you are doing this in bad faith and in the service of dishonesty.
If you *try* to merge the articles, this will suddenly become one of those Wikipedia battles that makes it into the news – and one that will be taken to the highest levels. Do you really think you have enough *evidence* on your side – apart from claims that you represent a “world” rather than an “American” perspective – to win a battle you yourself are threatening to cause? – joeclark
You are making up a strawman argument. Beliefs and/or politics do not come into it, at least on my part. I do not wish to lie, I wish to make these articles more representative of the truth, and you are insulting me by claiming otherwise and even accusing me of bad faith. I do not care the tiniest bit whether subtitling is a form of captioning or the other way round — they are different technical means of achieving essentially the same thing, which is representing the sounds of a programme as text which is (optionally or not optionally) shown on screen. Maybe you could try to put up a cogent argument against my previous sentence, because you haven't convinced me at all yet. Also, you may want to stop threatening. In the end, it rarely works. – gpvos (talk) 20:19, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Subtitling is writing what is being said, or a representation of what is being (if verbatim takes too long), its not about sounds. That's how its been for more than half a century in Europe where it was invented. Of course as we can read in wired a little group of wikipedia nazis force their way through always. A pity. Also, the guy above you is right and he wasn't threatning, just stating facts.IceHunter 23:04, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Subtitling is neither necessairly writing what is being said nor necessairly a representation of what is being. For example, many subtitles are "titles only" that are only translations of on-screen text. People who are Hearing use these with dubbed programs, because they can hear the speakers and read the subtitle when onscreen text is in a foreign language. Closed captions use these too. For example, many programs on NBC and Telemundo are in English and have Spanish in the SAP, or vice-versa. When people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing turn on CC3, the captions are in Spanish with speaker identifications and sound effects (i.e. (laughing), (thunder clap), etc.), and when on screen text is in English, the Closed Caption shows the title in Spanish, even though no narrator reads the title aloud in Spanish in many cases. Taric25 07:18, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Not only is there no consensus to merge the subtitling and captioning articles, there is no demonstrable urge to do so, except from one editor (further evidence of ideology being used to falsify facts). The idea of merging the articles is dead in the water. Leaving up a notice that “it has been suggested” to merge the articles leaves the impression, again misleading, that the suggestion has any traction whatsoever. It doesn’t. You have other options at your disposal, already enumerated, if you wish to use Wikipedia to discuss the differences and similarities in captioning and subtitling, which are now, always have been, and will continue to be two different things. – joeclark 02:24, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

I have provided evidence to compare and contrast subtitles and captions in Subtitle (captioning). Please remember to assume good faith. Taric25 07:18, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, this is the first time since I became a Wikipedian (two years ago now? I've not had much impact, and tend to do bouts of editing) that I've looked to take part in a discussion on any wikipedia article... and I'm shocked. I've read through the whole of this page (more or less) and it just seems to be full of people insulting each other and going OTT if someone criticizes them :S I'm actually rather disappointed.

Anyway, about subtitles/closed captions: I can understand people wanting the two to be merged, but I'm afraid I don't support the merge. Aside from being English and thus preferring the term subtitles for both forms (which I don't *really* think should be a major issue in this debate) I have actually thought about it in a non knee-jerk reaction sort of way.

I think subtitling and closed captioning are two different things (don't worry, I shan't repeat everyone's reasons why) but I could understand two similar things being merged in a compare and contrast article... unless there would be sufficient different content for both, and/or a sufficient difference between the subjects - which would require a lot of explaining and thus result in an overly long and complex merger article, which wouldn't really be beneficial to anyone.

In terms of the word use (which seems to have been a bit of a focal point for this discussion): even if we just went with one term (subtitles, for instance) I would support there being two articles (subtitles vs. subtitles for the hearing impaired, for example). I know that the articles would probably be named for the more American closed-captioing term, in the same way that the terms anaemia/sulphur/foetus aren't to be found here - but the term subtitle is still very strong in America and elsewhere for a certain form of subtitle at least. I'm an anime fan/obsessed anime weirdo ^_^ and have been for years and years, and everyone I've ever spoken to, any forum I've ever visited, and any reviews I've ever seen (with people ranging from the UK, USA, Canada etc. to Japan, Germany, Jordan etc.) have absolutely always used the term subtitles. There are endless debates over subs vs. dubs, and for the term closed-captioing to be so common in the USA this absolutely universal use of the term subs by millions of people surely shows that a *lot* of the public see the two as different things?

