Which Sources/Content Support Captions (and which do not)

As someone who has a hearing impairment and processing disorder, captions are very important to my viewing experience. I cannot thank the Channels team enough for the excellent work they've done to add captioning support in the application, especially in regards to srt captions on custom content and virtual channels.

I know there are other members of this community that also use captions, so I put together a table of common (and not so common) sources that people use and the current support of those captions in Channels. Some of these sources do not support captions for technical reasons; others just do not provide caption data at all. Relevant threads/comments are linked.

There are a few sources that I have never tried. Those have a status of "Unknown." I will update the status once someone who uses that source confirms whether or not it supports captions. If there is a source that you would like added, please comment below.

I plan on keeping this table up-to-date as possible.

Source/Type Caption Support Notes
HDHomeRun Yes
TV Everywhere Yes
PlayOn Cloud Some May depends on the service. Hulu recordings have captions. The CW used to not, but apparently does now. Have not tested most services. YMMV.
Virtual Channels Yes Non-encoded subtitles in beta
Local Content Yes Non-encoded subtitles in beta
BBC, Channel 4, Blaze, My 5, UKTVPlay, ITV Docker M3U Unknown
Bumblebee TV (@Apsattv) M3U No
Chrome Capture for Channels Unknown
Distro (@Apsattv) M3U No
Distro TV Docker M3U No
EPlusTV (ESPN+ and Fox Sports) Yes
FreeMoviesPlus (@Apsattv) M3U Yes
Frndly TV for Channels Yes* *All except Hallmark Channel and Local Now
HDMI for Channels Open Captions Caption data cannot be transmitted via HDMI. Captions can be activated on the source device, but they will be "burned in" to the video, i.e. they cannot be turned on and off.
LocalBTV Docker M3U Some
MLB for Channels Yes
PBS Docker M3U No
Plex (@matthuisman) M3U Some Some channels have captions, some do not.
Pluto for Channels No* Channels does not support WebVTT captions. *A very limited number of channels, like Nick Pluto, support captions.
Rakuten TV (@Apsattv) M3U No
RewardedTV (@Apsattv) M3U Some Some channels have captions, some do not.
Roku Channel (@Apsattv) M3U Yes
Samsung (@matthuisman) M3U Some Some channels have captions, some do not.
Stirr for Channels Yes
TCL (@Apsattv) M3U Some Some channels have captions, some do not.
Tubi (@Apsattv) M3U Yes
TugoTV Docker M3U Unknown
USTVNOW Docker M3U Unknown Could not get the non-free channels to load despite having a subscription (as of Jun. 3, 2023)
Veely (@Apsattv) M3U Yes
Vidaa (@Apsattv) M3U No
Xumo Docker M3U Yes
Xiaomi (@Apsattv) M3U No
YouTube via the "Kister Method" No
Zeasn (@Apsattv) M3U No
Change log:
  • February 18, 2024
    • Updated PlayOn to state that CW recordings now support captions
  • September 30, 2023
    • Removed Level News because the service has shut down
  • July 8, 2023
    • Added "Chrome Capture for Channels" with "Unknown" support
  • June 3, 2023
    • No caption support:
      • YouTube via the "Kister Method"
      • PBS Docker M3U
      • Distro TV Docker M3U
    • Yes caption support:
      • Frndly TV for Channels
      • Xumo Docker M3U
      • EPlusTV (ESPN+ and Fox Sports)
    • Unknown caption support:
      • VLC Bridge UK Docker M3U
      • Level News Docker M3U
      • USTVNOW Docker M3U
    • Some caption support:
      • LocalBTV Docker M3U
    • Alphabetized third-party sources
9 Likes

Don't think I'll need this, but just in case, placeholder.

None of the livestreams I've seen have CC, even on YouTube's own player. If there's an example of one that has CC enabled I'd be happy to test via the Kister Method. Not even TWiT.tv's livestream has it:

The ABC News live stream has them: WATCH LIVE: Latest News Headlines and Events | ABC News Live - YouTube

Thanks! Tested it out and unfortunately the Kister method for streaming YTTV Live videos isn't passing along the captions, they are not displaying in Channels.

Thanks for checking! I've updated the table.

The recordings I've made from FrndlyTV have closed captions. I just spot checked a few channels Live and they have them. Can't vouch for every channel though.

Thanks!

1 Like

EPlus does support captions

1 Like

Thanks!

Surfing through all 45 FrndlyTV channels, all of them have Closed Captioning, except for these two.
Hallmark Channel
Local Now

Thanks!

Updates for today (so far):

  • No caption support:
    • YouTube via the "Kister Method"
    • PBS Docker M3U
    • Distro TV Docker M3U
  • Yes caption support:
    • Frndly TV for Channels
    • Xumo Docker M3U
    • EPlusTV (ESPN+ and Fox Sports)
  • Unknown caption support:
    • VLC Bridge UK Docker M3U
    • Level News Docker M3U (could not get the m3u from this Docker to download despite having a subscription)
    • USTVNOW Docker M3U (could not get non-free channels to play despite having a subscription)
  • Some caption support:
    • LocalBTV Docker M3U

Alphabetized third-party sources

Added Chrome Capture for Channels with Unknown support.

@fashioncents

This is a GREAT post. Ty for sharing.

+1

Removed Level News because the service has shut down

2 Likes

I get captions on CW/PlayOn.

For many things on PlayOn Cloud, the captions are out of sync with the sound, especially toward the end of the recording.

That’s good to hear that they fixed it. I recorded a whole series off there without checking that the captions worked first and wasted a bunch of credits.