I need video content WITH SUBTITLES to play where there's no WiFi.
July 31, 2019 2:39 PM   Subscribe

I want to watch video content on my phone while I'm at the gym, and I need closed captioning or subtitles (in English) displaying with this video content. (Does me no good to watch without it, please don't answer the question if you're not going to address this part of it.) How can I get my device to play content with subtitles?

Here's what I have:

* an iPhone
* a Netflix subscription
* an HBO GO subscription
* Amazon Prime
* a laptop (cannot take this to the gym, but might be part of download solution?)
* willingness to load up content maybe 1x/week (not every day)
* reasonably simple tastes: I don't need fancy content, reruns of Friends will do, though HBO stuff would be better

If there were WiFi at the gym, I could stream content with closed captioning on, but there is no WiFi at the gym.

Please help me, they keep putting either agitating news shows or Ryan Seacrest on the video monitors in front of the machines, and Seacrest saps my will to live.
posted by fingersandtoes to Technology (12 answers total)
I assume you don't want to use your phone's data plan to stream Netflix?
posted by jonathanhughes at 2:48 PM on July 31, 2019

I've watched downloaded Netflix episodes on my iPhone with subtitles and sound playing through headphones. I just turned my settings on to have subtitles playing (They're on all the time for me for no good reason other than that I forgot to turn them off.). You might want to experiment before you go to the gym to see if the subtitle option needs to be turned on before the download, but I don't think it matters. Good luck!
posted by melissa at 2:49 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

You should be able to do this with Amazon Prime - install the Prime Video app on your phone, then you can download some shows, though not all (I have no idea how you can tell which shows are downloadable and which aren't beyond just looking to see whether there's a download link or not).

Likewise the Netflix app lets you download episodes for later watching (maybe movies too?). There's a little download icon next to the episode title.

They both have subtitles.
posted by mskyle at 2:53 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've done this thing exactly with Netflix. I don't think you need anything special to get the subtitles as well.

Some content (recent movies?) cannot be downloaded but most of what Netflix offers is available for offline use.
posted by AndrewStephens at 2:53 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]

Netflix downloaded shows will definitely support this.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:55 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Alternatively, I'm pretty sure that if you buy movies or TV shows via Apple, you can sync them to your iPhone. Most of them have subtitles.

Also, if you get the media from Any Other Unnamed Source, you should be able to use VLC to play it on your phone.
posted by praemunire at 3:08 PM on July 31, 2019

On Android, I use an app called MX Player to view MKV files with embedded subtitles. Presumably there's something similar for iPhone, though I can't recommend any particular apps firsthand.
posted by reptile at 3:25 PM on July 31, 2019

Netflix and Amazon Prime apps both allow for downloading for later viewing. Subtitles work. Source: I'm hard of hearing, constantly use subtitle options, and have used these apps offline.

I just tested it on my iphone (only ever used on ipad before). Netflix automatically played with subtitles because that's my default. Prime didn't, but there's a box in the upper right hand corner during video play that opens the subtitle option so it was super easy to turn on.

Netflix app has a "find something to download" menu so you can search for items more easily that way.
posted by acidnova at 3:40 PM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

Like acidnova I've used both prime and netflixs in offline mode with subtitles. I'll add though that not all shows have subtitles including some surprisingly modern mainstream stuff (that I'm totally blanking on an example of). So you'll want to check before you depend on it.

Prime will automatically download the next episode of a series when you watch one. And it'll keep ahead IE: if you down load episodes 1-4 of a series and watch 1 & 2 the next time you have wifi prime will download 5&6. I think netflix does this too but I'm not positive. I tended to use prime a lot more because I can crank the bit rate way down.
posted by Mitheral at 10:43 PM on July 31, 2019

confirmed: downloaded Netflix content can be played with subtitles!! (I was running into trouble earlier because I was trying to play content ripped from my own DVDs, and couldn't get the subtitle info to come along with it.) O brave new world that has such technology in it! I'll never have to look at Seacrest's crab louse face again.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:04 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Since you mentioned ripping DVDs: I know for sure that Handbrake allows you to embed (burn) the subtitles into the resulting video file when you rip. More info here.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:24 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

When it comes to ripping DVDs or Blu-ray discs, I like to put the video and audio in an MP4 container and include SRT subtitles as a channel. Those are 'soft' subtitles, rather than 'hard' subtitles which are burned into the video image permanently. The reason I like doing it that way is that burned-in subtitles can be very small when watching on a phone, but soft subtitles can be scaled. Handbrake can include SRT files (in the Subtitles tab) that can downloaded from OpenSubtitles.org .

It may be possible to do the same thing with MKV containers, I've just standardized on MP4 for my library.
posted by jwest at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2019

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