I apologise for this being so poorly written and not making much sense - I'm rather sleepy at the moment, after all :) Alfirin 08:53, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I added much more information comparing and contrasting subtitles and closed captions in Subtitle (captioning) that I verified with relaible sources. Taric25 07:18, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

If anyone would like to discuss whether or not there is a consensus for merger, then please feel free to discuss it here. Thank you. Taric25 (talk) 15:56, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

It's been nearly 10 months since this discussion began. From my count we have at least 6 or 7 users (when you include my objection with the others) to merging. There seems to be 2 or 3 users that support such a merge that have voiced their opinions. This isn't even a consensus let alone a simple majority of people that support this. I commend your efforts, but this merge proposal has been dead since even before joeclark stated that "Not only is there no consensus to merge the subtitling and captioning articles, there is no demonstrable urge to do so, except from one editor (further evidence of ideology being used to falsify facts). The idea of merging the articles is dead in the water." That was all the way back in August. It's time to remove these (which I will do once again). Radagast83 (talk) 07:55, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

How to report to FCC (For USA)[edit]

I live in the USA, I'm pretty sure the law in the states is, all programming must be captioned. USA channel (ironically) doesn't have any programming captioned as far as I've seen. I know there's a way to report it to the FCC. I can't find it anywhere. Their website is extremely slow, and annoying to navigate. Maybe this is something that should be added to the page? I may be near deaf, but I'm not an expert on the law. Woops, edited it, meant FCC, not CFF

USA Network is a closed-cable television service - as such, the regulations are different for them than a broadcast network. I am not sure, but I do not believe that bdcst regulations apply to cable. Can check for information on it.

J Kulacz (talk) 07:46, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

First of all, this is a WP:FORUM message, but I can assure you that USA network is closed captioned. Perhaps your cable company is stripping them out. -- KelleyCook (talk) 16:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

High-Definition Multimedia Interface[edit]

I want to raise awareness of the HDMI and how it may affect the future of closed captioning.

As far as we know, the FCC requires only TV to have a decoder, not the DVD player. The problem with HDMI is that it cannot transmit Line 21 information so the TV can decode the stream of closed captions. As the HDMI specifications are growing in popularity and are difficult to change, access to captioning is therefore dependent on the decoders being included in the players, rather than just the TV.--MiddleLight 18:05, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Government claims credit - Oct 20, '08 update[edit]

The National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo. claims that the television industry awarded NIST (then the National Bureau of Standards) an Emmy for its contribution to the development of closed-captioning, though they were trying to develop it to provide an alternative to the High Frequency radio broadcasts of time signal standards on radio stations WWV and WWVH.

It is on their website at , although I am not sure how, or if, it should be added to the page.

J. Kulacz

Note: Oct 20, 2008. - The NIST has revamped their website. The link above now shows the history of their mechanical clocks. The Emmy award page to NBS/ABC/"The Mod Squad" for NBS' development and claiming complete credit for closed captioning for the atomic clock is found at - J. Kulacz (talk) 06:51, 18 November 2007 (UTC) (talk) 21:48, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Original research, a reminder.[edit]

All of the self-styled experts contributing to this page, a reminder that your expertise is meaningless in the context of Wikipedia and that only facts published in another source and properly referenced are suitable for inclusion. So stop bickering and use only referenced material, please. Also the point of Wikipedia is to create the best encyclopedia, and in doing so we are a collaboration of colleagues. Please treat each other with the respect due a colleague, and try to assume that we all share the same goal of producing an encyclopedia. It doesn't matter where you are from or what your personal experience is -- with regard to article content -- we are all bound by the same rules. User:Pedant (talk) 17:20, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

"Closed" in the context of deaf culture[edit]

The term 'closed caption' in its meaning of "subtitling for the deaf" has another valid reason for being used in preference to subtitles. (Aside from the fact that titles for the deaf and hearing impaired capture more than speech-to-text, ie: music, sounds, background music lyrics, and anything else a hearing person would not expect from subtitles... the ASL sign for the word "closed" is a part of the ASL sign for "deaf" and "deafness": hearing immediately followed by closed.

