Television Decoder Circuitry Act

The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 requires television receivers with picture screens 13 inches or larger to have built-in decoder circuitry designed to display closed captioned television transmissions.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also applied this requirement to computers equipped with television circuitry that are sold together with monitors that have viewable pictures at least 13 inches in diameter; to digital television sets that have screens measuring 7.8 inches vertically (approximately the equivalent of a 13-inch diagonal analog screen); and to stand-alone digital television (DTV) tuners and set top boxes (used to provide cable, satellite, and other subscription television services), regardless of the screen size with which these are marketed or sold.  The Television Decoder Circuitry Act also requires the FCC to ensure that closed captioning services continue to be available to consumers as new video technology is developed.

Statute:  47 U.S.C. §§ 303(u) and 330(b), available at

Related Issue:  Closed Captioning Decoders – Is This Enough?