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The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 required that television sets with screens 13 inches or larger manufactured for sale in the United States have built-in closed-caption decoder circuitry that allows viewers to display closed captions on their sets. The deadline for compliance with this act was July 1993, so any television purchased after 1993 should have built-in support for closed captions. Consult your television's manual or contact the manufacturer to learn how to turn on closed captions.
To display videos from a VCR, older television models may require an external closed-captioning decoder device that connects to both the VCR and the television and decodes the video's captions so that the television can display them.
Keep in mind that even if there are no deaf students or instructors in the class, captions benefit all those trying to listen in a noisy environment, as well as individuals for whom the video is not in their first language or who learn best or otherwise benefit from multisensory input.
The following AccessIT Knowledge Base articles may also be of interest:
For additional information, contact your region's ADA & IT Center at 1-800-949-4232.