I believe that this fact is one of the reasons for the origination of the term 'closed caption'. This was taught to me as fact by my college Ameslan instructor in the late 1970's, but I cannot find a reference supporting it. I don't claim any expertise in this field. User:Pedant (talk) 19:42, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Teletext Subtitles Can be Taped on Regular VHS.Mentioning it can't be done in Captions article=fully wrong[edit]

Created on November 24th around 22:00 (10 PM)German (CET) Time(Uk Time+1 hour =Germanys Time Zone)

This is user Tvshowfangermany001

In the article "closed captioning",on the main article,the creator of the article mentions like this: "Teletext Subtitles can't be stored on VHS due to bandlimit width limits". The editor of the article is luckily fully wrong: That's because Teletext-Subtitles can indeed be stored on regular VHS Tapes without any troubles: Back in 1990,many companies were building VCRs with built in Teletext-Decoders. Some Companies who were offering VCRs with built in Teletext-Decoders are:AKAI(JPN),Grundig(Germany) Many other companies were also including the feature,but I can't remember any others names. The last great VCR I bought in 1997 was an AKAI VSG-878 EOG VPT with built in Teletext-Decoder. So if someone has a VCR with built-in Teletext-Decoder,he can very well tape Teletext-Subtitles onto VHS-Tapes without any problems. After 1997 VHS Recorders didn't have any Teletext-Decoders built in,because it made the product VCR much more expensive and its supposed programming aid by Teletext was crushed by "Showview"(TVplus).

After the Tape is recorded with the Teletext-Subtitles stored on the VHS,you can take the VHS and put it into any working VHS Recorder or VHS Player and play back the Tape with the Teletext Subtitles being properly displayed without any problems.

However,if you only possess a regular VHS VCR without a built in Teletext-Decoder in the VCR,you can't store the Teletext-Subtitles on VHS.It is a must to have Teletext-Decoder in the VCR,it's not enough to just have a TV with Teletext and try to store Teletext-Subtitles on normal VHS.

I just wanted to point out that the writer of the basic article about closed captioning was wrong, because he surely didn't know of PAL-VCRs with built in Teletext-Decoders which can record the Teletext-subtitles onto any VHS tape and allow playback of the Tape with Teletextsubtitles on any VHS Recorder.

Maybe not many people care about it but I just wanted to put it right,that what's written there is not right,that it's basically right with a normal VHS Rec.but it's wrong if you got VCR with Tele- text-Decoder built in.

Hope to have been helpful

Marco (Tvfan001Germany)

This is still incorrect, as eia-608 can be recorded with any VCR due to line 21 being close to the start of the picture lines on a frame with 525 lines. Most PAL countries use 625 lines and line 21 for subtitle pages, so there are a few more lines before the picture lines start, so line 21 isn't recorded. A few euro VCRs do a shift down of the subtitle line so it is in the tapes recording range as VHS only records a subset of the broadcast lines making for a lower resolution image. The decoders in these VCRs is only for TVs that don't find the shifted down subtitle line and for the very basic EPG extension to the EBU Teletext format. The problem with Teletext/Ceefax is that the hammed page header can only recover from only one bit error and if there is one error there is most likely more due to transmission noise, meaning that that unrecoverable header would make the whole page unusable. Also due to the greater number of bits in one teletext packet and the lower bandwidth of VHS lines the noise error ratio is much greater. --Helmboy (talk) 11:29, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Re: Header section warning[edit]

Please consider removing warning re too-long introduction as intro was rewritten on 15 April 2008. The News Hound 15:34, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

What about languages that don't use the Roman alphabet?[edit]

Current closed captioning standards -- for both analog and digital TV in the USA -- are limited to the Roman alphabet. They don't even support cyrillic, let alone Hebrew, Arabic, Devanagari (for Hindi etc.), Chinese, Japanese or Korean. Will this limitation also hold true in the future, or will we see evolution, say toward incorporation of Unicode in closed captioning? LADave (talk) 20:26, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Closed captioning, as distinct from subtitles, only supports the Latin alphabet. As it is only used in the United States, there's little point in adding support for other alphabets. The future is much more likely to give way to general multi-purpose subtitles rather than changing closed captioning.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:29, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Line 21 Analog captioning supports the Latin alphabet with extended characters to cover not only English but Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Danish, Italian, Finnish and Swedish. Support is also present for non-Latin alphabets, Chinese GB 2312-80, and Korean KSC-5601-1987. I don't see Japanese specifically mentioned, but both the Chinese and the Korean character sets include some Japanese characters (I don't know if it's complete or not).[1] Digital closed captions by default supports the Latin alphabet, but also has provision for 16-bit character sets [2]

