What to Do If My Closed Captioning Is Out of Sync?

By Kimberly Kaplan

Closed captioning was developed to assist the hearing impaired in watching television programs. A closed caption is a text version of what people or characters say, and any sound effects or music. When the caption is posted on the television screen, the viewer can read what is happening. When the closed captioning does not line up properly with what is happening on the screen, the viewer will have difficulty watching the program. Try these steps to troubleshoot when your closed captioning is out of sync.


First, make sure the closed captioning function has been activated on your TV. If it is on, retune your TV. Check all your TV controls to make sure they are set properly. Use your TV manual to deactivate any controls you do not use, as they may allow reception difficulties if they are accidentally set to a wrong position.


Closed captioning signals are susceptible to reception problems similarly to TV signals. If your closed caption texts are jumbled, missing lines, or if the captions appear on different lines, check to make sure your teletext TV or decoder is tuned properly. You may have to refer to your TV manual to retune your TV. The weather may also be causing the problem because strong winds sometimes affect TV reception.


The wrong antenna will cause reception problems. You should not use an indoor antenna outside or an outdoor antenna inside. Make sure your antenna hasn't been moved or damaged. A damaged antenna can cause reception problems and should be replaced. Check the reception in your VCR and/or DVD player; they experience reception problems just like a television. Simply run the channels through your VCR/DVD player to see if the problem with the closed captioning is consistent. You may try disconnecting your VCD/DVD player to see if reception improves.

Repair Work

If all your channels have suddenly gone out of sync with closed captioning, your TV reception may be affected by repair work in the neighborhood. If your closed captioning has been deteriorating slowly, however, you may have a problem within your TV, VCR or antenna. Consider replacing the antenna, the VCR or the TV.