Evaluating Digital to Analog Converter Boxes for Users of Captioning - Page 6 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #151 of 226 Old 04-13-2008, 11:09 AM
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Dana,

I've kept my Zenith on cc for the last few days, and no crashes. There are times when a line sticks, and the last word on the line spins through garbage characters (ABC). That was primetime. They were also getting backed up on cc text, and then would display 6-8 lines as single lines, moved up to mid-screen, flashing by at less than a second per line. I saw no problems on MyNetwork, locally that station broadcasts 100% HD, in case there's an SD connection to glitches.
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post #152 of 226 Old 04-13-2008, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loutouchette View Post

'09 digital shift to hit some cable viewers
By John Dunbar
The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 04.12.2008
For months, TV viewers have been told by government, by industry and by the media that if they already subscribe to cable, there's no need to worry about the coming transition to digital broadcasting.
So cable customer Doris Spurk was surprised to learn that thanks to the transition, she would have to rent a converter box for $5.95 per month, per television set, plus pay for a $60 service call to install it. With five televisions in her home, the conversion would increase her bill by 75 percent.
"It really ticks us off," the 63-year-old central Florida resident said. "If they are in the right and can do this charge these prices then the educational effort that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is doing is really misleading everybody."

Warning: Cable customers who use captioning and who convert to digital, either voluntarily or involuntarily, may also find that many of the digital channels have problems providing captions well, whereas there were no problems with the captions on the analog channels. (One person has told me of problems getting captions on nearly 50% of the channels he received through his cable company.)

Thus the digital transition can initially have a much worse effect on consumers with hearing loss than on the general population---because the FCC is not required by law to be proactive about making sure that digital captioning is working and the only enforcement is complaint-based. Cable companies apparently don't routinely check to make sure all the captioning is working over the digital channels.

Pay TV customers who find that they're get poor captioning over numerous digital channels will have good reason to explore what kinds of digital channels they can get using a converter box as soon as possible, or consider switching to another pay TV service provider with a better record of providing captioning for the digital channels. (They can also complain to their cable companies about every instance of bad captioning they're getting on all the channels, but they're supposed to be specific about the date, time and program that they get bad captions on, and then follow up with the FCC within 30 days of the response from the cable company if the response is not satisfactory.)

Personally, I think that groups of local cable customers who need captioning ought to set up meetings with the local cable company to tell them that they need to fix these caption problems asap, or they will lose a lot of customers. (The FCC process is too slow and burdensome.) Local governments also have an office that oversees the contract with the local cable company and should be contacted as well if there are a lot of problems with the captions.

Remember that this thread is supposed to focus on converter boxes for users of captioning, so there should be a connection made between a posting and the focus of the thread.

In the first round of coupons for converter boxes, cable TV and satellite TV customers are eligible to apply for the $40 coupons. After the first round is exhausted, only households that have no pay TV service will be eligible to apply for coupons. I highly recommend that deaf and hard of hearing people who have pay TV services apply for the $40 coupons before the first round is over so that they will be able to receive over-the-air broadcasts if there are problems getting captions through their pay TV service. If there is an outage of their pay TV service due to a storm or disaster, they will especially need the converter boxes to get captioned emergency news (since people with severe hearing loss can't understand radio communication, while people with normal hearing can). Unfortunately, the PSAs about digital TV are telling pay TV service customers they won't need to get a converter box without any consideration of the important role that OTA broadcast TV plays when there are outages of pay TV services, and without any consideration of how much deaf and hard of hearing people need to have access to TV since they can't use radio.

(For example, Hurricane Wilma uprooted trees in parts of Florida that knocked out cable TV services for three weeks, and deaf and hard of hearing people needed access to TV to find out about emergency resources after the hurricane.)
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post #153 of 226 Old 04-13-2008, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkingRat View Post

Dana,

I've kept my Zenith on cc for the last few days, and no crashes. There are times when a line sticks, and the last word on the line spins through garbage characters (ABC). That was primetime. They were also getting backed up on cc text, and then would display 6-8 lines as single lines, moved up to mid-screen, flashing by at less than a second per line.

I don't think I saw that specific kind of problem with either the Zenith or the Insignia. Something about your local ABC station's transmission was causing that problem, I think.

