Originally Posted by oldsyd
Viewing the guide stops audio/video*
*This is silly, since if you are looking at the menu, the TR-40 can display a small PIP of the current channel, do the same for the guide.
Actually, I think that there is a fairly good reason that the DTV Pal Plus or TR-40 shut down the video and audio when you enter the main program guide. In the full guide mode, they shut down the audio and video so that they can use the tuner to sneek peaks at any channels that need to have their guide info updated. Remember that all this guide info is cached in memory, but the box is not psychic, it does need to have tuned in each channel at some point in the recent past to present accurate guide data. If you have been surfing through the channels, the guide for those channels will already be up to date, but if some channels were not accessed recently, the box will need to tune them it in for a moment to get the current guide data. This insures the most accurate possible guide info, with no 'not available' entries. Other boxes don't need to do this because they only display the guide data for one channel at a time.
With normal channel surfing, the guide will usually be reasonably up to date anyway, so the dish designers did provide an alternative mode of browsing the guide that does not grab the tuner, and lets you continue to view the program you are watching.
If you want to continue watching the channel you are viewing while browsing the guide, just bring up the guide in the single line 'browse' mode using the right arrow shortcut key on your remote.
This gives a compact semitransparent single line banner version of the guide. You can then scroll the guide down through the other channels as usual with the arrow keys without interrupting your program viewing.
Originally Posted by oldsyd
Captioning only works some of the time. Can't easily switch, or even select the "Text" option found on the Zenith.
The close captioning issue is due to confusion about how captioning support should be provide, thanks to screwed up standards from the FCC and NTIA.
Things were bound to get a bit more confused, because there are now two different ways of doing close captioning, the original EIA-608 system for Analog NTSC video, and a new EIA-708 system for Digital ATSC video.
The older EIA-608 system inserted digitally encoded caption info into the VBI (Vertical Blanking Interval) line 21, while the newer EIA-708 system muxes it directly into the digital MPEG video stream.
The ATSC spec also lets the older EIA-608 captions ride along inside the newer EIA-708 data stream, so a DTV broadcast can potentially have both captioning systems in use at the same time.
The NTIA CECB specs require that all boxes will be able to display -
Close Captioning information as required by the FCC’s Rules in 47CFR15.122 and incorporate the CEA 708/608 standard.
Hey, that sounds good! Full support for both the old and the new standard, right?
Unfortunately, what the NTIA really said, was to do it like the FCC says, and the "best government money can buy" FCC doesn't actually require that these converter boxes to do much of anything specific with the captioning data, except to pass it through to the external television receiver so that the television receiver can decode them like it did with the old off the air analog video. Anything else is strictly optional.
So the NTIA had to back peddle and clarify the requirement on their web site FAQ which says -
. . . converter boxes are required only to encode the EIA-608 captions onto line 21 of the analog video output; creation of captions by the converter box is an optional capability.
What this means is that the only close captioning support required is to pass the older 608 captions through in the video for decoding by the television receiver (they are NOT required to be decoded internally and turned into text in the CECB unit itself).
So, which captions each box will or will not decode internally was left completely up to the manufacture. Some do the minimum, and decode nothing in the box itself leaving that up to the television receiver; some go all out and decode everything, while others only decode either the older EIA-608 captions or the newer EIA-708 captions.
The only consistent requirement is that all boxes should at least pass through the older EIA-608 captions for decoding in the television receiver.
The DTV Pal Plus (and your TR-40) do provide for full decoding of the new EIA-708 captions. These captions have a larger more flexible character set, with multiple font support, so they look much nicer. I guess that the Dish designers were either not aware that the new Digital Captions are currently not as well supported as the older CC1 captions, or they just figured that if you needed the old EIA-608 captions, you could just set your television to decode them like you would for over the air video.
The FCC does require that when the newer EIA-708 captions are available, the older CC1 608 captions should also be available,
All captioned programs must include the basic analog-equivalent ("basic" or "608") captions.
but not the other way around (the older captions can be present without being matched by the newer ones).
A DTV broadcaster may also include advanced digital ("advanced" or "708") captions,
(Quotes are from the FCC publication "converterboxfeatures.pdf")
This is really stupid. The already required translation from 708->608 is the more difficult one since sometimes the new captions will have characters that the older captions can't use. By comparison, going from 608->708 is always a simple matter of just copying the character data, since the newer captions can ALWAYS encode everything in the older ones (because they use a larger character set).
But the FCC quite stupidly balks at guaranteeing that both captions will always be available -
As a result, occasionally programs only have the old style EIA-608 captions and this is what creates the situation were some boxes will show captions, while others don't (the Dish Network boxes look for the newer EIA-708 captions)
If your television also supports close caption decoding (as many sets do), and you find trouble with programs not showing up captioned that you KNOW should be captioned, then just turn on the captioning option on your television.
This trick should work with ANY CECB box, because the passed through captioning channel is always the older (and more widely used) CC1 channel.
Hopefully, in the near future, the FCC will realize that they have screwed this up, and require that the CC1 and Digital 1 captions always match, then this issue will go away. Till then, if you run into this, I suggest you just use the caption decoder built into your TV (the fonts are usually larger and easier to read anyway.)