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Different television equipment allows different access options for displaying captions on TV. Below are some accessibility and other general features to consider when purchasing:

  • Digital televisions and set-top boxes
  • Personal video recorders/hard-disk recorders
  • Teletext TVs

Digital televisions and set-top boxes

TEAC 420


  • Watch TV with captions, if compliant with Australian Standard 4933
  • Connect to any VCR or DVD recorder and record captioned programs
  • Different digital tuners use different fonts and formatting
  • Can solve many reception problems


  • May need to upgrade your antenna
  • Not all digital equipment is compliant with Australian Standard 4933

Buy a High Definition set-top box if:

  • You have a television/monitor which supports High Definition resolutions. (These are typically called a HDTV or HD Ready)
  • You have a sound system which supports digital 5.1 surround sound.
  • You want to see all the new digital multichannels (some of which are HD only).

Buy Standard Definition set-top box if:

  • You have a SDTV or normal analog TV which does not support HDTV. (Likely anything older than 2 years will not support HDTV resolutions)
  • You are not so concerned about receiving 5.1 surround sound broadcasts.

To record the captions you can either buy a digital set-top box and connect it to a VCR or DVD recorder, or you can buy one with an inbuilt hard-disk recorder (but make sure that it is a model which allows you to recoprd the captions). These are more expensive but boast lots of added features that make recording easy.

For more information on digital reception and equipment please refer to the Digital Ready website.

Personal Video Recorders (PVR)/Hard-Disk Recorders

Some PVRs and hard-disk recorders have inbuilt digital tuners in them so you can record programs with captions straight to a hard disk. TF7000PVR


  • In some cases you can turn the captions on or off after the program has been recorded.
  • There is no need for videotapes or recordable DVDs.
  • For long-term storage you can connect some recorders to a DVD recorder and burn programs to discs. Some recorders have inbuilt DVD recorders.


  • They have limited storage capacity so the more you store on your hard-disk, the less room there is for new programs.
  • If you have created a DVD with captions, the captions may only be displayed on the recorder they were recorded with. You can only play the uncaptioned version of the DVD on other DVD players.

Teletext TVs


  • Watch TV with captions
  • Captions all have standard display format


  • A standard VCR cannot record captions off a teletext TV
  • A DVD-R cannot record captions off a teletext TV
  • Captions are prone to reception problems
  • Teletext televisions will no longer receive a signal once analog is switched off in your area (due to happen between 2010 and 2013) unless connected to a digital set-top box.

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