Ever since its debut in 1997, the EAS has taken the form of many different screens, also known as EAS Bulletins, generated by specifically produced Emergency Alert System encoders or compatible character generators. This article will showcase most, if not all real screens used with the system. For information about the ticker, consider viewing this article.
Station slide (1997-present)
On most television stations, a slide typically accompanied by the station's logo, call sign, and a ticker will interrupt regular programming or commercial break. These are sometimes introduced or concluded with a voiceover announcing the test. These slides have largely existed since the beginning of the EAS, with some from around the beginning still being used at some stations to this very day.
National Periodic Test screens (November 9, 2011-present)
During nationwide EAS tests (including the November 9, 2011 test), stations would sometimes broadcast a special screen used exclusively for them.
WNEP Screen (November 9, 2011-August 7, 2019)
This screen was used by WNEP in Scranton, Pennsylvania (and possibly other stations) during the 2011 Nationwide Test. It consists of a red gradient ticker and yellow text keyed over normal programming. After the 2011 Nationwide Test, WNEP only used the gradient scroll.
WBRE-TV "This is only a test" Screen (November 9, 2011)
During the national test of 2011, WBRE-TV used a slide where the screen is a wavy blue gradient background with the white text "THIS IS ONLY A TEST", with "THIS IS ONLY" in one column in a lighter font and "TEST" in another column in a big bold font.
FEMA National Periodic Test Screen (November 9, 2011-present)
This screen is exclusively used on National Tests, as well as the 2011 National Test.
HEARST Television Blue and Red FEMA Screen (November 9, 2011-August 7, 2019)
HEARST Television "FEMA" Variants (August 11, 2021)
This updated screen from the previous HEARST Blue and Red FEMA screen has seen usage on all Big Three stations owned-and-operated by HEARST Television in the United States during the 2021 National Periodic Test. Rather than appear and obscure programming, the normal broadcast would zoom out to reveal two tickers, one with alert details and the other on a white bar reading "THIS IS ONLY A TEST", next to the program contains a red box which includes the FEMA logo inside.
Idea/onics CG-1000 (1997?-2011?)
Features a red background with text received from a HollyAnne EAS encoder (such as the MIP-921 and the HU-961) and "IDEA/ONICS CG-1000 EAS" or "THIS CABLE SYSTEM IS CONDUCTING A REQUIRED TEST OF THE EAS SYSTEM." blinking every 10 seconds or so. Assumed to be used from the late-90s into the early 2010s.
Blank Gray Screen version
A plain gray version of the screen exists where the screen is gray and there is no text. This is due to an unproperly configured character generator. It is also reported that other CG issues include a plain red screen or just static, but no footage is found yet.
Video Data Systems / MHz Sub-Alert (1997-present)
Main article: Video Data Systems/MHz Sub-Alert
These are typically seen as fullscreen messages, utilizing different backgrounds depending on the alert's severity, and is paired with text regarding the active alert (optionally in Spanish if set) on the top and a ticker on the bottom. (though exempt from RWTs). Optionally, these could be paired with a Tune-to screen that informs the viewer to switch the channel to see the message in more detail. Alternatively, some variations of the MHz Sub-Alert EAS/CG utilize a STV5730A chip, which was also used on the Trilithic EASyPLUS and CEMS-0500. It has been used since 1997, with most stations decommissioning the CG around 2012.
Both could also be run as standalone character generators, occasionally used for local access alerts issued by local authorities or as a placeholder message on the details channel. If the details channel is used alongside normal EAS usage, the character generator's page queue is paused and restored following the message.
A fullscreen message similar to the MHz Sub-Alert, but with a fixed blue background and ticker with multiple colors depending on the severity. It can be hooked up to either a legacy EASy unit or Trilithic/GR EAS-1. It is rumored that Comcast in St. Clairsville, Ohio used this screen until 2013. However, it cannot be confirmed at this time.
- One version has the alert with the originator on top and no bar.
- Another uses the EAS text on top of the alert and the bar on the top.
- Another uses the EAS text on top of the alert and the bar on the bottom. This version is the most common one.
- Another uses a black screen with small text and a ticker on top. This is generated by the SpectraGen 3-RM, unlike the other versions, which are generated by the SpectraGen Z-4000.
Cable Envoy (1999-2011?)
A line of character generators originally developed by HollyAnne, later sold under Monroe Electronics. These units could be hooked up to either the Digital Alert Systems DASDEC or a HollyAnne SAM encoder.
Features 'EAS Alert Transmission' on the top and details underneath on a blue, magenta, black, or gray background.
Assumed to be a later revision relying on a different character generator chip (μPD6465, might also be referred to as the uPD6465) than the 0500. Features 'EAS Transmission' on the top and details underneath on a blue background. These could also be set up for fullscreen messages, like a technical difficulty slide or similar.
Gorman-Redlich Ext Character Generator (1997?-2018?)
