Cable TV closed captions without cable?
November 23, 2011 5:30 AM   Subscribe

I need access to the closed captions from broadcast / cable television, but can no longer use my local cable company. Is there a company that provides access to up-to-date and archived closed captions from major networks?

My local cable company is dropping all analog services early next year, which makes my multi-card capture computer no longer workable. Are there any companies that provide access to the closed captions from broadcast and cable television? Are there alternative ways to get closed caption access without any TV service?
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite provides closed captions. I watch them online all the time. If you subscribe you get access to even more shows.
posted by shoesietart at 5:36 AM on November 23, 2011

I hate to do the Radio Shack game, but what are you using it for? I'm not sure what you are asking- you just want to get the text of the captions? Or you want to watch TV programs from a service (like the aforementioned Hulu) that also provides closed captions?

Anyway, if you are happy with the current setup, you can get something like this, which will capture digital broadcast and cable channels (that aren't encrypted).

Something like this would let you get the encrypted channels, by having the cable company install a cablecard into it.
posted by gjc at 6:48 AM on November 23, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry for not being more specific. I need the *text* of the captions, I'm not interested in the actual accompanying video.

The local cable company isn't able to / won't say which channels will be in the clear and which will be encrypted after the all-digital switch. I may be able to replicate my current setup of multiple, simultaneous capture with a combination of new tuner cards and CableCARDs but the associated cost (new hardware, leasing multiple cablecards, increased subscription cost) doesn't make it very attractive. A third party supplier of the cc text would let me dump all of this.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 7:03 AM on November 23, 2011

Search for SRT files. For example, here's the most recent Star Trek movie in English (many other languages available). Open with Notepad or other text editor. provides closed captions.

Ha. For a very limited number of shows and movies. Netflix is similarly a joke.
posted by desjardins at 7:49 AM on November 23, 2011

Also, if you DO want to watch them with the video, you can use a program like TitleDrome to sync the SRT file to the movie. I believe VLC player also does this. It's a little fiddly; often the subtitles don't sync to the dialogue so you have to play with slowing them down/speeding them up.
posted by desjardins at 7:51 AM on November 23, 2011

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