Karen Stockton: Subtitles, my saviour! And how to get them back when they go missing

Posted on June 13, 2013


Where are my subtitles: Karen Stockton

Ever since my father bought our first TV with teletext, I remember clearly how amazing it was for me and my sister to be able to watch TV programmes with subtitles. The first time my father tapped in 888 … Wow!

Our TV watching experience had changed forever. Actually, it changed for my father too because we no longer would nag him asking to tell what was said.

All this was in the 1980s and well, today, some 25 years on I have to admit I have a certain level of expectation when it comes to viewing programmes with subtitles – especially the ones which clearly state that the program will have subtitles with that ‘S’ in the programme guide.

We all know how it feels. You record your favourite programmes and after a long hard day at work, all you want to do is curl up and chill out with a cuppa watching them. Then it happens, or in our case, it doesn’t happen.

There are no subtitles. Not again!

Normally, I just give up and delete the programme. Sometimes, if I can be bothered, I drag my chair close enough to the TV to plug a pair of headphones in and switch my hearing aids to loop but after a while my poor ears, pressed up against the hearing aids, start to hurt.

Actually, I have been able to get a pair of headphones with an extra-extra-long lead so I don’t need to stretch myself. Still, it’s frustrating when it happens.

We had the same problem again last week, only this time, I knew something wasn’t quite right. Again, the subtitles mysteriously disappeared on the last three programmes I tried to watch in a particular series. The thing is, we had just been up to stay with a friend who had the same Sky box, same channel and recorded the same series but the subtitles worked.

So, I knew something was amiss. We tried to flick through the menus to see if we had done something wrong, turned the subtitles off and on again with no joy. We tried to see if there was any trouble shooting guide available but nothing. Next stop was to find Sky’s contact page to see if we can deal with them directly to find the answer. We found a number but they only advertised a voice phone number, so my husband tried to ring it and we soon realised that there was going to be a long and costly wait.

We gave up on that idea but eventually, we thought we maybe should try to reset the box. I mean, it’s what we do with everything else when it goes wrong. So we turned it off, waited awhile and turned it back on again and selected the programmes that were missing the subtitles (hadn’t deleted them this time luckily) and hey presto! The subtitles were back.

So to all those people using Sky, if you find yourself in a similar situation – give it a go – you might get your subtitles back!

Karen Stockton is from Lincolnshire and works for Action on Hearing Loss. She also helps to run the Signpost group for Christian deaf people.

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