Evaluating Digital to Analog Converter Boxes for Users of Captioning - Page 8 - AVS Forum
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post #211 of 226 Old 11-11-2008, 05:58 PM
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Had them both, and the Channel Master's a little more sensitive. PQ's better through s-video, too.
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post #212 of 226 Old 11-18-2008, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Had them both, and the Channel Master's a little more sensitive. PQ's better through s-video, too.

People looking for digital captions, however, need to be aware that the Channel Master produces small captions even when they're set to the largest size. They may still be watchable on a large TV, especially with S-video, but may be hard to read on smaller TVs.

Dana


CORRECTION: Another person has reported that the second and third caption font for the CM7000 is capable of becoming large, although the default font does not.
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post #213 of 226 Old 12-29-2008, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, folks. Just thought I'd put out a reminder that we still need a lot more evaluations on this thread of how the different converter boxes handle captioning issues.

FYI, I've just set up a new thread to help collect and organize information about how different HDTVs and other DTV equipment are addressing captioning options. The location of the thread is at:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1101290

The information there could help people evaluate any new HDTVs they've just bought to make sure the HDTV will work for all their needs before the trial period runs out. For example, it'll be important to check out whether an HDTV that does not have an analog tuner but which has composite or S-video ports is capable of decoding analog captions from analog devices like VCRs, DVD players or DVRs that use those ports. At this point, it's not clear whether all HDTVs will be able to decode analog captions if there is no built-in analog (NTSC) tuner (which would have triggered the requirement to have built-in captioning of analog captions).

This thread can also be used to share information about how the different HD set-top boxes are addressing captioning issues, particularly since this will be the main way that most people will have captions decoded on their HDTVs. If enough people share their input, we'll be able to see what manufacturers are doing a good job addressing captioning issues so that we can make better informed purchasing (or renting) decisions.
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post #214 of 226 Old 02-05-2009, 08:00 AM
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Will analog captions go away? Or will they persist?
Considering CC, is there any reason to argue with the tally at
avsforum.com avs-vb showthread.php?t=1029256
which shows the Zenith CECB as best?

Thanks much, Dana, for starting this informative thread. It has
now become very long, and I may have some of this wrong.

It seems none of the CECBs do a very satisfactory job of
displaying captions. I'm very reluctant to put more money into
an obsolete technology. Would I be better off buying a very
small DTV, perhaps a 7" screen?

Where I'm coming from:
I have a 21" Sharp TV from 1995, and no experience with DTV.
The lenses in my eyes are no longer flexible. My eyes naturally
focus about 11" or 12" in front of my nose. I don't want to
spend as much as $300 on a large 16" or 19" TV, or any size,
really. CC is important to me, including being able to shift
the captions off the image or, at least, turn them on and off.
I've seen very little about zooming. Can you zoom out and push
the CC off the image while both remain visible? Or conversely,
zoom in and see only the center of the image at the expense of
the CC (and the edges of the image)? Is there some
simple-minded way to turn the CC on and off without rotating
thru 9 or 14 button pushes?

TIA.
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post #215 of 226 Old 02-06-2009, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hysteresistesla View Post

Will analog captions go away? Or will they persist?

The FCC requires analog caption data (CEA-608) to be provided for all non-exempt digital television programming; this will ensure compatibility with analog TVs that have built-in decoding of captions.

Quote:


Considering CC, is there any reason to argue with the tally at
avsforum.com avs-vb showthread.php?t=1029256
which shows the Zenith CECB as best?

Each person needs to evaluate his or her own situation. Some people may want a converter box that will work with a smart antenna, particularly if there are transmitters from very different directions. Others may want a box that has an S-video output for the best picture quality possible from a converter box (and to feed into an analog TiVo, DVD recorder or VCR). If you are satisfied with the analog captions produced by your own analog TVs, you don't need to turn on the digital captions produced by the converter boxes. Many people have actual experience with the Zenith because it was easy to get from a store, whereas some of the other ones had to be mail-ordered.


Quote:


Thanks much, Dana, for starting this informative thread. It has
now become very long, and I may have some of this wrong.

You're very welcome!

Quote:


It seems none of the CECBs do a very satisfactory job of
displaying captions. I'm very reluctant to put more money into
an obsolete technology. Would I be better off buying a very
small DTV, perhaps a 7" screen?

