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 Post subject: Closed Captions decoder
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2020, 23:07 
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(I suppose this is technically video hardware, feel free to suggest if there's somewhere more appropriate...)

I like having subtitles on the films I watch, and my biggest frustration with Laserdisc in the past has been the general lack of these, especially in the PAL region. Most TVs here don't have Closed Captions decoders as Europe used its own formats (in the days of Laserdisc, mostly Teletext based subtitles; nowadays DVB-based).

I have just however bought a Contemporary Research VCC Closed Caption Decoder off eBay from the States. It wasn't too pricey at all so I'm not worried if I've ended up buying the wrong thing. But as far as I know this should be able to overlay closed captions from North American discs onto the video signal, once I get the right cables of course. Of course it'll only support an NTSC signal, but that's fine because I expect to only use it with NTSC discs (though it would be nice if it could pass through a PAL signal unscathed so I don't have to unplug and replug it each time... I'll have to see if that works).

Has anyone had experience with these or other similar devices? Do they have a serious effect on the quality of the video signal besides the expected slight degradation caused from the lengthened signal path?
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 Post subject: Re: Closed Captions decoder
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2020, 02:14 
Jedi Master
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If the Pal disc doesn't have CC then it won't make them appear.
The disc has to have CC on it for you to show them.
No experience with any separate decoder but I do know that some have used the profanity blocking boxes that also do text and they do work.
They are around 30-40 bucks and I was looking into getting one once but never got around to it.

Keep us posted, as for PQ it may affect since you do run it between the TV and player but again I have no first hand experience.
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 Post subject: Re: Closed Captions decoder
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2020, 09:31 
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Naturally, this is for my NTSC discs as I said!

Yeah, will let you all know :)
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 Post subject: Re: Closed Captions decoder
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2020, 00:04 
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It arrived today. It does exactly what it says on the tin of course, and seems to do it quite well! The seller very kindly included some quite high-quality-looking Coax pre-terminated as BNC to RCA converters, and I haven't noticed any degradation of the picture at all when using it.

The thing also seems to be able to pass through PAL signals unscathed. Obviously as stated above it doesn't magically generate captions from nowhere, but neither does it ruin the signal which would make it necessary to unplug the decoder when passing PAL!

However, it does NOT passively pass through the signal; the device must be powered in order for the signal to reach the TV.

It has a nice easy 12V DC barrel plug input so I can find a power brick with a proper plug and not one of these flimsy things from across the pond soon enough ;)

The main problem I can see with it is the lack of configurability. Specifically there's no way to adjust the position of the captions, so with a widescreen TV you'll want some way of shifting the zoomed image, and with a 1.85:1 film it looks like it'll be a very tight squeeze and might involve either shaving the very bottom off the captions or the very top off the frame. I haven't quite had a chance to test this with a 1.85:1 film yet. In terms of its configurability, you can basically have captions on or off, and you can select which CC/TT (Teletext?) channel to view (I'm guessing the channels besides CC1 aren't used much in practice). There's also an option to have the visibility of captions triggered by an external signal so you could attach an easy toggle switch or even build a remote control if you were motivated enough (I'm definitely not myself!).
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