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Request for nicer closed captions for X1

New Poster

Request for nicer closed captions for X1

If you like having CC on, but want it to be readable against most scenes without being overly obtrusive (garish, big, ugly), the current X1 CC options are not adequate.  The options in the older non-X1 HD DVR were better, and some were quite adequate.  Comcast, PLEASE devote some programmers' efforts to improving the CC options for X1.  Some factors to address:

- non-obtrusive means not having a rectangular background around the letters; CC should be legible without needing that unless you are vision impaired (maybe it was okay 20 years ago on SD analog TVs....)

- for some reason, casual font (like Microsoft comic sans font) seems the most readable against many scenes, maybe because the font is thicker; on other fonts, bolding it may or may not help (maybe bolded letters just get too thick)  (it seems to me the other fonts X1 offers are all too thin and even the casual one could be a tad thicker)

- the current X1 colors are mostly useless unless you use a rectangular background, and they are too garish for me; PLEASE provide two or three shades of gray (light-medium NOT very dark) because white is too bright (distracting) and light-medium gray often looks good and readable against most scenery

- to have legible letters without a rectangular background, it's necessary to have a border around each letter of a contrasting color (it seems to look best when it completely surrounds each letter, whereas shading and incomplete borders are not as readable)  (also, the user should be able to choose how thick the border is, because the ideal thickness of the border depends on the font size)

- I have found that a somewhat medium-light gray casual font with a medium-dark gray border completely around each letter is quite readable against most scenery and is quite unobtrusive compared to most other options, and such font does not have to be very large to be legible, so PLEASE consider this option (people with poorer eyesight might want more garish or more contrasting colors or larger font size--ask them)

- for non-obtrusiveness, the viewer wants to have the smallest font size that he or she can easily read (the current font sizes on X1 are small enough for me, but other people seem to want or need some larger options, too)  (also, the ideal font size depends on the program being watched, e.g., whether the CC is in all caps or not, so it needs to be adjustable)

- try to display the CC as near to the bottom of the screen as possible; currently X1 shows it too high (probably to avoid station logos or scrollers, but on a normal drama or sitcom, lower left or lower right is almost always free of logos); alternatively, let the user adjust it vertically

- try to avoid having the CC jump around on the screen (I know this is impossible at the start of a show when credits are in the way, but otherwise it should be on the very bottom); it's very distracting to have it jump all over the place, not to mention harder to read and watch the show at the same time (in fact, when opening credits are being shown, maybe just leave CC at the top until credits end?)

Thank you, COMCAST, for considering this request.  I know I'm not the only person who wants much improved CC on X1.  With all due respect, the current X1 CC options are close to pathetic.  The hearing impaired community deserves some better attention.  If some CC improvements are already underway, please post a response on what the status is.  Thanks again.

And, other people please chime in.

Regular Visitor

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1

You are so right. CC always seem to be in the way.  Also I noticed CC doesn't under stand about 70% what is said. It does follow discussion and then stops and I know it is going to skip what was said because CC apparently didn't understand it, even though the voices were quite clear. I feel for hearing impaired trying to use CC.  They loose a lot of what is said. 

  I can only read it with a black rectangle, white lettering. I can't even make the rectangle (black) transparent or adjust its transparency.  It blocks a lot of the show. Hubby loves martial arts movies, and when they are CC.  The  Comcast CC cuts in over it and the only way I know to turn it off is leave the movie and go to settings. I was with Fios and I didn't have CC, So glad Comcast has it but needs work.

New Poster

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1

Mistaya:  I'm glad you responded.  I thought nobody cares since no replies till yours.

Did you try the settings I suggested?  They are:


font size = as large as needed for readability

font style = casual

font color = cyan

font opacity = solid

font edge style = uniform

font edge color = blue

background opacity = transparent (color doesn't matter)

window opacity = transparent (color doesn't matter)


Those are the best I've found.  Can't read it easily against all background scenery, but can most of the time.

Still jumps around too much, though.


CC is usually quite complete and accurate for shows (dramas, comedies, movies) but I agree it's not smart enough

to handle running commentary (sports, cable news commentators, etc.), especially when someone slurs or uses

a "big word" or jargon and the CC just hangs and you know its little brain is just spinning in circles!  But my complaint

is with the appearance of CC, not how good the artificial intelligence is.


Also note there is a shortcut to toggle CC on and off:  when viewing a program, press down arrow, then enter.

(this shortcut doesn't work when in the Guide or menus).



Gold Problem Solver

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1

I doubt Comcast has any real control over this. Closed captions are government required. Comcast is buying X1 boxes from 3rd party companies such as Arris. I believe that closed captions are controlled by a fourth party chipset.

Comcast could very well be subject to what Arris (or the former Pace) provides them. I highly doubt Comcast can change or "reprogram" closed caption options on current boxes.

Personally, I think the only way Comcast could change closed captions would be on their next generation of boxes.


Regular Contributor

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1

Comcast's CC is very poorly done compared to DirecTV's. DirecTV allowed far more control over font, opacity, colors, etc. Further, they were smart enough to turn CC off automatically when you entered menus so you could, you know, READ the menus instead of having to guess what was under the captioning. I hope it gets better down the road.


As for accuracy and placement on-screen, that, unfortunately, is not in the control of Comcast.

New Poster

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1



Well maybe that explains why the CC was actually better on my previous Comcast DVR before I "upgraded" to X1.


It does seem like Comcast must be a major (or the major) buyer of the boxes from Arris, so they ought to be able to dictate some things, huh?  AND, it seems like CC appearance should be software rather than hardware, although the hardware has to support it.  But if the hardware can show half a dozen weird, seemingly random garish colors, why can't it show light gray and dark gray?  And firmware is really software.  I think Comcast just needs to show some interest in this area and improve it.


If the chipset is that limited, Comcast should get a chipset that is not so limited in its boxes.  Probably raise the price of the box by almost nothing, given the quantity involved.


But I'm not a computer engineer, so what do I know except X1 provides CC that doesn't actually work well.

New Poster

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1



What does control CC placement on the screen, then?


Totally agree about CC in Guide, menus, etc.  How dumb.


Regular Contributor

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1

The folks who add the CC to the program. Not sure who "they" are actually, but it is further upstream of Comcast.

New Poster

Re: Request for nicer closed captions for X1

@MrScott1:  Yes, I think you're right.  For content and screen placement, "they" are probably the organization that's given credit for CC at the end of the show.  I had forgotten about that.


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