Very small DTVs are not required by the FCC to provide closed captioning, although some TV manufacturers may offer this capability. Don't forget that if you like the captions from your own analog TV, you don't have to use the captions provided by the converter box.

It's not accurate to say none of the CECBs do a good job of displaying captions, though. The captions from the Insignia/Zenith are okay if you choose the right font and color combination, and other choices can work satisfactorily among some of the other converter boxes. There's actually not a critical need to have eight font styles if you're happy with one, two or three of the font styles and if they can get large enough to meet your needs.


Quote:


Where I'm coming from:
I have a 21" Sharp TV from 1995, and no experience with DTV.
The lenses in my eyes are no longer flexible. My eyes naturally
focus about 11" or 12" in front of my nose. I don't want to
spend as much as $300 on a large 16" or 19" TV, or any size,
really. CC is important to me, including being able to shift
the captions off the image or, at least, turn them on and off.
I've seen very little about zooming. Can you zoom out and push
the CC off the image while both remain visible? Or conversely,
zoom in and see only the center of the image at the expense of
the CC (and the edges of the image)? Is there some
simple-minded way to turn the CC on and off without rotating
thru 9 or 14 button pushes?


It sounds like you WANT the zoom to make the CC invisible, but this would be a design flaw!

Some remote controls have other buttons meant for other purposes that can be used to deactivate the captioning temporarily. Pressing the Guide button, for example, might bring up a transparent guide on the top of the screen which also deactivates the captioning, allowing you to see what the captiosn had been covering up.

BTW, if you wear hearing aids with telecoils, you may be happier with an LCD TV since CRT TVs are likely to generate electromagnetic interference with telecoils. LCDs don't generally cause so much EMI. Sitting that close to the TV, you'd easily be able to use a neckloop with the LCD TV to hear as well as possible.


Another person wrote of a 7" Digital Prism LCD TV from CVS pharmacy with the following features:

Analog and Digital over the air and cable tuner.
Built in Battery
Closed Captions
AC adapter - 9V output
Car power adapter.

He wrote:

"It runs for about 2 hours on the built-in battery and I think an external battery pack of six D cells would work OK. The brand name is Digital Prism but I have not been able to find a web page for it."

Don't take this as an endorsement, but since it can be hard to find a small LCD TV with closed captioning, I thought I'd mention this TV here.


Dana
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post #216 of 226 Old 02-17-2009, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmulvany View Post

Another person wrote of a 7" Digital Prism LCD TV from CVS pharmacy with the following features:

Analog and Digital over the air and cable tuner.
Built in Battery
Closed Captions
AC adapter - 9V output
Car power adapter.

He wrote:

"It runs for about 2 hours on the built-in battery and I think an external battery pack of six D cells would work OK. The brand name is Digital Prism but I have not been able to find a web page for it."

Don't take this as an endorsement, but since it can be hard to find a small LCD TV with closed captioning, I thought I'd mention this TV here.

I actually work for the company that is the distributor of this Digital Prism TV and helped write the user manual for it (although I'm admittedly not an expert on all the technical details). There's not a web page for it yet, but we're working on setting one up soon, but it will initially only be for recycling and disposal instructions. Eventually we're gonna add manual downloads, etc.

Since the factory that makes it is in China, it's been hard to find info on exactly how all the closed captioning modes work-- any ideas on where to look for some reference material?

J Doug
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post #217 of 226 Old 02-23-2009, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdougmc View Post

I actually work for the company that is the distributor of this Digital Prism TV and helped write the user manual for it (although I'm admittedly not an expert on all the technical details). There's not a web page for it yet, but we're working on setting one up soon, but it will initially only be for recycling and disposal instructions. Eventually we're gonna add manual downloads, etc.

Since the factory that makes it is in China, it's been hard to find info on exactly how all the closed captioning modes work-- any ideas on where to look for some reference material?

Manufacturers are coming up with their own shorthand and their own menu, so there may not be one generic source of information that will definitively answer questions about how to activate captioning for a particular product. There's also a lot of variability about how the manufacturers are implementing the captioning options. You can see how challenging this is by looking at this thread on activating captions from pay TV services.

