What a SAP!

2007.Oct.15 Monday · 9 comments

in Life

 Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

– Arthur C. Clarke, Science & Science Fiction writer

Buenos Aires – I’m almost tempted to list this as a Costa Rica based post rather than Buenos Aires. Not that I’m there, but, there I was, yesterday, reading my friend in Costa Rica’s blog, and she mentions this whole thing about not being a “techie” and having some local expat friends tell her about the MTS or SAP button on her TV remote… Now, I think of myself pretty much as a technologically savvy kind of guy. I’ve built computers from scratch. I repair my own electronics. I’ve never heard of… nor for that matter noticed… the MTS or SAP button (actually, the remote on our main TV doesn’t have one, and I had to eventually resort to the instruction manual… horror of horrors… to find that its F3 key is the equivalent). Know what this handy little button does? If you do, just keep quiet. If you don’t, and especially if you, like me, are one of those expats who sometimes just wishes you could watch a movie in English or French or… rather than Spanish or whatever language it’s been dubbed into… yes, you’re getting a hint there…

IT CHANGES THE LANGUAGE TO THE ORIGINAL BROADCAST LANGUAGE! (or whatever other language(s) they’re broadcasting it in)

Now, it doesn’t work on every channel, but it seems to pretty much work on any major US channels broadcast here – Fox, TMC, ESPN… apparently, they broadcast their stuff in both languages, on separate audio channels, and with a poke at the button, voila!

And before someone asks… MTS = Multichannel Television Sound; SAP = Second Audio Program

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

ksternberg October 15, 2007 at 17:42

Well, how humbling. I still think most television and related remotes are far beyond the capabilities of most humans. Of course, I’m in luck because if I get stumped I ask my 12 year old son to show me.

dan October 15, 2007 at 18:44

It is, isn’t it! Hey, but now you can test your son’s true abilities and see if he knows about the MTS/SAP button!

I find myself wondering – and I leave it up to one of you in the U.S. to tell me – what happens if you switch to the SAP setting on a TV station that offers it there? Does it broadcast in an alternate language… or add subtitling… or?

ksternberg October 15, 2007 at 22:29

In the northeast U.S. where I live, if anything happens at all, pressing SAP changes the audio into Spanish. Doesn’t SAP stand for supplementary audio program? I once discovered how to get subtitles, but it looked really odd because instead of nice small lettering at the bottom of the screen, these big rectangle black boxes appeared on the lower half of the screen. The words were inside of them, but the boxes blocked out the video.

Saratica October 16, 2007 at 05:34

Could we ever have imagined this would be so exciting?!?

dan October 16, 2007 at 08:01

And they said that blogging could only be used for evil?!

Pip October 17, 2007 at 01:27

SAP is awesome, Dan, I´m glad you are discovering its joys since dubbed shows or movies are truly hideous. The button doesn´t have to say SAP per se, I have a Philips TV and the right button is called stereo, you just click and it goes from mono to stereo or from stereo to SAP if the channel and the cable company offer the option. In some older TVs, SAP is in the audio menu. Hope this helps!

Frank Almeida October 17, 2007 at 17:00

It was one of the first buttons I pressed when I came face to face with local TV. One channel that has recently joined the SAP club is the Disney Channel. Yes, I have kids and I would not let that channel be a part of their TV viewing because until now it was only dubbed. Like Pip said, dubbed features are hideous.

Anyway, happy better TV viewing!

dan October 17, 2007 at 19:06

Even just for watching Sunday Night Football – the dubbed commentary on the live games is near impossible to listen to, and they clearly don’t quite understand what it is they’re translating… being able to watch it with the live English sports commentary is a blessing!

Frank Almeida October 18, 2007 at 16:03

On the flip side, when there are soccer games on ESPN I have to SAP the TV over to Spanish because the commentary in English is probably just as bad as the Spanish commentators on American Football, Basketball, etc.

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