Sometimes some captions do go by too quickly, though. Yesterday, I recorded an afternoon movie from the local ABC affiliate from the DigitalStream DTX9900 CECB through my TiVo; the analog captions were abnormal, barely showing up on the screen if at all, while the digital ones were fine. It was a good thing I had turned on the digital captions as I wouldn't have been able to watch the movie otherwise. I imagine that's a problem with the TV station's captioning rather than the CECB.

Quote:


I saw no problems on MyNetwork, locally that station broadcasts 100% HD, in case there's an SD connection to glitches.

Maybe. The local MyNetworkTV digital channel hadn't been HD at the time of the problems I saw.

Thanks for your feedback.

Dana
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post #154 of 226 Old 04-16-2008, 04:54 PM
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I copy below a post from the Channel Master CM-7000 Digital to Analog Converter thread because it seems to be relevant to the topics in this thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallego View Post

Regarding the data seen at the top of the picture on SD programming of broadcast channels, before retirement I was part of the engineering staff of a major cable company. I spent some amount of time researching this issue.

Video line 21 is the last line of the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI), normally this line is out of sight and Closed Captioning (CC) data is inserted on this line. Line 22 is the first line of active video, what is not commonly known is that the FCC (1) gave Nielsen rating service permission to place data on line 22. The data is a function of Nielsen's Automated Measurement of Lineup (AMOL). Google Nielsen AMOL to see more info.

Older picture tube TVs overscanned the picture, so the data on line 22 was not a problem. Today's plasma and LCD displays don't need to overscan, so under the right circumstances will display the data.

Only some of the local broadcasters had the problem, so I worked with their engineers to see if it could be eliminated. Talking with an engineer of a station that did not have a problem I learned that their local MPEG encoder could be adjusted to eliminate the problem. So I carried that information to one of the stations that had the problem and learn that they had an older encoder that didn't have that feature. Then I sugested that they rewire the video so that the Nielsen data wasn't inserted on the digital feed, only the on the analog signal. They did so, but it only half helped as the network inserts data on one field and the station inserts on the other field.

I also saw CC data on some of the offending stations.

So I finally threw up my hands and moved on to other pressing problems.

My thoughts are that there is a mix of problems here, TV sets are being designed to a standard that the FCC allowed to be bastardized and TV stations are not paying attention to addressing the problem at their end.

After February of next year analog AMOL will be useless in the digital domain, but programming may still have it embedded and it may still be an annoyance.

(1) http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Mass_Medi.../fcc95155.html

Mallego

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post #155 of 226 Old 04-19-2008, 12:05 AM
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I've changed the capture window (moved it up 12 lines) on an MPEG-2 encoder to show what the analog (EIA-608) closed caption waveform looks like.

This picture shows a pair of NULL characters (these are sent when there's no text).



This picture show the two characters 0xe5 and 0xf2 (the letters 'e' and 'r').



To make the closed caption waveform easier to see, I removed the IEC61880 (also known as CGMS-A and WSS) waveform. Here's the previous pictures with the IEC61880 waveform (on line 20 in both fields).





You can download a short MPEG-2 clip that shows the closed captioning waveform in action here:

http://www.w6rz.net/analogcc.mpv

It can be played with VLC.

http://www.videolan.org

Ron

HD MPEG-2 Test Patterns http://www.w6rz.net
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post #156 of 226 Old 04-23-2008, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
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As many people know, significant percentages of elderly people, most of whom are female, end up with hearing loss, and many do not have computers or Internet access.

The following quote is from an article about a recent briefing session with Meredith Baker, Acting NTIA Assistant Secretary and Administrator, and her staff:

http://www.edn.com/index.asp?layout=..._id=1710024971

"And once more on converter boxes...another audience member pointed out that whereas all coupon-compatible converter boxes had achieved 24 different quality characteristics as documented by the NTIA and tested by the FCC, their differing secondary feature sets might exclude certain audience populations (a lack of closed captioning support, for example, being unacceptable for deaf and, more generally, older hard-of-hearing viewers). This feature set non-uniformity is particularly problematic because the coupons are one-time-use; if a product is subsequently returned, the $40 goes back to the U.S. Treasury. Ms. Baker's response encouraged consumers to do comprehensive research prior to purchase in order to minimize such problems (another audience member recommended the CECB, i.e. Coupon-Eligible Converter Box, comparison list at Wikipedia, which I agree is quite impressive!). She also suggested, although of course she could not definitively promise, that retailers would likely do whatever they could to please the customer, i.e. that retailer-supported unit exchanges would probably be common."