Questions about captioning for a portable DTV should really be addressed in a more appropriate thread than this one anyway. You could go ahead and ask questions about the captioning at this thread that I myself set up for how different DTV equipment handle captioning:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1101290

You could upload a digital picture there of the menu and ask questions about the areas that puzzle you.

There's another thread for portable TVs but it doesn't specifically address captioning, so I think it would be more useful to use the last thread above.

Dana
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post #218 of 226 Old 02-24-2009, 11:37 AM
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Very good info, Dana-- thanks. Yeah, I realized after I posted that I was kinda hijacking the thread-- sorry about that.

J Doug
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post #219 of 226 Old 02-28-2009, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbonater View Post

Just curious if everyone complaining about the font size has gone into the menu and changed the font to max and also change the font type. I did this on my 36" and it is perfectly viewable. If you use the max size of the default font it still sucks, but the second or third choice is much larger and more readable.

Today I came across the above comments from the thread for ChannelMaster CM-7000 CECB.

This shows that it is really, really important to try out all the different caption fonts before reporting that a particular CECB is not capable of producing large enough captions. Previously, the ChannelMaster had been described by quite a few people as providing only small captions.

The CM7000 has S-video output, so this feature alone should help it provide clearer captions than the majority of CECBs that offer only RF or composite video outputs. For more information about that CECB, check out the thread on the CM7000 at:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1004274

I ordered the CM7000 on February 25th from Amazon, which was selling it for $49.99 at the time and provided free 3-5 day shipping for purchases over $25. Since there was no tax, and I was able to use my $40 coupon, I paid only $9.99. Interestingly, Amazon said I had 50 days to use my coupon after I filled out the form to use it online, but I didn't want to push my luck since the expiration date was the next day. The CM7000 still hasn't shipped yet, so it'll be a while before I can review it.

Dana
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post #220 of 226 Old 02-28-2009, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmulvany View Post

Today I came across the above comments from the thread for ChannelMaster CM-7000 CECB.

This shows that it is really, really important to try out all the different caption fonts before reporting that a particular CECB is not capable of producing large enough captions. Previously, the ChannelMaster had been described by quite a few people as providing only small captions.

The CM7000 has S-video output, so this feature alone should help it provide clearer captions than the majority of CECBs that offer only RF or composite video outputs. For more information about that CECB, check out the thread on the CM7000 at:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1004274

I ordered the CM7000 on February 25th from Amazon, which was selling it for $49.99 at the time and provided free 3-5 day shipping for purchases over $25. Since there was no tax, and I was able to use my $40 coupon, I paid only $9.99. Interestingly, Amazon said I had 50 days to use my coupon after I filled out the form to use it online, but I didn't want to push my luck since the expiration date was the next day. The CM7000 still hasn't shipped yet, so it'll be a while before I can review it.

Dana

Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkingRat View Post

I have mine on large and Font 4, it's the best I found. On 32" screen, it is adequate but not acceptable for people with vision problems. I think most people compare their CECB's cc to what they had with analog, and there is no comparison.

ETA: and the CM7000 IMO is nowhere near as good on cc as the Zenith.

This quote above is from another person who thought Font 4 was the best one to use.

I goofed by not doublechecking earlier whether there was a review of the captions from the CM-7000. There's one at:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post13506638

and it shows a picture of the Font 4 set to large, which is not very large:




(The small captions use the CM-7000's Font 4 set to large; the large captions are from the analog TV.)


There's a small chance that Font 2 and Font 3 might actually be significantly larger than Font 4 when set to large. Remember that the preview function doesn't necessarily indicate which font is actually the largest one; I've found previews to be very misleading in this respect.

What would be useful are digital pictures of Fonts 2, 3 and 4 from the CM-7000 set to large so that we have objective rather than subjective information. There can be extremely wide differences in size despite the preview.


