Closed Captions vs. Open Captions: What’s the Difference?

Closed Captions Vs. Open Captions

Sometimes understanding what’s being said in a video is difficult. Captions and subtitles can help here! Whether you put ‘Open Captions’ or ‘Closed Captions’ in your video content, they both serve the same purpose of providing accessibility to a larger audience.

Closed Captions vs. Open Captions Whats the Difference

No matter why you are having a hard time interpreting the audio of a video, the captions provided are a big help. So, if you have hearing problems, don’t understand the accent, or are in a situation where you can’t turn up the volume, the open captions or closed captions will be your saving grace!

But which caption is better? Let’s compare the closed captions vs. open captions!

Open Captions

The captions in videos and movies that are burned into the video are called open captions. They can’t be turned on or off because the video creator chose to show them on screen without giving the user/viewer any control.


No matter why you are having a hard time interpreting the audio of a video, the captions provided are a big help.

Closed Captions Versus Open Captions Whats the Difference
  • Benefits of Open Caption

There are many advantages of open captions, such as:

  • Viewers with problematic devices don’t have to go to the ‘Settings’ to turn on the captions.
  • Open captions also provide ease to viewers who have shaky hands from diseases like arthritis or old age; they won’t fear pressing something else while trying to open captions.
  • It is also easier for the video creator as the captions are burned into the video, and they don’t have to go through the ordeal of creating a separate file.
  • Closed captions require decoders to be available globally, whereas open captions are available without any decoder.
  • Disadvantages of Open Caption

Some small disadvantages of open captions include:

  • If some users don’t want captions in their videos, they don’t have the option to turn them off.
  • Since open captions are directly burned into the video; therefore, the quality of the video and captions is tied together. If you have a blurry video, the captions will also become blurred automatically, making it difficult to read.
Closed Captions vs. Open Captions


Closed Captions

Closed captions also show the text under a video. But these captions are incorporated in the user control, and the audience has the reign over the setting; if they prefer turning on the captions, they can do so, and they can turn them off at will as well.

Closed Captions Versus Open Captions

Some great advantages of closed captions are:

  • The biggest benefit is the option of turning it on and off at will, which provides a lot of flexibility to its viewers.
  • As the captions are added as a different file, if there’s a mistake in the captions, the video creator can effortlessly edit the caption file and re-upload it. In contrast, the open caption videos have to be taken down; the creator spends a lot of time editing the coding before re-uploading.
  • The closed captions are supported by many media players such as SCC, RT, SRT, and WebVTT. 
  • Disadvantages of Closed Captions

Some cons of closed captions include:

  • They require a decoder and are supported by specific media players; therefore, they are not available globally.
  • They are often in white format, and only the creator can format it, so if the background of the captions is bright, it’s difficult to read.
  • The decoders can only be installed in the TV set, game consoles, or cable set-up boxes.

Closed Captions vs. Open Captions Circle Translations

When are Open Captions Used?

Open captions are mostly used in offline videos, social media videos, or in movies that have a different language than English. Even in English movies, whenever there’s a different language, the movie creators add the English translations as open captions underneath for English language viewership.

They are also used when there’s no option for closed captions. Some websites do not allow closed captioning services, so it makes it necessary for you to add heavy open caption files to your video content, or you have the choice of not adding any captions at all. But, if you add them, your content will be viewed by a larger audience without any problem.

One benefit of open captions is that users don’t have to figure out how to turn on the captions; they will have the open captions available for their entire video. This also means that they won’t be able to turn them off if they want.

Some movie theaters also don’t have the option of providing cinema-goers with closed captioning equipment, so it’s better to provide them with open captions that allow everyone to enjoy the perfect theatre experience!


Larger social platforms like Facebook and YouTube always offer you the option of adding closed captions.

Uses of Closed Captions

Closed captions are there for the user’s own preference. The major difference between closed captions and open captions is the option of turning them on and off at the viewer’s will.

A large number of people like to customize the way they watch videos. Some people prefer keeping their captions closed, and some prefer open captions to understand your video better. It is always better to provide closed captioning wherever possible.

Larger social platforms like Facebook and YouTube always offer you the option of adding closed captions. This way, your content isn’t only available for a global audience but also for people who don’t like to keep their captions open. You can see closed captions in YouTube videos; they always offer the option of closed captions. YouTube also offers the option of automatic captions that aren’t always flawless, but the technology is still developing, and there are advances every day.

Wrapping Up

There may be many differences between open and closed captions. It ultimately depends on the video creators, which type of captions they want to use. However, almost everyone can agree on the fact that no matter what, there are many uncountable advantages of captions in a video. So, whether you want to watch a video with full volume or mute it and read the captions, they are useful at all times!