That said, I live in Seoul and I've never seen any closed captioning, even in English. Years ago, my colleague advised a government committee which studied whether to require closed captions. But their conclusion was negative. I have no reference for this, but surely a report must exist somewhere, if someone wants it. Rclott (talk) 05:11, 10 January 2013 (UTC)rclott


  1. ^ EIA-608
  2. ^ EIA-708

CC for DVD players and other components[edit]

I see that the FCC has closed captioning requirements for broadcast stations and television receivers. I'm trying to find out if there are similar requirements for tape and disc players.

I suspect this question also has relevance for this Wikipedia article as the Closed captioning#DVDs section is missing citations/references. As it is, I'm thinking of a way to add a citable note about VHS tapes and that they contain raw NTSC composite video signal meaning the line 21 CC data can be encoded right on the tape and what it's played you get closed captions on the TV set.

Unfortunately, the DVD-Video article is silent on the subject of closed captioning and how the captioning data is encoded. I have one DVD player that includes line-21 CC data on its composite video jack and another player that doesn't. I suspect it's a function of the DVD player's MPEG-2 decoder and if it's able to recognize MPEG data frames that contain CC data and from that to construct/include the line 21 CC data in its composite video and/or S-video jacks. Marc Kupper (talk) (contribs) 18:59, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

External links: commercial use?[edit]

Please review this section for the possible addition of links to commercial captioning services. The News Hound 18:45, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

That could be construed as advertising of services. They are easy to find with Google. --Marc Kupper|talk 08:34, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Closed Captions and the UK[edit]

Um, sorry to drag this up again, but I read in this article that the United Kingdom doesn't use the term 'closed captions' instead of subtitles when there's a difference... but I've always known this difference and have seen the BBC offer closed captions alongside their regular subtitles. I also notice no source is specified for the claim that Britons do not differentiate them. If this is unverified could it not be stated? I believe it is untrue, myself... Sleeping Evil (talk) 23:26, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't have a source but I am British and don't differentiate between them. We tend to just call them both subtitles, whether they are the ones you put on yourself from teletext or the ones that translate language from a foreign film. I hadn't even heard of the term Closed Captioning before they introduced it to youtube and even then I thought it meant a computer transcribing the audio rather than the text already being written. I'll see if I can find a source Sweetie candykim (talk) 16:05, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Jack Foley[edit]

I requested a citation for Jack Foley as the designer of the Closed Captioning logo, given that he passed away in 1967, seven years prior to even the fledgling British CeeFax service. Anyone able to provide anything? According to, the logo was created in the 80s? Achromatic (talk) 22:34, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

It's a case of mistaken identity. I've had a conversation with Jack (John) Foley, a long-time employee of WGBH. He isn't sure if he even created the logo or if it was one of the other designers at WGBH. (Airport) 5 April 2012 —Preceding undated comment added 11:59, 5 April 2012 (UTC).

Suggestion about the table of Television brands that work well with closed captioning[edit]

As we had difficulty to find a right brand television to purchase we like to be sure some TVs should work well with captioning device. We learned some of TVs including HDTVs may not be compatibility with the digital captions. We are looking for the table to reflect TVs - HDTV - DLP - LCD - Plasma versus technical specifications on how to enable closed captioning - analog versus digital captions. Please feel free to share this information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:20, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Closed captioning#Incompatibility issues with HDTV sums up the issue. A table is nearly impossible as there are many factors starting with the model and firmware version number of the cable headend equipment, line amplifiers, set-top boxes, your TV set, and any DVD or other players you have.
Like some of the people in this talk thread you may end up buying and returning several TV sets and/or DVD players until you find the combination one that works for you. Someone living quite near you may be on a different feed (in my case I'm the next to last house on the line for Comcast. My neighbors across the street are getting their Comcast feed from an entirely different city meaning what works for them may not work for me). You finally need to hope that some component in the system does not get upgraded and breaks your CC. --Marc Kupper|talk 19:14, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

CC in Australia[edit]

When looking into what User: had added regarding the use of CC on public area TV sets I found what looks like what could be a great resource for the article in general as they include sections on the history of CC in Australia and pretty much anything else one would want to know about CC in that area. The file is titled "Submission to DBCDE’s investigation into Access to Electronic Media for the Hearing and Vision Impaired" and is available in PDF and RTF format. --Marc Kupper|talk 08:27, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

First use of closed captioning on American television[edit]

The article says, "The first use of closed captioning on American television was on March 16, 1980."