Note that the NTIA itself could and should be providing this information about which CECBs decode digital captions when coupons are sent out. They're providing information about analog pass-through to everyone; why can't they do the same for other optional features when they're important for access? Why is it assumed that deaf, hard of hearing and blind people throughout the entire USA, including rural areas, are more able to do "comprehensive research" on CECBs than people who need analog pass-through on their CECBs?

So far, all the CECBs that are sold in the brick and mortar stores appear to support digital closed captioning, but there are significant differences in the appearance of the closed captions, and there may be only one CECB sold by a particular store.

Is it reasonable to expect every single deaf and hard of hearing person to "do comprehensive research" when the NTIA itself could be gathering and communicating some basic information? I don't think so.

The lack of information about accessibility features is also a huge problem for blind and low-vision users who won't be able to access descriptive video services if there is no button on the remote for secondary audio programs, and if there is no manual provided online. (So far, I haven't heard of an online manual for the RCA CECB.)
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post #157 of 226 Old 04-24-2008, 09:54 AM
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I believe that the wave of babyboomers, I'm on the leading edge, that listened to way to much music at way to high volume in the past will cause a change in the priority for CC. Just when that begins to show is the question. Maybe for my children who will have a bigger problem for the same reason.

Yes, like many other things I tried to warn them.

HTPC With OTA only, HD with Surround is so AWESOME!
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post #158 of 226 Old 04-24-2008, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmulvany View Post

So far, I haven't heard of an online manual for the RCA CECB.

I have also not seen a User Manual for the RCA.
Does the RCA have Channel Information/Program Information I have seen no picture.

There is also not a User Manual online for the Digital Stream
That is until Tarwater made it available by scanning it into a PDF User Manual.

Maybe someone who has access to a scanner and the RCA User Manual can do the same.

Dana do you have plans to rank the CECB's for captioning?
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post #159 of 226 Old 04-26-2008, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Malouf, in terms of ranking the different CECBs, I think it's tough to do that for a number of reasons. There are different variables that will be more important to some people than to others, including features unrelated to captioning. Technically, it would also be better to compare multiple CECBs using the same TV. What looks good on my TV may look horrible on very old TVs that have no comb filtering. I do think that if people can provide objective information, that could be summarized on a chart for the different criteria (like how large the captions can get), but some people haven't attempted to quantify how large the captions can get.

It would be tougher to rank how crisp and clear the best fonts are of the different CECBs, and if I've never seen a picture of them, I couldn't rank them in a consistent manner.

For now, people can find evaluations of captioning by going to the first posting on this thread. I've provided links to the more complete evaluations.

In terms of the user manuals, scanned pages would be better than nothing at all for the rest of us who have normal sight but I feel badly for the thousands of blind and low vision people whose screenreading software can't decipher scanned pages. (The scanned text becomes part of the image and can't be read by the screenreading software that blind people use.) Manufacturers involved in a federally subsidized program like this should have been required to make their user manuals available online in an accessible format so that blind and low vision people and other people can research the features of the converter boxes ahead of time to determine whether the devices will be accessible to them. Most manufacturers provide their user manuals online anyway, so they all should be doing this. I'm hoping that if more people ask the manufacturers to make the user manual online (and with text that is accessible to blind people), that the manufacturers will do so.
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post #160 of 226 Old 04-28-2008, 10:00 PM
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I don't own a digcam, so cannot provide photos.

1. The availability of digital closed captioning features, including enhanced ones such as changing the alignment of the captions, and the number of colors available.

There's a plethora of features; regrettably, however, caption alignment is not one of them. It is sorely needed as the alignment on this box is awful. The captions are not spread out along the width of the bottom of the screen. They emanate instead from the lower left quadrant of the screen and are skewered in short, uneven lines; i.e., one line may be 2 words, the next 6 words, then 1 word, then back to 4 words, etc. There are never more than 6 words to a line. Also, the CC often migrates to the upper left quadrant. In either location, the CC reaches the middle of the screen which, of course, obscures the TV picture.

