More information on Closed Captions needed

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by RainyCity4, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. Sep 9, 2005 #1 of 23
    RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...

    Advertisements

    I've posted this question before (about a couple of months ago) and got few responses that they didn't have problem with their closed captions, so I thought it was just my imagination gone wild.

    After watching TV shows since my DVR (Series 2) since June and I'm quite confident that my DVR is having problems captioning RECORDED shows properly (Live shows are fine). It was so apparent that even my wife noticed it when we started watching Prison Break (I recorded first 30 minutes), it was captioning two or three words late then it switched to live show when we caught up and suddenly, the captions were perfect.

    Apparently, this captioning problem doesn't happen on every channel/show. Just that it is most prevalent on FOX channel (Prison Break, Reunion, House and Firefly - I KNOW Firefly is on SCI-FI but used to be on FOX, strange!).

    The symptom is:

    LIVE SHOW: Captions is fine. NO problem (It pops up split second before character starts to speak)

    RECORDED SHOW: Captions show up late (after character says a word or two) and this doesn't consistently happen to all shows, just worse on FOX channel (House, Prison Break and Reunion) and so far, Firefly (first two were fine, but last few episodes has been showing this problem).

    I called CSR department and they were very nice and helpful (seriously!) and they said that I was the only one who called them about caption problem and they didn't know any one else who had this problem. They suggested soft reset (didn't work), hard reset (didn't work either -- Reunion actually captioned several words TOO EARLY! :mad: ). They now want me to do a full Clear and Delete Everything and do the Guided Set up again.

    I have about 50 shows on my SP list and I'd hate to lose them all and rebuild them (UGH!!!) if Clear and Delete doesn't help.

    So, to the point, I'd like to know if anyone experienced this problem on a Series 2 DTIVO??? I'd like to verify that it is only me, instead of a software bug. D* said that if clear and delete everything doesn't work, then they will send me a replacement DVR...

    I'd like to know if those who have Series 2 DTIVO have this same captioning problem or not. For those who have R10, do you see the same problem (captioning) on yours too?

    Thanks so much for your input!

    Brent
     
  2. Sep 9, 2005 #2 of 23
    HogarthNH

    HogarthNH DirecTV Addict

    430
    0
    Dec 28, 2001
    Somewhere, OK
    I not only have that problem on my R10, but I had it on my Series 1 Standalone TiVo, which I had since 2000. So I don't think a new DVR would help.
    It's very intermittent.

    My hearing isn't that bad, so I just grin and bear it.

    H
     
  3. Sep 9, 2005 #3 of 23
    JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

    30,915
    40
    Sep 19, 2001
    Binghamton, NY
    For my own edification, since live TV is really coming from the 30 minute buffer, what happens if you are behind in the buffer?
     
  4. Sep 9, 2005 #4 of 23
    RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...
    HogarthNH -

    Interesting that you brought it up. For most part, you are right, it is really intermittment and I don't usually notice it. However, since the upgrade to 6.2, my DVR has been consistently late with the captions on FOX, especially. It would be "late" entire show, unlike other shows such as Closer and Wanted, which would be on time pretty much entire show except for a glitch or two (I don't usually notice them). Firefly exhibits same problem, except it is on SciFi.

    To clarify things, when I watch House, Prison Break, Reunion or Firefly, the captions are always late. When I watch those same shows live (while recording it so I could compare), the difference is day and night. Watching it live, captions are sychronized perfectly but when I watch that show right after it finishes recording, then the captions are totally out of synch and I can clearly see the difference.

    I had to delete entire run of Out Into West because the captions were so horrible that I simply couldn't watch it. It was so late that the person would be finished SPEAKING when the captions would finally show up! :rolleyes:

    JSpence -

    If I watch a TV show in buffer, it shows same symptoms just as if I was watching it recorded. It is only when I watch it live, when the captions are completely perfect (except for the glitch that HogarthNH mentioned). I find it quite bizarre but that's what happens. Seems like if I play a TV show from the beginning in the buffer, the problem shows up. If I watch it as it buffers, it is OK.
     