I wonder if this is correct. I spent a few hours at WGBH in Boston in the summer of 1975 watching a team of people prepare closed captions for the evening news show. I have no source that I can quote that will confirm this. But perhaps someone who has more details of WGBH's work in this area can come up with something. It may be that the words above refer to some other "first". Perhaps someone can help clarify when closed captioning actually began in the US. Adrian Robson (talk) 18:02, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

The existing article content is specific enough that we should be able to find news articles. It possible there was experimentation with CC in 1975. I took a look at patent applications to see if some dates can be nailed for the technology. From the USPTO advanced search we can try things like
  • television AND captioning AND ISD/1/1/1970->1/1/1980 - which will look for captioning patents in the 1970s. Nothing interesting spotted.
  • TTL/(captioning) AND ISD/1/1/1960->1/1/1980 - Zero hits as the word captioning was never used in a patent title from 1960 to 1980.
  • TTL/(captioning) AND ISD/1/1/1960->1/1/1990 - Same as before but up to 1990. This finds
    • 4,310,854 - January 12, 1982 - Television captioning system (filed August 24, 1979) - This is not the line 21 CC system but it mentions "Presently, television receivers are being developed in the United States and elsewhere which can extract digital data nested in vertical interval." The prior art patent list was not useful.
  • "line 21" AND TTL/(television) AND ISD/1/1/1960->1/1/1990 - 54 hits
  • "line 21" AND TTL/(television) AND ISD/1/1/1960->1/1/1980 - 30 hits - none look right
  • TTL/(television AND TEXT) AND ISD/1/1/1960->1/1/1990 - getting closer but no mccoy, click, click, a few times.
    • 4,205,343 - May 27, 1980 - Television system transmitting enciphered data signals during field blanking interval (filed November 8, 1976)
It's not clear if patent 4,205,343 is the one we are interested in. It's filed by what appears to be a standards organisation in England. I need to run and may not have more time this weekend to do research but hopefully the above will inspire someone. Given that it's a standards organization that filed the patent it's entirely possible the concept was discussed and tested prior to that which would allow for a publicized 1975 experiment in Boston. Incidentally, patent 4,205,343 does not use the word "captioning" at all and I just realized I should have looked for "blanking interval" but need to run. --Marc Kupper|talk 00:50, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Adrian, I found a time line for WGBH's captioning efforts here. It's very possible your recollection is accurate though in 1975 it would have been an open caption broadcast unless the program you saw was about the PBS efforts which may have been under way in 1975. It does appear that the PBS system broadcast a close captioned program well before the 1980 commercial broadcast mentioned in the article. --Marc Kupper|talk 02:36, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Marc, I think your suggestion must be correct. Although my visit was prompted by an interest in closed captions, it looks very likely that the team I saw was working on a rebroadcast of the news with open captions. Perhaps, there was some experimental work on closed captions going on at the same time. It seems less likely that my visit would have been just to see how captioning was done - I was based in the UK and I had already spent time with the BBC's unit that produced captioning for the deaf. It was certainly the existence or prospect of closed captions that must have attracted my attention. Thanks for helping to clarify my memory! Adrian Robson (talk) 09:00, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
"I had visited Boston's WGBH television station in 1975 where they had a unit working on what they called "closed captioning". Basically, this was the same kind of technology as Ceefax but devoted to producing captions for the deaf. The unit I visited subtitled the evening news each day and people who had the necessary decoder attached to their television were able to read the captions. But I discovered that it took a whole day to prepare subtitles for one news bulletin and that was with a team of several people." Cheers, David. Harami2000 (talk) 01:44, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Closed caption capability limited to screen size?[edit]

I could be wrong, but is it true that a screen must be at least 13 inches for cc? I don't mean the Subtitle function available on DVD movies. I can't find a portable DVD player that will cc DVD's of TV shows that I record onto my DVD recorder. The players I have use 8- and 9-inch screens. NBK1122 (talk) 23:52, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

