COULD IT BE TRUE: DIRECTV receivers don’t pass closed captioning over the HDMI port?

Yes but it’s not their fault.

DIRECTV’s HD receivers don’t pass closed captioning through the digital HDMI port. If you want reliable closed captions from your TV’s captioning decoder, you’ll need to use standard definition cables. Before you get all the way up in arms, this isn’t just a DIRECTV issue… there isn’t a standard for sending closed captions over HDMI, there just isn’t. So you won’t find any HDMI-equipped device that sends closed captions to your TV’s built-in decoder. It’s not clear why HDMI doesn’t include closed captions but … it just doesn’t.

United States law says that any device that can’t provide closed captions to the TV MUST have its own decoder, and must be capable of showing those captions on the screen. All DIRECTV HD receivers have the ability to do this and it’s easy to get to. Press the {INFO} button and arrow over to “CC.” You’ll have the option of Closed Captions or DIRECTV Subtitles, which are usually better but don’t “strictly” meet the FCC definition of captioning. You can even set different sizes and styles for captioning by going into your receiver’s setup menu.

For the most part, people who depend on closed captions don’t seem to mind that they’re coming from the receiver not the TV. The complaints come from people who are accustomed to their TV automatically turning on captions when they mute. Sure, that’s a useful feature for those folks who use captions while on the phone, but it’s not a federal requirement.