Adjust Subtitles on Apple TV

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The advanced style options provide further customization choices for subtitles. Text Opacity allows users to make subtitle text transparent. This is really useful if you opt for larger font sizes. You can adjust it so that you can read the subtitles, yet still see the underlying video. Text Edge Style is very useful if you decide to opt out of a background. I created a background-free style that uses a white font but a Uniform edge style. This provides a black border around each character of white text. This is my preferred style, because it works on just about every background yet doesn’t obscure the video. You can even take it a step further and make the text semi-transparent, providing a clearer view of the underlying video. The trade-off is that subtitles may be harder to read. There are other text edge style options, however, apart from Uniform, they seem a bit gimmicky.

The final advanced subtitle option is Text Highlight. This option is actually the same thing as the Background option. It encloses the text in a rectangular background with various color and opacity options. I’m not sure what they were thinking in Cupertino with this one.

My preferred style is medium-sized white opaque text with no border and a uniform text edge. It’s the perfect blend of legibility and visibility. It doesn’t obscure video content at all, yet I can see it against virtually any video background. Here are all the settings for my favorite subtitle style:

Font: Helvetica
Size: Medium
Color: White
Background Color: Black (we won’t see the background due to the opacity setting)
Background Opacity: 0%
Text Opacity: Opaque
Text Edge Style: Uniform
Text Highlight Color: Black (we won’t see the background due to the opacity setting)
Text Highlight Opacity: 0%

Remember to set Video Overrides Style to Off on each individual settings screen.

Switching Subtitle Style Presets

Now that you have a few subtitle presets, it’s possible to switch between them. Unfortunately, this can’t be done using either Siri or the slide-down Info panel. I tried telling Siri to “turn on subtitles style one” or just saying “subtitles style one” to no avail. Siri just thinks I want subtitles on. You can only change subtitle styles through the Settings app. With the Settings app open, simply click on General > Accessibility > Subtitles and Captioning > Style and then pick a style. Although this is a cumbersome process, it’s not something you will be doing often. Once you find your preferred subtitle style, you’re likely to stick with it.

Deleting Subtitle Presets

You may accumulate too many subtitle presets over time. As you try them out, you may find that many of your experiments just didn’t work. It’s easy to delete subtitle styles. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Subtitles and Captioning > Style > Edit Styles and then click on the Edit button on the top right of the screen. Click on the garbage can icon next to each style you wish to delete and confirm deletion. Click on the Done button when you’re finished. You can’t delete the three built-in settings styles — Default, Large Text and Classic. next page →

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1 comment

  1. We’ve just bought series 15 of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. I’m deaf, so need subtitles. The subtitles appear about a third of the way down the screen, right in the middle of faces, which makes the series unwatchable.

    How can I fix this.

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