  5. Oct 4, 2005 #5 of 23
    orinaccio

    orinaccio New Member

    43
    0
    Sep 18, 2003
    Los Angeles

    Advertisements

    I have been noticing the same caption problems. These issues were prevalent in earlier versions of the Tivo operating system and were, for the most part, resolved by an update that took place about a year or so ago.

    Recently, however, the captioning problems have returned with a vengeance, with several shows now unwatchable.

    Arrested Development mangles their captions so badly I can barely watch it. Desperate Housewives frequently skips lines and/or words.

    Naturally this is quite distressing for someone that relies on captions solely to understand the shows they are watching - I am compiling a list and will be sending it to DirecTV. If anyone knows of an address I should be directing my letter to, please let me know, otherwise, I will attempt to go through normal channels.
     
  6. Oct 4, 2005 #6 of 23
    navyman

    navyman Long Time Lurker

    885
    0
    Jan 31, 2002
    Top of Utah
    I currently have 2 DTivo Series 1 DSR6000, and 1 Hughes DTivo Series 2 (HDVR3) receiver with the 6.2 SW version. I have not noted any significant captioning problems on my Series 2 on my recorded programs, but I do note the CC is discernably more reliable on my Series 1 units. I suspect that certain programs may be more susceptible to whatever causes the recorded program's CC to be problematic...it may tie back to the method of coding that the particular hired captioning firm uses with certain programming. This is just an educated guess.

    In any case, the fact that the DTivo is the most likely cause perhaps due to buffer issues with replaying recording programs, Directv should be held responsible per the Telecom Act of 1996. Continue to monitor and document the problems and request Directv to resolve. If they are not reasonably responsive, provide your information to the Federal Communications Commission at this email address: Jsimpson@FCC.gov. An interesting bio on her is available at: Jenifer Simpson. She was the reason why Directv finally got around to resolving the infamous captioning problems on the Directivos a couple of years ago. I was then forced to file a complaint to the FCC after Directv continued to deny the existence of the problem that many others confirmed here at tivocommunity. We cannot allow Directv to backslide on CC passthrough quality issues.

    -navyman
     
  7. Oct 5, 2005 #7 of 23
    RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...
    Orinaccio,

    I called DirecTV customer service who then passed me to "level 2" tech support and they denied any issues with captioning. They even sent me a replacement DVR to no avail.

    They admitted that I was the first person to call about this problem and that they would pass it on to "higher-ups" and refused to promise anything. They even suggested that I call back in a "month or two" and remind them to follow through with it! :mad: I plan to call back on November 1, if they haven't progressed on this, then I will file a complaint with Jennifer Simpson again. I suggest that you call DirecTV customer service and ask them to transfer you to Level 2 tech support and report this issue so that DirecTV will know that I'm not only one with this issue.

    I had this nagging feeling that it MIGHT be a local problem (I guess West Coast because you live in L.A., I live in Seattle) instead of nation-wide problem because I can't seem to find anyone else who has same issues as I do (although, I don't notice the captioning issues too much lately except for House because that show use "close-up shots" frequently and that's when you really notice it).

    Navy-Man, can you also put in a complaint, so that they will notice that it is a growing problem? :)

    Brent
     
  8. Oct 5, 2005 #8 of 23
    HogarthNH

    HogarthNH DirecTV Addict

    430
    0
    Dec 28, 2001
    Somewhere, OK
    Rainy:

    I live in Oklahoma, and used to live in New Hampshire, and had the problem in both locations. Don't think it's local.

    "Surface" has been particularly bad -- mainly accurate captioning that's delayed by several seconds.

    H
     
  9. Oct 5, 2005 #9 of 23
    RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...
    UPDATE:

    I realized that when I called DirecTV, they tried to blow me off because I was the only one that complained. So, I decided to hedge my bets by sending Jennifer Simpson an Email complaining about the whole issue and DirecTV's response to me.

    I encourage you and any closed caption users on Tivo Community forum to call DirecTV and send Jennifer a letter. I don't know how many deaf members there are on this forum, but if you know anyone who uses DirecTiVo and is deaf, tell them to call DirecTV and send a letter to Jennifer.

