The Closed Caption Conundrum
Middleman Middlereview Middlemaddness
My copy of the Middleman DVD box set from Shout! Factor finally arrived yesterday, and after much anticipation (and drooling over the intricate packaging) Nadia and I watched the first episode (“The Pilot Episode Sanction”), and it was greatly enjoyed… By me. She also liked it, but not quite as much as I did. Not because she didn’t enjoy it, or think it funny or a great show (she compared it, favorably, to Firefly, which is bot a major plus and some major nerd cred right there), but because of the language barrier.
Which brings me to the point of this posting: Why is it so damn hard to get Closed Captioning working while playing back a DVD? Shout!, for whatever reason, decided it would be better to have the captions on this set as Closed Captions, instead of subtitles. I’m not sure why this is – subtitles are simple to use from a consumer standpoint, and universally supported from a player standpoint. But CC? Not so much.
The PS3 will not pass CC through HDMI – in fact, a quick bit of google-fu shows that this is a pretty standard, known problem. So, my $400 media monster won’t allow my girlfriend to know everything that’s said on this show.
You Microsoft fanboys can just shut the hell up now too – it also will not pass the CC information through. Or, if it does, it does so in a very odd, unintuitive way – which is basically the same thing. So that’s another $300 well spent.
Thankfully, my Mac mini, which I use for a media center anyway – not only has DVD playback baked into the OS (why any modern OS wouldn’t have this feature I’ll never understand), but it does fully support CC. Which is why we’ll be watching Middleman on a computer via DVD…
The box set is great – the package is great, with lots of neat touches, the picture quality is freat, the sound quality is wonderful… But the fact that so much work had to be done just to get the damn CC working (Total time spent dicking around: half an hour… on over a $1000 worth of equipment) makes Shout!’s choice of captioning a fail in my eyes.
I would still reccomend this set to anyone who likes fun, unless they were deaf. In which case, it’s just too much of a hassle.
Seriously, Shout! – Get your act together soon.