A step-by-step guide for enabling subtitles to enjoy your favorite programming.

Learn how to turn on subtitles to enjoy your favorite programming.

It’s Friday night. You’re settled in to enjoy your favorite show or Oscar-winning flick. But first, you want to turn on the closed captions to get the most out of your programming. Thanks to decades of research, experimentation, and advocacy from groups and individuals, such as the National Captioning Institute and Marlee Matlin, subtitles are an easily accessible feature for millions of at-home viewers. Whether you have cable, satellite, or one of the many online streaming services, use this easy-to-follow guide to learn how to turn on closed captions on your TV.

Cable TV
If you have a receiver or DVR from Xfinity®, Charter Spectrum®, or Cox® Communications cable providers, use the following instructions to activate subtitles on your TV.

The following instructions apply to a high-definition (HD) TV with an HD TV box. There are different steps depending on the brand of your TV box. Click here to view instructions for standard definition TVs or with a CableCARD® device, such as TiVo.

For Motorola/Arris HD TV boxes:

  1. Turn TV box off but leave the TV on
  2. Press MENU on the TV box or your Xfinity remote control
  3. Navigate to CLOSED CAPTIONING using the down arrows
  4. Press the right arrow to enable or disable subtitles

For Scientific Atlanta (SA)/Cisco TV boxes:

  1. Press MENU or SETTINGS on your Xfinity remote control
  2. Scroll down to CAPTION/OFF/ON with Mute
  3. Press the right/left arrows to enable or disable

Charter Spectrum:
The following instructions apply to the latest Charter Spectrum guide. Click here to view instructions for older guides.

  1. Press MENU on your Charter Spectrum remote control
  2. Scroll to SETTINGS & SUPPORT using the arrows
  3. Select OK/SELECT
  4. Select CLOSED CAPTIONING or CLOSED CAPTIONING SETTINGS to manage your preferences

Cox Communications:
The following instructions apply to the Advanced TV HD Receiver. View alternate directions here if you have a stand-alone DVR or a different receiver.

  1. Press MENU/SETTINGS on your Cox remote control
  2. Press the A button
  3. Scroll to the LANGUAGE section using the arrows
  4. Scroll to CLOSED CAPTIONING and press the right arrow
  5. Press the right arrow again to highlight ON, press SELECT

Satellite TV
If you are using a receiver or DVR from DIRECTV® or DISH satellite TV providers, follow the instructions below to activate closed captions:


  1. Press INFO on your DIRECTV remote control
  2. Select CC on the screen
  3. Select DIRECTV Subtitles

You can also select CLOSED CAPTIONING from the CC menu.


  1. Depending on which remote control model you have, press the OPTIONS or red color button twice
  2. Select CLOSED CAPTIONING to enable or disable the setting options
  3. Select ACCESSIBILITY settings to customize how the subtitles appear
  5. Set your desired closed captioning preferences

If you do not have a receiver or DVR from a cable or satellite provider, look to your TV settings for subtitles rather than the cable or satellite settings. Locate your TV user guide or contact customer support for help as every TV brand has different instructions for enabling closed captions. In some cases, it may be as easy as selecting the CC button on your television remote control.

Online Streaming Services
If you’re watching a program on your TV using Hulu™, Netflix®, or Amazon® Prime Instant Video apps, use the following instructions to turn on closed captioning. If you’re watching from a different device, like your computer, tablet, or mobile phone, check the service provider’s website for alternate instructions.

The following instructions apply to the classic Hulu experience. If you’re using the new Hulu experience, read the instructions here.

  1. While a program is playing, press up on your controller twice
  2. Navigate to the CAPTIONS setting and press OK/SELECT on your controller
  3. Find formatting options in the ACCOUNT menu on the main page of the Hulu app

The following instructions apply to most Blu-ray players, Smart TVs, and set-top boxes. Click here to get instructions for turning on subtitles on other devices.

  1. Launch the Netflix app
  2. Select the show or movie you would like to watch
  3. Select AUDIO & SUBTITLES from the Options panel
  4. Select your preferred audio or subtitle options
  5. Press BACK to return to the Options panel

Amazon Prime Instant Video:
The following instructions apply to movies and TV shows with a CC symbol in the video details. You can use the Search feature at the top of the main page to filter all video options available with subtitles.

  1. Launch the Amazon Prime Instant Video app
  2. Start playing a video
  3. Select SUBTITLES or CC in your playback controls

When watching a DVD or Blu-ray, check the user guide or manufacturer’s website for instructions to enable closed captions.

Don’t see your system here? Search online for instructions.

Learning how to turn on closed captions on your TV can make a world of difference in the way you enjoy your binge-worthy shows. To find out how captions can also come in handy when using the phone, read about how CapTel captioned telephones work here.

Planning to grab a bite before snuggling up to catch up on your shows? Check out 7 tips for dining out with hearing loss here.

CapTel Captioned Telephone