Zenith Launches Closed-Captioned HDTVs; CEA Updates Standards

Zenith recently began producing its first HDTV sets that incorporate new digital closed-caption capabilities, in accordance with an FCC July 1, 2002 deadline mandating that DTV tuners and DTV receivers of a certain size decode DTV closed captions. At the same time, the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) R4.3 Television Data Systems Subcommittee has adopted a revised bulletin providing additional guidance on the design of DTV closed-captioning encoders and decoders.

Unlike analog closed captions, digital caption capability (based on the EIA-708 DTV closed caption standard) provides flexibility and more user control over caption display, including font style, text size and color, and backgrounds.

Zenith will be joining Boston-based public television station WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and its DTV Access Project to demonstrate the closed captioning in Washington this month at the conferences of two deaf organizations. NCAM will use Zenith sets to demonstrate the caption decoder.

The CEA's revised bulletin pertains to EIA/CEA-708-B, DTV Closed Captioning. The revised Implementation Guidance Bulletin (EIA/CEA-CEB-10-A) contains enhanced descriptions of the syntax needed for DTV closed-caption features not available through analog, and deals with other technical issues.

According to the FCC, all DTV receivers with 4:3 picture screens diagonally larger than 13 inches, all DTV receivers with 16:9 screens vertically taller than 7.8 inches and all separately sold DTV tuners must now be capable of decoding DTV closed captions.