    Thanks.

    Brent
     
  10. RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...
    Hogarth,

    Thanks for clarifying this because last year, all TV shows by FOX were basically unwatchable (CC were mangled or extremely late) and all other channels were OK. I finally gave up and complained to FOX and their VP of Tech/programming or something found out that West Coast transmitter had new hardware and it had a glitch. They fixed the issue and everything were fine after that. Ironically, this problem is IDENTICAL to what we are experiencing right now. So, I was thinking, maybe it WAS same problem, just that now DirecTV is using same equipment. But I guess not because Live shows are OK, just when it is recorded. The FOX issue was on both non-DVR and DVR (that's how I identified it as a FOX problem).

    The irony is that when I complained, FOX followed up quickly and sent me Email updates EVERY WEEK. They would keep me appraised what was going on. DirecTV? NOTHING in two weeks! They had the nerve to tell me to "call back in a month and remind them about the problem". SHEESH.

    Brent
     
  11. orinaccio

    orinaccio New Member

    43
    0
    Sep 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Ill call DirectTV today about this and see where it takes me.

    I sent a letter to Jennifer Simpson a year or so ago the last time this problem arose, and will likely do so again now that its returned.

    Watched Lost last night, and noticed letters and words would go missing frequently, especially at the beginning and end of captioned dialogue lines.

    Can anyone confirm whether the problem is prevalent only when watching time-shifted programs or if it also occurs when watching it "live" on the DirecTV/Tivo box?
     
  12. Smuuth

    Smuuth New Member

    54
    0
    Sep 20, 2005
    Colorado
    Just curious - Have you tried saving a recorded episode to your VCR or DVD Recorder to see if it shows the problem there? If it does, maybe you could send that tape or DVD to DirecTV.
     
  13. orinaccio

    orinaccio New Member

    43
    0
    Sep 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    An update:

    I called directv and got directed to their tech support unit that apparently focuses on tivo tech problems/issues. They deny that the captioning issues are related to their tivo box, and claimed first that 1) the captions does not even go through their tivo unit, and that the captioning occurs on the television end, which is incredible considering the television signal is passes through the unit itself. Further the signal, to my understanding, is converted for hard drive storage, before its output to the TV; 2) that the issues were being caused by the programming provider/distributor and its not occuring on either their tivo unit or on their end.

    I pointed out that their records should show prior problems of this very nature occuring in the past and that the issues are incredibly similar (although not as bad as it was).

    Finally they suggested I email their general tech support email address from the website and theyd be able to 'follow up' with the programmer (e.g. Fox, ABC, etc) to find out if the programmers are the source of the problems.

    I was surprsed by their kneejerk response of denial that almost seems scripted - It strikes me that DirectTV and other distributors have an incentive to deny problems occurring with their equipment because 1) there is really no regulatory oversight (FCC regulations are set up so that the distributors "police themselves"), and 2) there is no reporting requirement whatsoever. Why expose yourself to claims of governmental noncompliance if you don't have to?
     
  14. RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...
    I guess following up on them is pretty much out of question...I called them last month and they repeatedly denied responsibility too and finally said they would pass it on to their programmers and asked me to call back in a month.

    Here's process we need to do in order to get DTV off their collective asses and do something about it. I got it from Jennifer Simpson at FCC.

    Dear Brent Anderson,

    Thank you for sending in a concern to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about closed captioning. I am sorry to read of these difficulties. I recommend you take the following steps:

    1. Send a letter directly to DirecTV about the problem, with all the specifics.

    I am attaching to this email a copy of the letter that DirecTV sent two years ago in response to the previous problem you raised. I recommend you include a copy in your complaint to DirecTV.

    There has been a change in the contact information for DirecTV. Here is the new address:

    DirecTV
    444 North Capital Street, Suite 728, Washington, DC 20001
    Attn: Stacy Fuller, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

    You can copy this letter to the FCC if you wish (FCC, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554, Attn: Complaints & Inquiries Division).

