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by: Bill Osler March 18, 2009 3:22 AM PDT

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Confused about Closed Captioning and HDTV ...

by Bill Osler - 3/18/09 3:22 AM

I am completely new to HDTV, but decided to make plunge recently. I bought a Samsung LCD TV and an Onkyo receiver. My cable company uses Scientific Atlanta cable boxes. I also bought a Samsung Blu-Ray player but I have not yet unpacked it.

My wife has poor hearing, so we frequently use Closed Captioning when watching TV or DVDs. The closed captioning came across OK with our old TV (using a regular RF coax input from the cable box to the TV).

I tried hooking up the new equipment with HDMI cables direct from the cable box to the TV and also tried connecting cable box to receiver to TV so I could use the upscaling capabilities of the receiver, trying to see what gave me the best picture with non-HD input. The cable company has not yet turned on the HD channels so I cannot test them. I was stunned to discover that I cannot get closed captioning so far.

The Samsung owner's manual says that the closed captioning has to be turned on at the cable box (?) but essentially all of the controls for the cable box are password protected so I don't know yet if that is an option.

I started searching for information on this and found all kinds of conflicting reports, but it looks like a LOT of people are having problems with Closed Captioning and HDTV. There were claims made in various places that Scientific Atlanta, Onkyo and Samsung won't support Closed Captioning except in non-HD analog mode (like the RF signal) but the information was all very confusing and it was not always clear whether the problem was in specific equipment or whether the digital stuff just was not engineered with closed captioning in mind.

I have to make a decision rapidly about whether to put all of this stuff back in the box and return it. Any suggestions? Is there any clear information about Closed Captioning and HDTV? I simply cannot afford to spend a bunch of money on HDTV and then run it in analog mode. The old system worked well enough except for the analog picture quality.

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