The CC features are:

Font Options:
1. typeface - 8 options
2. font size - 4 options
3. font style - 3 options
4. font color - 9 colors
5. font effects - 5 options

Background Options:
1. Edge color - 9 options
2. Edge type - 6 options
3. Background color - 9 colors
4. Background effects - 5 options

2. The availability of a CC button on the remote control

The remote is one of the best features of this unit. See #10 below for further details. There is a CC button clearly marked. However, I spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to turn the CC on since it's not explained in the manual. I was totally frustrated and felt like an idiot when I finally did figure it out. When you press the button, the message "CC is off" appears. I thought, that by pressing the button once, it would turn the CC on, but it didn't. Then I thought maybe it got turned on from the main menu/CC section, but that didn't do it, either. After fiddling around forever, I finally stumbled upon how it works: you have to press the CC button more than once. The first button press is "CC off", the next button press is "CC Service 1 English", which turns on the CC. There are 6 Services in all, but I don't know what they are for since they are not explained in the manual and nothing happens when I select the services and wait for a more than reasonable amount of time for something to happen.

Nonetheless, I prefer the RCA box CC to my Sony Trinitron WEGA CC because with the RCA I can get CC with only one button press, albeit I still have to cycle through 6 presses to turn it off. With my TV, I also have 6 cycle-throughs, but I have to press several buttons/direction keys to turn the CC on.

3. The usability of the menu activated by the CC button and what the choices are

The CC menu is not activated by the CC button; it is located in the main menu. The choices are listed in #1 above.

4. If analog captions can be decoded by the converter box, the ease of reading the font provided for those analog captions (if present)

The box does not pick up CC on the multicasts. It picks up all main stations, but not the multicasts. My analog TV's CC *does* pick up the multicasts' CC - all channels.

5. The ease of reading the eight different fonts available for digital captions, particularly the default font

All of the fonts are flawed. The typeface is not clean; the edges are very jagged. The serif or cursive fonts have to be avoided all together because of this jaggedness. While the text *is* thinner than my TV's analog CC, it's not too thin for me to read from 12 feet away. However, because the digital typeface is not clean, the letters appear to be even thinner than they actually are. Having said that, I became accustomed to the typeface within an hour or so and still prefer it to my TV's because of the fast and easy accessibility. I would not want to watch the digital CC for any extended period of time, however.

6. The availability of a "caption preview" of some kind when changes are made in the settings for the digital captions, and how well this predicts the largest font style.

There is no preview, which is very annoying. One has to cycle through 5 levels to make caption adjustments, then cycle back out those 5 levels to review the adjustments.

7. How large the digital captions are actually capable of becoming (useful for low-vision viewers or for being able to watch the TV from a significant distance): do the longest lines of the largest captions fill the entire width of the screen, and if not, please describe how much of the screen is filled by the largest captions.

Large is not very large; there is a negligible difference in size among either small, default or large. That is to say, the large font is not small, but the ratio of difference between the fonts is negligible. I sit about 12 feet away from my TV and I have no trouble reading the CC without my glasses but, of course, that would be relative to an individual's eyesight.

The size of the font does not affect how much screen space is used. Probably because it's not very large.

8. How usable the optional translucent background is in providing sufficient contrast to the characters used in the captioning (if it is too transparent, it will be difficult to read the captions)

The translucent background is unusable, no matter what color font or background is selected. It is as you said: too transparent, rendering the CC illegible.

9. Whether there are any bugs associated with captioning, such as a failure to detect analog captions automatically if there are no digital captions, jerky movements of captions, cut-off captions, unexpected changes in the background, etc.

The box does not pick up CC on the multicasts. It picks up all main stations, including PBS, but not the multicasts of any channel. My analog TV's CC *does* pick up the multicasts' CC - all channels.

In addition, occasionally the CC text looks "chewed up". I can't think of another way to describe it other than it looks like portions of the text are chewed up to such an extent that some letters are barely legible, and sometimes, not. There is no pattern to the bug, though. It is not station-specific; it occurs on any station; it is intermittent; it doesn't necessarily occur after the CC has been on a while, it occurs immediately upon the CC being turned on. I don't know if it's signal-related or font-related as I haven't tested either, or whether it's the fault of the box.

10. Whether the remote control has an SAP or audio button to switch to a second audio channel (for descriptive video services), a raised dot on the 5 button, raised dots on the Power button or other buttons (useful for low vision or blind users), or other accessibility issues.