    2. Enter a comment in the open FCC Docket about Closed Captioning. This can be found by going to the FCC web site at http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/ecfs/Upload/ and click on the open public Closed Captioning Docket (FCC 05-231) and make recommendations for any changes you would like to see. It is a quick electronic process.

    For instance, you could enter a comment about how equipment associated with TV receivers does not always "pass through" the closed captioning you expected that it would, and provide some examples of such equipment and the problems and make some recommendations how FCC regulations for closed captioning could address this problem.

    Regards,

    Jenifer Simpson
    Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division
    Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
    FCC
     
  15. RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...
    Orinaccio,

    It must be a luck of draw because I called DirecTV customer service and got a pretty nice fellow who expedited the request to fix the CC issue to the engineers and when I mentioned how another CSR blew you off and he got pretty mad and said that it was extremely insensitive of that CSR.

    He said that he felt bad that deaf users (I didn't bother to correct him that some of the users are hard of hearing) had to suffer from this as a result of poor testing by TIVO engineers.

    He said he would tell the engineers to look at version 3.1 and figure out what went wrong between versions 3.1 and 6.2 and program a new version that would fix this.

    I'm also planning on sending a letter to VP of Regulatory Affairs at DirecTV and CC it to FCC just to turn up the heat on them.

    Brent
     
  16. SpacemanSpiff

    SpacemanSpiff New Member

    344
    0
    Jan 30, 2004
    Other than
    I see that as a good response from the customer service angle. Of course since TiVo is going bye bye, I don't see any fix actually occuring.
     
  17. orinaccio

    orinaccio New Member

    43
    0
    Sep 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
  18. RainyCity4

    RainyCity4 New Member

    115
    0
    Jun 23, 2003
    It Rains A...
    Update: I'm still in frequent contact with the VP and things are progressing slowly (as expected) but at least they are STILL keeping in contact with me! :)

    Brent
     
  19. extension 721

    extension 721 Minor Deity of TV

    157
    0
    Sep 29, 2005
    Closed Captioning is part of the broadcast signal, same as alternate audio, frame synchronization, and other data.
    If you frag with your TV settings enough, you can SEE the closed captioning as part of the "fuzz" above/below the picture.
    There is absolutely no reason why it would show up late in recordings, since it is just another part of the recorded picture.
    The TIVO has NO closed captioning function. It passes the CC fuzz, as part of the picture signal, to the TV that decodes it and displays it. That said, there is absolutley no way the TIVO should be able to delay or speed up the CC data, because it is PART OF THE PICTURE.

    You can see the engineering quandry. This would be like half the picture showing up late. It simply cannot happen. (but it does appear to happen) The TV does all the CC decoding and display.

    Since the closed captioning is a function of the television set, sometimes the chip in the TV that translates picture to text gets "busy" or "confused" This is also why when you first turn on a TV, it can take anywhere from a second to several minutes before the closed captioning even shows up! (often dependant on the amount of resources the TV manufacturer alloted to the decoding process) When you start a program up in the middle of a closed caption without turning the TV from off to on, you may be confusing Mr. TV set.

    Try power-cycling your TV when the show is in the first minute. That will probably "catch up" the CC to real time. Power off, Power on....problem solved?

    Anyone willing to post the TV model and Mfr. That is having the problem?

    (oh, no! it can't possibly be the TV...that would be more expensive to replace, so it can't possibly be so!)

    for more info on this, visit
    http://www.howstuffworks.com/question427.htm
     
  20. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Well-Known Member

    19,202
    1,629
    Oct 23, 2001
    Northern...
    I'm pretty sure that the TiVo actually strips the CC signal out before mpeg2 encoding the video. I seem to recall reading that the text gets stored as a parsable text file. Then it reinserts the CC info after decoding the file. Otherwise the mpeg2 compression would likely corrupt the CC info.

    So the TiVo is messing with the CC signal. However, it is always doing so, even in the "live" buffer. Which is why the original poster's problem is so confusing, because their shouldn't be any way for the TiVos CC functionality to be different between "live" and recorded since both are recorded. (Unless you bypass the TiVo or put it in standby).
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements