Closed captioning (captions) on the Hitachi 51F59, 57F59, and 65F59 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-26-2007, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought the Hitachi 65F59 back in May, and have been very happy with my purchase.

One area of frustration, though, is how closed captioning works - or, more to the point, doesn't.

My signal comes in through a Comcast HD cable box (built by Motorola) and while I can get captions to work on SD signals (sometimes), I have had no luck at all getting captions working on HD signals.

Since I like cranking up the sound, this wasn't a big deal... until our first baby arrived a little over a week ago. Now we've got company helping out, and cranking up the sound isn't as tolerated as it was before. I have a feeling that with the baby, and the increased stream of family that comes with him, it's going to be a long time before I can crank up the sound!

Did some searching, and it looks like the Hitachi (according to the manual?) only supports captioning on OTA and non component/HDMI signals (WTF !!) and the Motorola box doesn't support them at all. I did find that by going into the service menu of the Motorola box I could get them to kinda work, but to switch between captions being on and off would mean powering down the cable box (which is incredibly stupid and inconvenient) and the captions themselves are a sick joke - like somoene designed a font to take up tons of space, be as distracting as possible, and to be tough to read).

Looking for other people's experiences - specifically:

1. Has anyone got captioning to work with the Comcast/Motorola HD --> Hitachi xxF59 set (over SD and HD signals?) Man, I'd love it if I am just doing something wrong and someone could point out my stupidity.

2. Does anyone with Comcast have an HD cable box that fully supports captioning? I don't know if the HD Motorola box I have is the latest and greatest, if there's a firmware update that would bring it in line, or if there is an alternative model I could ask Comcast to swap mine out for...

3. Does anyone with one of these Hitachi TV's have the latest firmware (I haven't upgraded mine since I got it), and if so does it address this problem at all? If not, is it on the list for Hitachi to include in a future firmware upgrade? If not, how can we get the message to them that this is important.

4. If I ultimately have to either change TV's or change my signal to get ths resolved, I know I'd still want to keep the TV, so can anyone verify that DirectTV or Dish HD services work with closed captioning on these TVs?

Thanks, all! I realize I could probably have dug some of this information up myself with a couple more hours of digging, but I'm hoping to leverage the wisdom of the board (and not to get yelled at for missing the changing of too many poopy diapers!)

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-13-2007, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone?
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-13-2007, 07:41 AM
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I have a 51F59A and my previous HDTV was also a Hitachi CRT RPTV (43UWX10B). Neither set (nor any HDTV I believe) supports CC over HDMI. CC, if available, will work over component if it's a 480i signal only. 480p and HD signals will not support/don't carry traditional CC.

I also am a Comcast user. I have a Moto HD-DVR (6416 Series III). Both this HD box as well as it's predecessor that I used for about 2.5 yrs (6412) both have their own CC function that will work with ANY signal--incl. HD. Unfortunately, you have to turn the cable box off to access them. Imagine other Moto HD cable boxes work the same way.

Turn off the box itself (with the TV on, of course) and press MENU on your cable remote. This will bring up the Moto's operational menu screen. You should see settings for TV type (selectable btwn 4:3 and 16x9) and adjustable settings for both HD output (1080i/720p) and SD--480i/p (sent in 4:3 ratio, which activates your TV's gray pillarbox bars), Stretch (expands 4:3 SD to 16x9 aspect---UGLY!) and a bypass that will essentially upconvert all SD to whatever HD resolution it's set to. In your case, 1080i. Not really recommended due to the fact that this setting will have black 4:3 bars on ALL SD signals. If you watch a lot of SD cable, those black bars can pose a far greater burn-in threat.

OK...what about CC you ask? In the aforementioned menu, there are various settings for the Moto's CC functions. Ther first and most basic is the one that turns 'em on and off. There are several others you can play with that change the font style, size, color, background color (if any) of the captions. Can be set up to look more like the captions on a DVD than the traditional CC look. Kinda cool.

The fact that you have to turn off the cable box to access this is the only bummer. Currently isn't a way to switch them on/off without interrupting your TV watching. And if you have the DVR box, you can't access the menu while something is recording (can't turn off box w/o recording operation getting interrupted).

Although I haven't tried it--so I don't know that this works--but the F59s have the ability to do digital captions. You might want to try activating the Moto CC and then see if the F59 will turn these "digital captions" on and off. Worth a shot.

But, considering your current situation (hey, I've been there, too....and will be again in a couple of months), leaving the Moto box's own CC on for the time being may not be such a bad thing.

And if you don't have the HD-DVR yet, now--with a new little one around eating up your time whenever THEY feel like it --is as good a time as any to upgrade to HD-DVR service. You can then watch your fave shows when the baby sleeps! Nice to watch what you want on your schedule.

As far as going w/ E* or D* satellite service, you'd be in basically the same boat in terms of CC. Although their monthly rates are less than Comcast, if you want an HDDVR, you will have to cough up about $200 up front for their "lease fee" and you might have to invest in an antenna for your HD locals. More likely that D* will carry (and compress the hell out of) your HD locals. Less likely that E* will carry them over satellite. Should be considerably less to switch to DVR with Comcast, and they generally carry most/all your HD locals and pass them w/o any additional compression. And neither satellite carrier offers OnDemand like Comcast. It's the main reason I've stuck with them, even after the last rate hike.

Good luck and congrats on the new little one.

Money does not buy happiness. It can, however, buy you a giant boat that you can pull up alongside happiness. - David Lee Roth

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-13-2007, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jwebb1970 View Post

As far as going w/ E* or D* satellite service, you'd be in basically the same boat in terms of CC. Although their monthly rates are less than Comcast, if you want an HDDVR, you will have to cough up about $200 up front for their "lease fee" and you might have to invest in an antenna for your HD locals.

Actually, he is wrong there...there is no longer any upfront fee for HD DVR boxes with Dish Network...it's now free. And I must say-that is what convinced me to make the switch from cable and I couldn't be happier I did so.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-13-2007, 10:06 AM
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Actually, he is wrong there...there is no longer any upfront fee for HD DVR boxes with Dish Network...it's now free. And I must say-that is what convinced me to make the switch from cable and I couldn't be happier I did so.


Yeah, very true. My bad.

Apparently E* recently stopped charging a lease fee for HDDVRs. Did you recently switch, tlogank? I had heard that although the lease fee was gone, they were charging a $200 "setup fee" instead. Can you please verify? Granted, I was told this from a D* CSR, so I don't entirely beleive it. Called D* (who offers my HD locals w/o an antenna) to see if they'd match the same "free HDDVR" deal their competetor was now touting. No dice---and was informed of E*'s "hidden" lease fee. Surley more a ploy to go w/ D* instead. Shady and ignorant CSRs always brighten my day.

I used to be a E* subscriber prior to going HD in 2002. Back then, it was far too pricey via E* or D* to do so. Went w/ Comcast , then breifly with VOOM (RIP), then back to Comcast, since there was no upfront DVR costs when I switched back--it was just the box they gave me.

Comcast, as many know, had a fairly signifigant rate hike after Jan 1st in most markets. But the vast amount of OnDemand programming and the relatively uncompressed HD locals signals via cable keep me w/ them for now. E* currently does not offer my HD locals (the majority of HD programming watched in my home) via satellite. I live in an area surrounded on all sides by very large, old trees-many of them in direct line of my local digital transmitter signals. I've tried several OTA antennas in the past--indoor and (mostly) rooftop. If the weather outside is anything less than perfect, digital/HD OTA is nothing but pixellated garbage! Signal strength drops in and out constantly.

If E* would get with the program and offer my HD locals via satellite (or D*, who does, would stop gouging those who need an HD-DVR), I'd consider switching.

Money does not buy happiness. It can, however, buy you a giant boat that you can pull up alongside happiness. - David Lee Roth

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-13-2007, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwebb1970 View Post

Yeah, very true. My bad.

Apparently E* recently stopped charging a lease fee for HDDVRs. Did you recently switch, tlogank? I had heard that although the lease fee was gone, they were charging a $200 "setup fee" instead. Can you please verify? Granted, I was told this from a D* CSR, so I don't entirely beleive it. Called D* (who offers my HD locals w/o an antenna) to see if they'd match the same "free HDDVR" deal their competetor was now touting. No dice---and was informed of E*'s "hidden" lease fee. Surley more a ploy to go w/ D* instead. Shady and ignorant CSRs always brighten my day.

I used to be a E* subscriber prior to going HD in 2002. Back then, it was far too pricey via E* or D* to do so. Went w/ Comcast , then breifly with VOOM (RIP), then back to Comcast, since there was no upfront DVR costs when I switched back--it was just the box they gave me.

Comcast, as many know, had a fairly signifigant rate hike after Jan 1st in most markets. But the vast amount of OnDemand programming and the relatively uncompressed HD locals signals via cable keep me w/ them for now. E* currently does not offer my HD locals (the majority of HD programming watched in my home) via satellite. I live in an area surrounded on all sides by very large, old trees-many of them in direct line of my local digital transmitter signals. I've tried several OTA antennas in the past--indoor and (mostly) rooftop. If the weather outside is anything less than perfect, digital/HD OTA is nothing but pixellated garbage! Signal strength drops in and out constantly.

If E* would get with the program and offer my HD locals via satellite (or D*, who does, would stop gouging those who need an HD-DVR), I'd consider switching.

Yes, you were misinformed on the $200 setup charge as well. There is absolutely not cost up front whatsoever, plus Dish gives you $20 off your first 10 months bill as well, which is another $200.00 in savings. So that equates to about $400 less startup cost than with Direct. Ofcourse, not having the HD locals is an issue, luckily for me it's not so much a problem because of the availability of the locals through OTA. In your case, I guess it just depends on how much those locals in HD are worth to you.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-13-2007, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogank View Post

Yes, you were misinformed on the $200 setup charge as well. There is absolutely not cost up front whatsoever, plus Dish gives you $20 off your first 10 months bill as well, which is another $200.00 in savings. So that equates to about $400 less startup cost than with Direct. Ofcourse, not having the HD locals is an issue, luckily for me it's not so much a problem because of the availability of the locals through OTA. In your case, I guess it just depends on how much those locals in HD are worth to you.

Figured that D* rep was lying!

Still OTA HD is just not an option, unless I can erect an antenna tall enough to reach over all those damn trees! Oddly enough, trees do not affect satleiite signals.

Can't live w/o LOST, HEROES, 24...the list goes on....in HD. Network HD constitues nearly 90% of the HD we watch, so yeah...higher cable bills for me are worth it-esp. if OnDemand is factored in. My 4-yr old might die if her Dora The Explorer OnDemand went away. But, if and when E* carries my HD locals via satellite, I'll switch and take my chances.

Just out of curiosity, what did you pay for your antenna---it is outdoor, yes? If I could find one that worked for me, I'd get it and E* tomorrow!

Guessing E* doesn't supply you with an antenna. VOOM did, but it never worked right for me.

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post #8 of 9 Old 02-13-2007, 02:51 PM
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Hope Bigguss (who started this thread) can find the answer he was looking for amongst all this satellite/cable discussion!

Money does not buy happiness. It can, however, buy you a giant boat that you can pull up alongside happiness. - David Lee Roth

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-16-2007, 12:37 AM
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hey bigguss. i recently got the 65F59 too. i was in yer boat about the CC not available for HD programming. BUT, then i turned on the captioning w/in the on-screen menu on my Directv HR20 DVR. the captioning works beautifully with lots of options on size, color, AND fonts. im using an HDMI cable. woo-hoo! the captioning even works when using the his and her split-screen, thus enabling you to read the HD channel and listen to the other channel.
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