By United States law, TVs with screen sizes of 13 inches and over are required to have integrated caption decoders. Devices with screens smaller that 13", therefore, may lack the ability to display CCs. See the "History" section of this article regarding the FCC's Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990. The News Hound 17:47, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
IIRC it's color televisions 13" and larger. Needlessly over-specific since there hasn't been a monochrome TV sold in the USA bigger than 13" since well before the passage of that law. Not very likely that any company was going to start making large monochrome TVs just to avoid having to include a CC decoder. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:06, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

External link: possible violation?[edit]

On 7 May 2009, a link to Captioning was added. Despite its status as a non-profit, this may violate guidelines as an advertising link. The News Hound 02:45, 8 May 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by The News Hound (talkcontribs)

US Close Caption vs Aus/UK Close Caption[edit]

Hi all. After some investigation myself (including buying a DVD player with CC capabilities from USA, etc), I realised that TVs made in Australia and UK cannot display USA Region 1 CCs because of the way the US CCs were created (line 21, etc). New users: Please do not get confused with CCs and subtitles. They are different especially with Region 1 DVDs.

Another case of NTSC vs PAL?

Anyone know another way around it besides buying a TV from USA or using Windows Media Player or some other software on the computer to turn on CC to watch the DVD?

Kris2099 (talk) 03:13, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Closed captions are not subtitles and are merely captions you have to choose to watch. All DVD-Video discs can contain closed captions. NTSC discs may also contain Line 21 closed captions. – joeclark (talk) 17:54, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, that is the case. Countries that uses PAL format cannot access NTSC CCs, i.e. USA Region 1 Close Captions. I have contacted the relevant authorities here in Australia about this and that's what they told me. Obviously, I did not believe them, so I went digging for information, including shipping a DVD player (capable of displaying CC) from USA. Unfortunately, companies like Paramount, CBS and Sony made DVDs (TV series only) only uses CC. They do not supply SDH or subtitles onto these TV series DVDs. Fortunately, companies like MGM, Warner provide SDH and CC on their TV series DVDs. Surprisingly, most major studios (including Sony and Paramount) supply SDH (and CC) to most or all movies that are released on DVDs. If they can supply SDH to movies, I reckon that they should do the same to all TV series.

The funny thing is all broadcasters that don't use 608 and buy in 25 frame versions of US shows, end up converting the SDI embedded 608 captions to teletext and then timescale them to match the 25 frame rate. And the real joke is Aussie originally used the more correct teletext term subtitle until they started getting US shows with burnt in CC logos, which is when they started calling them captions. Which New Zealand started doing as well around 2007.--Helmboy (talk) 07:27, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

I found out today (1st September 2009) that the latest release of CSI Season 9 by CBS/Paramount has only CC for the normal DVD edition, but they have managed to put SDH on the Blu-Ray version. Why is it so difficult for them to include SDH on the normal DVD edition as well? Most studios like Warner and MGM have both CC and SDH on their TV show releases.

The DVD specification does not allow a PAL-formatted DVD to contain closed captions. There is no technical reason for this, as PAL countries had been using EIA-608 style captions for some time on VHS tapes (I think they put it on PAL-line 25). Rclott (talk) 05:49, 10 January 2013 (UTC)rclott

EIA-608 on PAL is on line 22 in countries that used PAL with a 525 30 frame broadcast system. You can use EIA-608 on a 625 25 frame DVD however it would only be output via the composite output of the DVD player and all analog PAL TVs in 25 frame markets only have Teletext/ceefax decoder ICs. TVs with DVB-T tuners are capable of decoding EIA-608 on composite but generally either the option is disabled or removed in localized software builds. It's a shame all DVD players don't come with 608 decoders, my suggestion is to just buy 24/30 frame DVDs from overseas. Plus 625 anamorphic widescreen DVDs require a lot more non-proportional scaling due the line height differences. And finally, it's a shame 608 aren't more used on discs, given the rendered subtitles are run off the 608 captions and end up using a non-antialiased font that looks horrible when up scaled and use more space. Helmboy (talk) 07:27, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Helmboy, I agree with all except this "You can use EIA-608 on a 625 25 frame DVD". Alas, I no longer have access to the DVD specification, but I am quite sure it does not permit EIA-608 on a PAL DVD, though not for any technical reason. I suppose one could make such a DVD, but it wouldn't strictly conform to the standards. And if it isn't in the standard, probably not many, if any, DVD players would generate the CC on the composite output. I never thought about PAL televisions only have 608 decoders on the RF input and not composite inputs. The only testing I ever did was with a bunch of VHS tapes from the UK which had PAL EIA-608 captions. I suppose, at that time (early 2000's), most VCR's had composite and RF output, so a user who wanted captions simply had to use the RF interface? Rclott (talk) 23:09, 14 January 2013 (UTC)rclott
You are correct that the DVD specs don't mention it and it does entirely depend on how a vendors IC handles VBI insertion. In other words it would be a hit or miss option for the embedded STB market. However it is a perfectly useful idea for a compatible video playback solution of including text subtitles for PeeCee players instead of using clunky SRT text files. As EIA-608 is a fully defined predicable standard for formatting text, The SubRip and SubStation Alpha format implementations are not. My LG DTV has only manual debug menu options to switch on Analogue RF (608 mode), ATSC RF (708 mode) or DVB cable RF (SCTE mode) CC decoding, but vendors such a Panasonic have allow for any compatible 608 output. Helmboy (talk) 23:58, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