(I've attempted to show pictures below, but they may not show up in your browser, so I've also provided links to them.)
As an example, look at the difference between three caption fonts from my Sharp 20" HDTV, all set to large:



Casual Font (italics, all caps) Second line has 18 characters
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_G1FZLYRasHw/R-...0/SV400033.JPG


Computer Font (Top line has 19 characters)
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_G1FZLYRasHw/R-...0/SV400015.JPG



Formal font (corresponds to Style7 and Font7 below) Bottom line has 21 characters. (Ignore top line)
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_G1FZLYRasHw/R-...0/SV400024.JPG


Here are screenshots of captions set to the large size from the DigitalStream and Insignia CECBs, displayed on my Magnavox analog TV:



Style 7 (DigitalStream) Second line has 32 characters and spaces (the longest possible)
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_G1FZLYRasHw/SE...0/SV400047.JPG


Font 7 (from the Insignia) Second line has 32 characters and spaces (longest line possible)
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_G1FZLYRasHw/R7...0/SV400284.JPG


The Insignia's large Font 7 is quite a bit larger than any other captions I've seen. Note how for the Insignia's large Font 7, lines with 32 characters and spaces span the width of the screen, while other devices produce lines that take up only two thirds of the screen or less. These size differences make quite a difference when viewing a TV from a distance or if the TV is on the small size.
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post #221 of 226 Old 03-02-2009, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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When I came to this thread today, I saw this announcement:

"Please be so kind to be sure you read the general notice announcement in this section before posting. We are just making sure people see it based on some issues that have been caused by some members in this section. Thank you."

However, I couldn't find this "general notice announcement" anywhere. Anyone know where to find it or what it's about?

By the way, it appears that using Firefox to create links to pictures causes a problem, and that's what I had been using. I'm switching to Internet Explorer to see if this will make a difference.

Dana
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post #222 of 226 Old 03-02-2009, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I've corrected the links to the pictures for a previous posting so that they will show up inline. Check out:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post15940343

It should be very interesting to see the comparative pictures of captions from different sources.

Dana
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post #223 of 226 Old 09-29-2010, 03:29 AM
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I haven't come across any converter boxes that definitively have both S-video and digital closed caption decoding, but the features of many converter boxes aren't known yet. It would certainly be nice to be able to evaluate the quality of digital closed captions when using S-video, and hopefully there'll be at least one such converter box with both features (particularly for people whose analog TVs don't have captions that are easy for them to read and who have an S-video port on the TV, VCR or DVD recorder---the digital captions can be recorded, if desired).
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post #224 of 226 Old 09-29-2010, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blogpostwriter View Post

I haven't come across any converter boxes that definitively have both S-video and digital closed caption decoding, but the features of many converter boxes aren't known yet. It would certainly be nice to be able to evaluate the quality of digital closed captions when using S-video, and hopefully there'll be at least one such converter box with both features (particularly for people whose analog TVs don't have captions that are easy for them to read and who have an S-video port on the TV, VCR or DVD recorder---the digital captions can be recorded, if desired).

I haven't been keeping up with converter boxes, so I don't know if there are new ones with S-video that do a better job with captions. Judging from my own experience with the CM-7000, though, the ability to use S-Video isn't worth the absurdly small size of the captions that device provides. I prefer the large yellow captions that I get from the Insignia.
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post #225 of 226 Old 09-29-2010, 03:44 PM
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As far as I know, they haven't been making any new CECB's for a long time now. I wouldn't expect anything new, either. They're done with that for the USA. Maybe when Canada converts. Just standalone, ATSC/QAM HD tuners. Might want to check some of those out, too - although they've been cutting out s-video completely on a lot of the cheaper devices out there these days.

There are only 3 or 4 CECB's with s-video, and I know that none compare to the CM in areas other than CC (which I really don't know anything about in that regard, other than with the CM, which I have - and I agree the font is ridiculously small. Isn't too bad on a large, HD display, but you should really be using an HD tuner on one of those, anyway).

I know the Apex's with s-video aren't as good, PQ-wise (they have a better guide, but that's about it). There's one or two other, "no-name" brands with it, but I think they're kind of overall flimsy and buggy, compared to boxes like the CM and the Insignia. However, there should be threads on them around here somewhere. Don't know if they've ever gotten into the CC part, but you could revive them and ask, if they're not in the archives yet.

Next to impossible to find a Zenith/Insignia new. Probably can still find them used, though. They do have larger font than most, and are really good tuners otherwise (#1, all-around rated here, actually).
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post #226 of 226 Old 09-29-2010, 04:23 PM
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The little-known TRTs have s-video. Very few reviewers over yonder thread but based on the info they appear to be the best boxes and are feature rich. Look sturdy too like a CM. The main dude wrote some pretty good review info so there might be something in there about CC.

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