This guide is written following some frustrating hours trying to get closed captions activated on the Time Warner Cable Scientific Atlanta 8300HD . Thanks to Dana and several others that posted on the AVS Forum."Regular" TV versus DTV with cable
Those that are used to plain old regular TVs, are probably familiar with setting up closed captions, just find your TV's set-up menu, look for the closed captions menu, and activate "CC1". However, those cable boxes have to contend with one not so obvious factor... closed captions are mainly generated by the cable box, not the TV. This means that a TV that was displaying captions as expected as it gathered its signal over the air (via an antenna) may not generate captions when hooked up to a cable box. Perhaps even more confusing with new fangled TV and cable boxes
, the closed captions are enabled and distributed differently depending on the cable box output/TV input method selected Connecting Types
Modern TV's have a number of different ways of getting a signal. The most basic is the "RF" connection whereby your TV gets a signal over the air or from a satellite/cable box . This is via a coaxial cable to the "RF IN" on the back of your TV. Another method is via an S-Video cable to the S-Video input jack on the back of your TV. If you use these methods, it appears that the closed captions functions of your TV work as they do in old fashioned TVs, just set up in you TV menu area . However, to get better picture and audio quality, modern TVs and signal distribution boxes (e.g. the 8300HD cable box) have newer connection methods. Most commonly COMPONENT and HDMI cables/jacks. These connection methods are mostly used for DIGITAL distribution of the signal to your TV, hence better quality.
With this in mind, the modern TV watcher with a cable box and and HDTV, needs to think a little differently when setting up closed captioning. The enabling of closed captions for distribution via HDMI or Component needs to be set-up in the 8300HD, it has NOTHING to do with the settings within your TV. Enough already, how do I set-up the 8300HD for closed caption ? :
The geeks at Scientific Atlanta (or at least the geeks that program the firmware for Time Warner Cable) decided to confuse us all by separating two vital set-up areas in two totally different areas
The usual non-techno geek might simply expect the 8300HDS set-up area to be the only place to go. Not so, the geeks designed a regular setup area and a quick setup area . Amazingly they omitted some commands in the main set-up area, they are ONLY in the quick set-up area
A key closed caption feature needs to be activated in the quick set up area.So, here's how we do it.
On your 8300HD remote ,
press the button labeled SETTINGS make sure you press it just ONCE.
You will then see a menu pop up on your TV that says "Quick Settings"
Press the down arrow on your remote six times and you will have scrolled down to the Time Warner /SA geeks most confusing creation.
The TV will now display " CAPTION ON/OFF/ON WITH MUTE" . On my 8300HD the words " WITH MUTE" are spaced far enough away from the second ON, for a non-geek to think there might be 4 options. There are just three, ON...OFF and ON when the mute button is pressed on your remote.
You now need to select ON or ON WITH MUTE (if you wanted OFF, I doubt you would have needed to read this article
). Use the right arrow on your remote to toggle OFF ON or ON WITH MUTE. The current firmware does not give a SAVE option at this point. Your selection should be saved automatically and all you need to do is EXIT. However, It is a good idea to double check that you have your desired selection chosen. I have exited and found that I accidentally had chosen OFF.Close But No Cigar
Don't pour the Champagne yet, you are not fully set up yet
Now we have to get to the GENERAL SETTINGS area within the 8300HD. To do that, you press your SETTINGS button on the remote ...TWICE , the general settings are will now be displayed. You have probably been to this area before, the firmware creating geeks had lots of fun designing this not very intuitive area.Setting the Standard and Digital Close Captions
Now, use your down arrows to scroll to CC SOURCE . Then use the right arrow to scroll over to the STD captions and Digital Caption. This area had my simple brain totally confused. However you do not need to be a rocket scientist to get it set up correctly. Suffice is to say that the vast majority of people in North America will be just fine with this area set as CC1 and Digital one. From my experiments, it seems that the standard CC1 plain old fashioned closed captions appear from channel 2 to 99 and the digital-1 captions are those at channel 100 and above. Channels 2-99 are usually what are referred to as analog channels (thus "standard") and those above 99 are the digital channels that "digital cable" boxes provide.
After you do that, make sure you save any changes you made. My firmware gives me a press A/yellow button to accept changes option. Press the A/yellow button and you have saved this important set-up criteria.Almost there
OK, almost Champagne time. Activate GENERAL SETTINGS via you remote again. Now go to CC:OPTION and make sure you have STYLE SET BY VIEWER selected. If you see SET BY PROGRAM, change it to STYLE SET BY VIEWER. Make sure to ACCEPT CHANGES.Eureka !
You are now all set and may already be seeing closed captions. If not, tune to a channel and a program type that is more likely to be actually sending captions, not all do. Many commercials do NOT send captions, local news is not always captioned, especially the improvised "happy talk" between anchors. CNN is a good bet for captions and also the main networks, HBO movies too. It can take a minute or so for captions to start streamingWhat About Those Other CC Settings ?
The other settings enable some fancy styles, font sizes, and color combinations. They should not impact whether captions work or not, but I started with Default or Standard as much as possible to begin with. Reportedly, the fancy color for background and text color only work for the digital channels.Wait A Minute, Some Captions are Plain and Some Fancy
I suddenly turned myself in to a modern Picaso and created a nice color for the background and another for the text color. All seemed to be in glorious multi-color until I changed channels and the captions appeared in plain white. Don't panic, it seems that some program send captions differently and do not support styles/colors.Oh no, Captions Were Working Just Fine, Now They Are Gone
The Time Warner/SA firmware geeks must be elves, sometimes for no apparently reason the captions stop working. The geeks probably throw parties at the thought of a simple brain like me spending hours trying to get them back. If this has happened to you, go back to your settings and make sure they are as you intended. If they are, the captions will likely reappear after you do a cold reboot of the 8300HD. This is what your cable company will call "resetting your box". Turn it off, unplug from the wall for ten seconds , plug in again, turn on. The box will then reboot and reacquire data from the cable company . This can take 5 minutes (even longer if the box has been off for several days). Wait until the time appears on your 8300HD display (this ensures the most complete data acquisition) and your missing captions will be back. Double check the On/OFF/Mute area in the quick settings area, make sure it is still at ON. I noticed that sometimes when I reboot it reverts back to OFF. If it is still at ON, you can now watch that horror movie without the screams giving your sleeping kids nightmares !
Postscript : I recently fell asleep watching a movie with CC, and awoke to find I had NO CC. A reboot again solved the problem. I am intrigued about the cause for this and am wondering if going past midnight is related. Perhaps the cable company has some data changes that screw up the CC in the firmware and the changes take place at midnight? I will monitor this and update this article when I have reached a conclusions. My local cable company has also been sending snow storm alerts via text captions (not simply alert craws), I wonder if this also screws up the firmware's ability to keep the closed caption alerts).Feedback
I hope this guide helps. Please search the AVS forum for more details on the color/style combinations. Please also feel free to critique this document and identify gross errors, or just stupid concepts that I have expressed.