not just for hard of hearing[edit]

I use closed captioning because our living room (and tv) is near the kids bedrooms. I use it at night so we don't wake them up. There are many reasons to use CC, not just for lack of hearing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:35, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I use it for the same reason, or when the baby is screaming and I can't hear the TV. I do have a question - All US TV shows seem to be all caps and only in white lettering, while Australian TV uses four colours (for different people) and are in mixed case. Is this a limitation of the US system or just convenience? Lazybeam (talk) 12:00, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
U.S. Line 21 captions have featured the ability to display upper/lower case and colors since at least the mid-1990s. Presumably it is the decision of individual captioning services (and there are many) whether or not to incorporate these features into their style. The News Hound 23:33, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Our TiVo DVR also features a choice of fonts and colors. JELorenz (talk) 00:01, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Good point about other advantages of Closed Captioning. I have a Japanese wife, who can't follow fast spoken English, but always reads along with the dialog. Myself, as an actor, I like to read the text as though from a script, the way the actors first receive the words. It's quite instructive. Just got my big screen to receive HD. And no CC with it, which is very annoying. JohnClarknew (talk) 03:54, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Mr. Clark is advised to check with his television manufacturer and/or programming provider. His TV likely has the ability to display closed captions/subtitles but he may be experiencing an error from the program source. The News Hound 17:59, 21 February 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by The News Hound (talkcontribs)

How is it activated?[edit]

I the U.S., there are notifications that prgorams are available with closed captions, and the article says cc operability is built into t.v. sets nowadays, but how does noe activated the cc's? (talk) 03:37, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Caption Quality[edit]

This might not be the right place to ask, but, although I expected to, I did not find the following information in this article:

I'm looking for a forum where people discuss the quality and content of captions and/or subtitles on published movies; issues like these:

  • Grammar and spelling errors
  • Poor sync with the audio
  • Poor timing for the words to be read
  • Location in the frame
  • Captions Overlay subtitles
  • Lyrics of songs sometimes appear, not always

I'm hoping to find people interested in constructing a captions database (perhaps a "captions wiki") which will allow members of the public to fix poor captions, or generate new ones, and define forms that will facilitate fixed captions being viewed along with the movie.

Gil (talk) 19:57, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Update for NLE info[edit]

Since November 2012, Sony Vegas Pro 12 can embed CEA-708 (from text import).

This is a significant advance on the previous situation:

"I've been trying to apease our local station who wants one video file with the cc data embeded within the file. They don't want tape, they don't want a seperate mcc/scc file.. just a single usb drive with a single file on it. I've spent all month trying to get Sony Vegas Pro to do this.. no luck.. Final Cut Pro.. no luck.. Now Adobe has let me down as well. So far the only possibliy remedy would be an external program ( $5000 for the software." (March 2012)

Could someone please add info about this? I don't know enough to write about it accurately. 01:09, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Intro needs improvement for clarity[edit]

This is such an extremely long article for such a simple concept, yet it fails to present a single clear statement of what CC is. The first sentence under terminology is actually more clear in explaining it. Going on about "cc and legends are both" ... "are both" and "both are" is like starting the article about plants by saying that "plants and animals are both ....... and they are both, and .... they both do xyz. Both live in abc and both produce ... Well, ok, enough of what both do - I want to know about the one individaully and independently of the other. Thanks Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 12:01, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

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