Baby Max discovers the “secret menu” for closed captions on a Shaw remote

(Cuttin’ t’ th’ chase, here’s how t’ do it: Turn yer TV on but yer cable box off. Aim at th’ cable box an’ hit th’ Settin’s button. The ‘secret menu’ appears. Use th’ arrow keys t’ navigate an’ turn on captions.)

I sometimes have wished I could turn on closed captionin’ on me TV – fer example when I’ve had visitors (like Christy’s Mom an’ Dad) whose hearin’ isn’t 100% an’ could have benefited from it. Years ago, on me trusty auld tube TV an’ cable box, I simply hit a “caption” button on th’ TV remote an’ voila, thar it were bein’. My new “improved” setup o’ an HD set an’ a digital cable box meant o’ course that it were bein’ now an arcane procedure. In fact, I couldn’t figure it out at all. I pored o’er every menu I could find on th’ Shaw cable box, but captions were simply nowhere t’ be found. I called Shaw tech support an’ reached a friendly wench who explained that it were bein’ a tricky combination o’ hittin’ th’ “power” an’ “cable” buttons in rapid succession t’ brin’ up a sort o’ “secret menu”. The winsome lass warned me that it weren’t easy t’ get it right. I gave it a try, several times o’er th’ next day or so, but it no nay ne’er worked. Pressin’ “power” first simply turned off th’ cable box, no matter how quickly I hit th’ next button. Then, this mornin’, Max were bein’ playin’ with th’ remote. At a year an’ two months, he doesn’t really use it in a very sophisticated manner. But suddenly on th’ TV I saw what looked like a service menu. It looked totally different from th’ slick Shaw digital menu, just black text in a computer font on a white screen. I actually watched fer a moment t’ confirm it weren’t just somethin’ on a TV station. Then it disappeared. Max had discovered th’ secret menu! But… how’d he do it? The ornery cuss wouldn’t tell me so I had t’ try meself. But I had new hope. I still reached a dead end though. Finally I trawled th’ Web lookin’ fer th’ answer – though I’d done this before unsuccessfully. And – among several wrong versions o’ th’ instructions – I found it. Turns out I had t’ turn OFF th’ cable box first… makin’ sure th’ TV were bein’ on… an’ THEN, aimin’ at th’ cable box, hit th’ “Settin’s” (aka “Menu”) button. And thar it were bein’! The simple, geeky-lookin’ menu. The arrow keys worked t’ navigate up an’ down it, an’ thar were bein’ a Captions option which I were bein’ able t’ turn on. Then I turned on th’ cable box with th’ Power button… an’ captions flowed down me screen! I think a couple o’ thin’s threw me off track. As ye can see in th’ image above, th’ Settin’s button is also labeled “Menu” just above it, but t’ me that seemed like a label fer that entire section o’ three buttons; o’ course that’s wrong, it is indeed an alternate label fer th’ Settin’s button. And more t’ th’ point, th’ notion that ye would send any comman’ t’ th’ cable box while it were bein’ off were bein’ counterintuitive. Yet that’s how this function works! Not only were bein’ I given inaccurate (or badly communicated) information by tech support, but even out on th’ Web thar be multiple versions o’ how t’ do this. If ye’re on Shaw Cable, this is The Way. I dern’t know if this method works on all other cable systems that use th’ pictured remote (me Mom in Oaklan’ has Comcast cable with th’ same unit), but ’tis sure worth a try. If this tip can prevent even one person from goin’ through th’ frustration that I experienced, it’ll be worth it! Ultimately I have t’ thank Max. Looks like he be a chip off th’ auld block, even bestin’ his Dad at tech support!

14 thoughts on “Baby Max discovers the “secret menu” for closed captions on a Shaw remote

  1. Somehow my technically challenged wife was having problems with the TV and just started pressing buttons. I was not watching, but she managed to turn on CC. I found your article here after a few Google searches. Shaw had nothing. Thanks for documenting this hudden menu. It saved me from a lot of frustration. I remember using this menu when I first set up my PVR/Cable box but I forgot all about it until I read your article. It might have been described in the cable box doc. I used it to set the HDMI output to 1080i. It defaulted to 720P.
    Thanks again.

  2. Thanks a million! I actually stumbled onto this secret menu and turned on CC. But because the texts are actually too big and obstructing the view, I needed to have it turned off! I tried virtually everything and yet couldn’t bring up this menu again. I then did a search on google and saw your article.
    Initially I couldn’t bring up the menu even after executing the sequence you recommended. I switched off the TV and turned it on again while the cable box was still off. Then, boom! the secret menu appeared.
    Thank you again for sharing this piece of information.

  3. Holy Smokes! Huge thanks to Max! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that for years.


  4. Thank you so much for posting. This is truly a secret menu. Your post was the only one that I came across that explained how to work this so clearly. It is counterintuitive to switch off the box and then press settings. Much appreciated!

  5. Thank you so much, now finally I can watch a movie and know exactly what’s going on! I was told by a rep at Shaw that it wasn’t possible to add close captions to a VOD movie so I didn’t pursue it after that… but yesterday was the last straw …. I ‘knew’ there had to be a way as I was sure I came across something by accident when I was setting up my tv. Gone are the days of rewinding and replaying over and over just to understand a dialogue….not having perfect hearing during quiet conversations is no fun. Now I can enjoy my movies again! Thank you for sharing your secret!

  6. Thank you SO MUCH! My mom is partially deaf and we sometimes end up at places without closed captioning (or so it would appear). We’re staying at a hotel that we didn’t think had it, tried your tip, and it worked!!

  7. You’re very welcome! I have to say, this is my one blog post that seems to have helped a ton of people – I’m so glad I put this info out there! All the best!

  8. Thanks a ton for this, CC got stuck on by accident somehow and I spent days tyring to figure this out! You rock!

  9. Thank you !!
    Shaw cable rebooted my box & after my CC was disabled. Tech support said for my older box they have turned off CC services!!! No longer available & I should rent or buy a new one from them!!
    I argued that it’s their box & should provide the same service before the reboot!!
    Anywsys, I did what you said & it works now !!
    Money grab from shaw!!!

    Thank you again!!!

  10. You’re very welcome Sandra! I’m so glad that this post continues to help people – and to do an end-run around Shaw’s corporate cash grab… all the best!

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