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Closed captioning with software?

Old 09-09-02, 09:35 AM
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Closed captioning with software?

I use a DVD-ROM drive on my PC. Many of the discs I have have closed captioning in English, which, I remember, needed some sort of decoder to show on the screen in the days of VHS. Do all DVD players require a similar decoder to display closed captioning, or can they be activated with specific software?

Also, if somebody could explain why this technique is used instead of regular subtitles, I'd be most grateful.

(Please excuse the possible stupidity of this question. I'm not familiar with the CC technology at all.)
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Old 09-09-02, 10:37 AM
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Your DVD software on your PC should be capable of showing closed captions. Most TV's in made in the last 10 years should have the closed captioning decoder built right into them, there's usually a caption/text option right on the remote, although it may have to be activated on the TV internal menu.

To watch CC on a DVD player hooked to a TV you have to enable CC on the DVD player (In the player setup menu, not on the DVD menu) and enable it on the TV as well.

There's a big difference between subtitles and closed captioning. Subtitles assume the viewer can hear, but can't speak the language. With subs all you get is the dialogue for the most part. CC assumes the viewer cannot hear, and so it goes into greater detail. It tells you about sound effects and also does a better job showing who is saying what.
Most DVD's do have CC, although I think it is Universal which doesn't do it at all. They seem to think subs work just as well.
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Old 09-09-02, 11:12 AM
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Thanks, I'll try this. But why can't the captioning be just a regular subtitle track?
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Old 09-09-02, 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by Tyler_Durden
Thanks, I'll try this. But why can't the captioning be just a regular subtitle track?
The purpose of closed captioning is to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing. That's what it was designed for, and is the reason the captions spell out such things as sound effects.

Subtitles are generally used to translate foreign languages into English. Presumably a viewer watching the movie can hear all of the sound effects on their own but just doesn't speak the language. However, there are also many cases where DVD studios will include an English for the Hard of Hearing subtitle track, which amounts to the same thing as closed captioning but is encoded onto the DVD differently.

Closed captions appear on your televison screen as white text inside a black box. Subtitles can be printed as text in any color and do not have the black box, meaning that they usually don't obscure as much of the screen.
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Old 09-09-02, 12:43 PM
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Josh Z: I wasn't criticizing the fact that closed captions are intended for the hard of hearing. I just didn't understand why they can't be included as a regular subtitle stream on the DVD. And since many DVDs actually have it this way, I was just wondering why there isn't a standard in this area.
Originally posted by Josh Z
Closed captions appear on your televison screen as white text inside a black box. Subtitles can be printed as text in any color and do not have the black box, meaning that they usually don't obscure as much of the screen.
Now this I had no idea of. Thanks for the info.

BTW, the software on my 3 -year old Creative DVD-ROM drive doesn't have an option to turn on closed captioning. (I can't use any software-based players like PowerDVD because then I won't be able to transport the image to my TV through the decoder board.) Oh well.

Last edited by Tyler_Durden; 09-09-02 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 09-09-02, 09:50 PM
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Originally posted by Tyler_Durden
I just didn't understand why they can't be included as a regular subtitle stream on the DVD. And since many DVDs actually have it this way, I was just wondering why there isn't a standard in this area.
There is a standard in this area. The standard for CC is that it is part of the video signal. That is why it cannot be part of a subtitle track of the DVD. CC is always part of the video signal, whether it's broadcast, VHS, or DVD. It is done this way because a person who uses CC will always have it turned on, no need to go pick special tracks or subtitles (unless you have a Universal DVD) just like us folks who can actually hear generally have our volume turned up at all times.

Would it make sense if DVD's had by default absolutely no audio track, and you had to go pick one off the menu? That's the same as having to pick the CC off the menu.
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Old 09-10-02, 09:21 AM
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Very true. But then why do many Buena Vista DVDs (like Shanghai Noon, for example) have a regular "hard of hearing" subtitle track and no "regular" subtitles at all?
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Old 09-10-02, 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by Tyler_Durden
Very true. But then why do many Buena Vista DVDs (like Shanghai Noon, for example) have a regular "hard of hearing" subtitle track and no "regular" subtitles at all?
Do you mean in addition to, or instead of CC? I don't have an answer other than that CC costs more than a subtitle track to make and there's no law requiring a DVD to have CC. Universal also relies on the English subs instead of CC.

Don't quote me on this, but to do CC I believe it has to go through an 'authorized' CC authoring house, which formats it/writes it to the standards of CC, and costs big bucks. If you drop CC and create your own sub track and don't label it as CC, you can do as you please.
I'm not hard of hearing, but a few months ago I was helping a deaf guy get his DVD to properly show CC, so I picked up quite a bit from research then. Which means, I'm probably wrong about everything I've posted.
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