Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Display of Captioning on Viewing Equipment Consumer Guide

Download Options

Released: June 25, 2012
Display of Captioning on Equipment
Used to View Video Programming
Background
Closed captioning is the visual display of the audio portion of video programming. Captioning
provides access to individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss and is often used in places
where it is difficult to hear a TV program, such as restaurants and exercise facilities. Since 1993,
the Television Decoder Circuitry Act has required television sets with screens 13 inches and
greater to display closed captions. On October 8, 2010, President Obama signed the Twenty-
First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) into law, putting into
place new mandates to give consumers access to closed captions through various other types of
video devices, including many devices that are not subject to a 13-inch limitation. In January
2012, the FCC adopted rules implementing the CVAA as follows:

Implementation Date: January 1, 2014

 Equipment manufactured after this date that receives or plays back video programming
using a picture screen of 13 inches or larger (measured diagonally) must be capable of
displaying closed captions, if technically feasible. Equipment with screens of less than 13
inches in size must be capable of displaying closed captions, if doing so is technically
feasible as well as achievable with reasonable effort or expense.
 If achievable with reasonable effort or expense, equipment manufactured after January 1,
2014 that records video programming must either enable the display of closed captions or
pass through closed captions to the equipment used to view the programming. Viewers
must be able to turn on and off the closed captions as the video programming is played.

Equipment

 Physical devices designed to receive and play back video programming, including
smartphones, tablets, personal computers, and television set-top boxes, are covered by
the rules.
 Equipment includes software installed by the manufacturer before the equipment is sold,
as well as software that the manufacturer requires the consumer to install after the
equipment is purchased.
 All recording devices and removable media players (such as DVD and Blu-ray players) are
covered by the rules.
 Professional and commercial equipment is not covered by the rules.

.
.
Federal Communications Commission

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

445 12th St. SW. Washington, DC 20554
.
.
1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) . TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)

Fax: 1-866-418-0232

www.fcc.gov/consumer-governmental-affairs-bureau.

 Display-only monitors are not covered by the rules.
 Manufacturers may seek waivers from the rules for any equipment that may be capable of
receiving or playing video programming, but is primarily designed for other purposes.
 The rules require covered devices to enable consumers to adjust closed captions in a
variety of ways, including their color (both text and background color), size, fonts, opacity,
edge attributes, and language selection.

Filing a Complaint

If you experience a captioning display problem with your equipment after the implementation date,
you may file a written complaint with the FCC. After the new rules go into effect, the Consumer
and Governmental Affairs Bureau will release a consumer advisory with instructions on how to file
complaints via the FCC's website. You can also file your complaint with the FCC's Consumer
Center by faxing 1-866-418-0232, or writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

What to Include in Your Complaint

Your complaint should include the following information:
 Your name, street, city, county, state and zip code and other contact information such as a
videophone or TTY number or email address;
 The name and postal address, website, or email address of the equipment manufacturer
(if known);
 Information sufficient to identify the equipment and software used to view the program or
show, including make and model number;
 A detailed description of the captioning display problem, including specifics about the type
of problem (e.g., captions will not display; cannot adjust background color or caption
color);
 Any additional information that may assist in processing your complaint; and
 Your preferred format or method of receiving a response to your complaint, such as letter,
facsimile transmission, telephone (voice/TRS/TTY), email, or some other method that
would best accommodate you.

Resolution of Your Complaint May Be Delayed if the Information Above Is Incomplete


.
.
Federal Communications Commission

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

445 12th St. SW. Washington, DC 20554
.
.
1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) . TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)

Fax: 1-866-418-0232

www.fcc.gov/consumer-governmental-affairs-bureau.

For More Information

For more information about FCC programs to promote access to telecommunications services for
people with disabilities, visit the FCC's Disability Rights Office website at www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro.
For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau website at www.fcc.gov/consumer-governmental-affairs-bureau, or contact the
FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC
(1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to the address above.
###
For this or any other consumer publication in an accessible format
(electronic ASCII text, Braille, large print or audio), please write or
call us at the address or phone number below, or send an email to

FCC504@fcc.gov

.

To receive information on this and other FCC consumer topics through
the Commission's electronic subscriber service, visit
www.fcc.gov/cgb/contacts/.
This document is for consumer education purposes only and is not intended to
affect any proceedings or cases involving this subject matter or related issues.

Last Reviewed 06/12/12

.
.
Federal Communications Commission

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

445 12th St. SW. Washington, DC 20554
.
.
1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) . TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)

Fax: 1-866-418-0232

www.fcc.gov/consumer-governmental-affairs-bureau.

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.