The remote is terrific, even for those who don't need aids. The buttons and other controls are very large. The CC button is clearly marked. There are raised dots on #5 and the power button for the box (the power button to the TV is directly opposite the raised dot power box button). The directional arrows and the volume and channel changers have thick ingrained (embossed?) arrows indicating direction. The buttons controlling the TV are on the left side of the remote and are colored grey; those buttons controlling the box are on the right and colored white.

SAP is handled through the main menu; there is no button on the remote.

11. How well the user manual explains the different digital closed caption settings; please indicate whether it advises choosing Service 1 or explains how to choose it. If you have found the user manual online, please provide the URL if it is not already provided in the first posting.

The manual does not explain anything about settings or services. As mentioned above, I have no idea what the 5 remaining CC services are.

12. Whether the CECB has crashed or otherwise malfunctioned, and what the circumstances were; this question is best answered after extensive use of digital closed captioning with different channels. Please indicate how many hours or days you've been testing the CECB with digital closed captioning turned on.

I've been using the box for 8 days, 16hrs/day, with CC on c. 33% of the time. So far I've had no problems at all, except for the "chewed text" as described above. Despite the substantially inferior quality of the box's CC as compared to my analog TV's CC, I nonetheless prefer to use the box's CC because of the one-touch easy access; even the 6-level/one button CC turn off is preferrable to the TV's 6-level, multi-button CC access.

Having said the foregoing, I am still very much pleased with the box, particularly after reading some avf reviews on other boxes. This was my first time setting up and using a converter and I found the manual's directions to be excellent and set-up was a breeze. The remote is terrific, the picture is excellent. I've had no problems so far. The CC has major drawbacks, but none that deter me from using it as first choice CC, mainly, as I mentioned, because of the quick and easy access. I also don't keep the CC on consistently; I turn it on and off, which is a factor in my tolerance of same.

Hope this helps.

Bonnie

Addendum: 24 hours after I posted this and 9 days after the RCA installation, my TV crashed. CC wasn't on when it crashed and was used only 33% of those 9 days. I was walking in another room which sometimes causes interference to the signal, I heard the signal breaking up and when I returned to the living room, the picture was gone. The sound was still working, the remote was still working, although I couldn't get the menu up because there was no picture. Both the DVD and VCR work, so it's not my TV. Turning the TV on and off did not help.

p.s. - Actually, a reboot of *both* the TV and the box did bring the picture back. It seems that if there's a lot of signal interference (and there was probably a lot of pixelating going on while I was away from the screen), the reception crashes.

I also forgot to mention in my initial post that the sound volume is very low. I began to investigate if there was a correlation with signal strength, but didn't finish. CBS comes in at a good volume, but all the rest of the channels are much lower. I'm constantly adjusting volume. The volume is so low, in fact, that when I play DVDs at the same TV volume, I have to lower the sound!! And you know how much lower DVD sound is.
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post #161 of 226 Old 05-02-2008, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks very much, Bonnie (Clio22), for your comprehensive evaluation of the RCA DTA800B.

Could you check whether the RCA can decode analog captions, perhaps by switching to CC1? (That was what question 4 meant to ask.) If you have a choice on the CECB of CS1 or CC1, CS1 would give you the digital captions, using Service 1 (the primary language that the station is broadcasting), and CC1 would be the analog captions. It's possible that the RCA doesn't give you the option of decoding analog (608) captions, however, but if it does, it would be interesting to know what you think of the quality of the font that is used for the analog captions. (If you have the CC1 option through the CECB, you could also try switching to CC1 if you don't see any digital captions being broadcast on the additional digital channels.)

The CC button MIGHT let you switch to CC1 but for now, it sounds like you're saying it only lets you choose among the 6 services, which is not very useful for most of us since the only service that seems to be used, and which most of will use, is Service 1.

It's also possible the placement of the CECB's analog captions might be handled differently than the digital captions, and might be preferable for you.

Question 3 is actually asking you to describe what happens when you push the CC button, or what the menu for the CC button itself is. It's not asking if the menu to change the setting for the captions comes up. (Most CC buttons don't seem to be doing that; they're only offering very simple choices. See the other evaluations for examples of what the other CC buttons do; links to them are in the first posting of this thread).

Interesting that the sound level is very low. Note that there could be two different devices affecting the volume level: the CECB and the TV.

I doubt you would need to turn off the TV if the CECB crashes again; you'd only need to reboot the CECB.

The RCA box seems undesirable for people who need descriptive audio services since there's no secondary audio button on the remote, and it sounds like the advanced closed captions look worse than what's available from the Zenith/Insignia and Philco CECBs.

Thanks again, Bonnie!

Dana
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post #162 of 226 Old 05-02-2008, 02:44 PM
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I really like the captioning on my Zenith DTT900. One can choose the background opacity, background color, text filled color, text edge color, font styles, and font size. I had the CC on since day 1 although I rarely watch TV over 2 hours a day. I have not experienced any problem at all.
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post #163 of 226 Old 05-04-2008, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

This thread only discusses closed-captioning problems standard-def DTV CECBs, not HDTV devices. Please transfer this thread to the new CECB subforum. Thanks.

I hope that the URL to this thread won't be changed if this thread is transferred to the new CECB subforum. The sticky created at that subforum refers to this thread, so at least people can find this thread at its current URL that way.
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post #164 of 226 Old 05-04-2008, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billcsho View Post

I really like the captioning on my Zenith DTT900. One can choose the background opacity, background color, text filled color, text edge color, font styles, and font size. I had the CC on since day 1 although I rarely watch TV over 2 hours a day. I have not experienced any problem at all.

Billcsho, what month was this CECB produced and what geographical area are you in? How long have you had your Zenith?

I found that the Zenith crashed only on some channels with problem captioning, so if all the channels in your area are captioning properly, then that would be one reason why you wouldn't see any crashes. (Another reason would be if LG had fixed whatever caused the CECB to crashed, which I think is unlikely this early in the year.)

I never did hear back from a live person at LG after sending them an email that I had experienced multiple crashes with both the Insignia and Zenith CECBs and even had pictures of them. So I doubt they've addressed this problem.

Dana
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post #165 of 226 Old 05-05-2008, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dmulvany View Post

Billcsho, what month was this CECB produced and what geographical area are you in? How long have you had your Zenith?

Mine is from the March 2008 batch. I got it around 3 weeks ago at Circuit City in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I rarely watch OTA program more than an hour. That may be the reason that I never experienced a crash even I keep the CC on all the time.
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post #166 of 226 Old 05-05-2008, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dmulvany View Post

As many people know, significant percentages of elderly people, most of whom are female, end up with hearing loss, and many do not have computers or Internet access.

The following quote is from an article about a recent briefing session with Meredith Baker, Acting NTIA Assistant Secretary and Administrator, and her staff:

http://www.edn.com/index.asp?layout=..._id=1710024971

Hmmm, that article says "if a product is subsequently returned, the $40 goes back to the U.S. Treasury." That's the first I'd heard of that. I wonder if it is true? I assumed that after the vendor processed a coupon, they'd keep the $40. If I don't have my used coupon for them to swipe a second time since they kept it, how will the government know that I've returned the unit for a refund (of my out of pocket cost)?

I'd be curious to know how the loop is closed and the NTIA gets credited back the $40 after a return for refund. Or the author of the article might just have gotten it wrong. Nah, everything published in the media is fact checked, so it must be right
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post #167 of 226 Old 05-05-2008, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CasualOTAer View Post

Hmmm, that article says "if a product is subsequently returned, the $40 goes back to the U.S. Treasury." That's the first I'd heard of that. I wonder if it is true? I assumed that after the vendor processed a coupon, they'd keep the $40. If I don't have my used coupon for them to swipe a second time since they kept it, how will the government know that I've returned the unit for a refund (of my out of pocket cost)?

I'd be curious to know how the loop is closed and the NTIA gets credited back the $40 after a return for refund. Or the author of the article might just have gotten it wrong. Nah, everything published in the media is fact checked, so it must be right

If you return a cecb to the store they give you back the value that was from the coupon as store credit only for another cecb.
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post #168 of 226 Old 05-05-2008, 07:30 PM
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If you return a cecb to the store they give you back the value that was from the coupon as store credit only for another cecb.

I thought I had read that before but looked now because of another thread and can't find where it was.

Did find where the store should let you exchange for another cecb using your purchase, including coupon value, in the exchange.

Also found where you should keep record of coupon number in case of return or exchange.
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post #169 of 226 Old 05-06-2008, 09:46 AM
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post #170 of 226 Old 05-06-2008, 04:54 PM
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A friend of ours bought the RCA 800B for our hearing loss organization (ALOHA) at Wal*Mart. He told us the cashier swiped the coupon, handed it back and told him if he returned the unit for a refund, they'd swipe the coupon again to cancel the original use of it. To buy another unit, he'd need to again present the coupon. He was not told that he had to buy another unit at this particular store, although later on the plan had been, since we weren't real happy with the 800B captions, to buy a Magnavox which this store did not carry. From what we gathered from this transaction, is that it's (perhaps) possible to use the coupon more than once providing the store does a cancellation as described above.
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post #171 of 226 Old 05-06-2008, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

dmulvany - Here is a Video showing Captioning on the Zenith CECB

Thanks, Malouff. Although I had trouble seeing the video, I'll add that to the page describing the Insignia/Zenith. Objective information like that is certainly useful.
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post #172 of 226 Old 05-06-2008, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loutouchette View Post

A friend of ours bought the RCA 800B for our hearing loss organization (ALOHA) at Wal*Mart. He told us the cashier swiped the coupon, handed it back and told him if he returned the unit for a refund, they'd swipe the coupon again to cancel the original use of it. To buy another unit, he'd need to again present the coupon. He was not told that he had to buy another unit at this particular store, although later on the plan had been, since we weren't real happy with the 800B captions, to buy a Magnavox which this store did not carry. From what we gathered from this transaction, is that it's (perhaps) possible to use the coupon more than once providing the store does a cancellation as described above.
Lou

Thanks for this detailed explanation, Lou. The NTIA itself has not been clear about this. It's possible the coupon isn't supposed to be rebated past a thirty-minute window after the first use of the coupon, but frankly, I think it should be, especially since there's no way to see the captions until one has bought the CECB, brought it home and turned it on. (An example of another problem: Some people are also experiencing a very annoying high-pitched audio problems from the Zenith/Insignia CECBs, though I myself could never hear that.)

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post #173 of 226 Old 05-06-2008, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loutouchette View Post

A friend of ours bought the RCA 800B for our hearing loss organization (ALOHA) at Wal*Mart. He told us the cashier swiped the coupon, handed it back and told him if he returned the unit for a refund, they'd swipe the coupon again to cancel the original use of it. To buy another unit, he'd need to again present the coupon. He was not told that he had to buy another unit at this particular store, although later on the plan had been, since we weren't real happy with the 800B captions, to buy a Magnavox which this store did not carry. From what we gathered from this transaction, is that it's (perhaps) possible to use the coupon more than once providing the store does a cancellation as described above.
Lou

Attn: loutouchette,

The coupons for the Digtial Converter Boxes can only be used once. And only once. That Wal-Mart clerk was probably telling you what he/she thought he/she might have to do if you exchanged the unit.

If you want to exchange your RCA DTA 800B for another unit, you present your receipt and make the exchange just like making any other exchange. Because a coupon was involved with the original sale, the clerk may have to ask the supervisor if he/she don't know how to make the exchange.

I don't know how long or how much you fooled around with the captions on the RCA DTA800B, but you can make those captions appear in many types. You can change the fonts, sizes, shapes, background colors, white on black, black on yellow, etc...

See other posts on this forum about the RCA DTA800B Digital Converter Box. Stay away from the Magnavox converter box.
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post #174 of 226 Old 05-07-2008, 06:39 AM
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When I got mine CECB, the store kept the coupon card. Interestingly, it works like a prepaid VISA card according to my receipt.
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post #175 of 226 Old 05-07-2008, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

dmulvany - Here is a Video showing Captioning on the Zenith CECB

The video did not show the background opacity option. I really hate to see CC on solid background that blocks the image. The Zenith box gives you the option to set the opacity of background. When you are using a transparent background, you may choose a contrasting text edge color to make it more readable.
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post #176 of 226 Old 05-19-2008, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's a question for engineers at TV stations and pay TV companies: Is there a central online resource for troubleshooting digital caption problems? If yes, what is it? If no, I'm wondering about setting up a technically-based thread at the AVS Forum to collect information about technical glitches that engineers need to be aware of that can cause digital caption problems.

For example, I've found that the digital-to-analog converter boxes are doing a better job of showing digital captions on some channels than some digital TVs are, even though the same digital TVs are displaying digital captions fine for live programs and regular programming on certain channels. This suggests that some of the TV stations are sending out digital captions in a way that isn't compatible with existing digital TVs, and that there is something wrong with the caption encoder equipment that is being used. However, some engineers seem to assume that the end-user has faulty or obsolete equipment and that there is nothing that the engineer can do to fix the problems, which leaves the problems unresolved.

There are also problems with digital captions sometimes disappearing and bunching up (this is happening on the PBS HD channel for Masterpiece Theater lately), and especially for syndicated programs, digital captions being very delayed, intermittent, or completely absent. (The commercials may be captioned just fine, but the captioning for the syndicated program can be unusable.)

I thus think there are a lot of different technical causes of captioning problems, but as far as I can tell, engineers are on their own to try to figure out what's causing them instead of being able to refer to a central online resource to find out if other people have figured them out already. Consumers are completely in the dark since they don't know the names of the equipment that's being used.

It greatly concerns me that I'm in the Washington DC area, where the FCC is based, but there are still multiple problems with digital captioning here. (I can't watch any ABC programs in HD from WJLA.) There's a great need to be more strategic and intelligent in using our collective knowledge and experience to solve these captioning problems before February 17, 2009, when we can no longer cheat by turning to the perfectly working analog captions currently provide on analog channels.

Dana
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post #177 of 226 Old 05-19-2008, 06:27 PM
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Groups: Converter Boxes Will Become Obsolete
American Association of People with Disabilities, Consumer Federation of America, Others Write Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/15/2008 11:54:00 AM

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Originally Posted by Broadcasting & Cable View Post

The American Association of People with Disabilities, the Consumer Federation of America and several other groups asked the Federal Communications Commission to open an inquiry into what they said is a problem with digital TVs and converter boxes. ...

... "automatic update capability could also benefit people with disabilities," they said. "For example, it would enable rapid dissemination of new innovations and enhancements to existing technologies for captioning and video description," they wrote Martin.

The groups suggested that the FCC could address the problem by requiring such functionality as part of a certification process or labeling of the equipment ...

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...dustryid=48696

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post #178 of 226 Old 05-19-2008, 06:48 PM
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> It greatly concerns me that I'm in the Washington DC area,
> where the FCC is based, but there are still multiple problems
> with digital captioning here.

I nominate Dana Mulvany for FCC chair.

> There's a great need to be more strategic and intelligent in
> using our collective knowledge and experience to solve these
> captioning problems before February 17, 2009, when we can no
> longer cheat by turning to the perfectly working analog
> captions currently provide on analog channels.

2009-2-17 is going to be a train wreck. The whole ATSC/8VSB
thing is a disaster, the captions are just one small part of it.

> This suggests that some of the TV stations are sending out
> digital captions in a way that isn't compatible with existing
> digital TVs, and that there is something wrong with the
> caption encoder equipment that is being used. However, some
> engineers seem to assume that the end-user has faulty or
> obsolete equipment and that there is nothing that the engineer
> can do to fix the problems, which leaves the problems unresolved.

Many TV stations don't care about the technical quality of their
broadcasts. The engineering dept doesn't get the budget
necessary for personnel or equipment. So they may not be able to
devote the resources needed to track down and fix such problems.
Without the proper engineering analysis, it is impossible to say
if this sort of problem is the station's fault, or the fault of
the user's TV or CECB, or perhaps the spec wasn't written
properly and two valid interpretations created incompatible
equipment.

ATSC/8VSB is still very immature, and not ready for prime time.
Less than a year away from analog cutoff and it is still impossible
to get reliable reception, much less reliable captions.
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post #179 of 226 Old 05-19-2008, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avio View Post

Groups: Converter Boxes Will Become Obsolete
American Association of People with Disabilities, Consumer Federation of America, Others Write Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/15/2008 11:54:00 AM

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...dustryid=48696

Avio

Thanks, Avio. It's clear that a lot of the converter boxes *would* benefit from the ability to update the software for the captioning features. If there were software updates available, the design of the remote control and the physical aspects of the box would become relatively more important since they're static.

Dana
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post #180 of 226 Old 05-19-2008, 08:51 PM
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Apparently UpdateLogic is the company providing this automatic update service (via datacast on PBS stations). Their press releases and the letter to the FCC suggest that Sony is the only manufacturer signed up for the service, though several others have licensed the SDK.

UpdateLogic is offering the service at a discount for CECB manufacturers, but even so, I doubt CECB makers will sign up unless they have significant incentive to do so.
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