Seems to have been used from the early 2000s into the late 2010s, however has been reported to be still in use by VAST Broadband from 2014 to 2018. The screen features the translation of the SAME header with 'EMERGENCY DETAILS' at the top of the screen and flips between multiple pages, as indicated by a counter. These can be shown with either a black screen, a gray screen, or transparent. A tune to channel screen also exists, showing the translation and the set channel the customer is supposed to tune into. It can be hooked up to either a TFT EAS 911 or a DASDEC encoder.
Trilithic EASyPLUS/EASyCAST/EASyIPTV (2002-present)
Main article: Trilithic EASyPLUS/EASyCAST/EASyIPTV Screen
The screens generated by the Trilithic EASyPLUS/EASyCAST/EASyIPTV encoders are one of the most popular types of EAS screens of all time, being used throughout the early 2000s into the late 2010s. The legacy EASy series was decomissioned somewhere in the late 2010s, leading to most cable and satellite providers to look for other solutions (mostly the DASDEC and EASyCAP). That said, American Broadband in Nebraska and a few rural Mediacom cable systems in Illinois and Iowa seem to still use it.
By default, the text is displayed as white on a black background, however could be changed to have a gray background either with white or black text. Additionally, elements of the screen would be altered depending on the alert being issued. There are options on the EASy for an "EAN Test Message". The EASyCAST firmware and the EASyCAST firmware only has an option to scroll the text specified in the EAS Operating handbook for an emergency action notification.
The ticker on DIRECTV's Emergency Alert System slides were generated by the EASyPLUS, later replaced with the EASyCAP in mid-2015.
Dish Network Required Monthly Test Screen (Early 2010s-2019)
Instead of using an EAS screen with its logo on it, an older Dish Network EAS screen opted to use the EASYPlus system. It refers to the EAS as the National EAS System. This is its layout:
Test of National EAS
has initiated a monthly
Test of the National
Emergency Alert System.
Main article: AT&T U-verse
A very minimal notice that pops up on the bottom of the screen containing active alert details accompanied by the alert audio. These are assumed to be generated and broadcast through the Mediaroom platform, used by AT&T U-verse and Frontier Communications' IPTV service in particular.
Digital Alert Systems DASDEC/DASDEC-II (2007-present)
Main article: Digital Alert Systems DASDEC/DASDEC-II Screen
The most common screen available on most cable providers, typically featuring alert details on a dark-blue/violet background with a red outline in a serif font.
Aspects of the video output could be changed through its web interface by the provider:
- The background by default is dark blue/violet with a red outline, however can also be changed to red, dark red, orange, blue, dark blue, and black.
- The default font is Luxi Mono Bold, however can be changed to Luxi Sans-Serif, Arial, and Decker.
- A custom message can be input at the top of the screen, typically displayed as 'Emergency Alert Details'.
Xfinity X1 (2015-present)
Used on most Xfinity X1 and some Cox systems from 2015 to 2018, though it still gets occasional use today. Features the text "EMERGENCY ALERT" on a black background alongside a red ticker with a translation of the headers.
'Time Warner Cable/Spectrum' Roku App (2016-present)
This screen is used on the Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum) app for Roku set-top boxes. On the top right reads "Emergency Alert Broadcast" with the time right next to it. The alert and details are positioned underneath and centered, all of which are white on a black background.
Trilithic EASyCAP Screen (2016-Present)
Main article: Trilithic EASyCAP Screen
Used by several cable companies including Comcast/Xfinity (usually in Illinois and Michigan), Altice/Optimum, Suddenlink, Mediacom, Verizon/Frontier FiOS, Grande Communications, and Cincinnati Bell (est. 2016). It has EAS text, warning type, and alert script with a page counter (if more than one page) on a blue background, similar to the DASDEC. Background is customizable with different color or even images. The font can also be changed to various other fonts.
On some providers, the header displays a message and abbreviations for state and region of the headend (sometimes just "ALL") when there are no active alerts, commonly for use with details channels. For example, Altice/Optimum features "'Altice Information Channel' LI AII" in their Long Island, NY areas. In other cases, the cable provider or TV station names are displayed instead.
A ticker could also be generated and displayed on cable and TV stations.
ATSC 3.0 concept (April 9, 2018)
ATSC 3.0 OTA TVs have a pop-up message akin to the U-Verse screen. The only known trace of this screen is on a first look video presenting the demo version of the alert. No real example of this screen in its final product has appeared on the internet yet.
From the video provided, the message would pop up on the top half of the screen in green, yellow, or red. The top right reads "ATSC3 USB Tuner & Support By" with the LowaSIS logo on a white button underneath. Opposite of that has "Presented by" on the right corner of the screen next to the Sony logo on a black box. Center of it all has yellow text telling users how many alerts they have, alongside control information to instruct how to access and exit out of these alerts. Underneath this bar has the event types issued, with the number keys on the left side and a yellow warning sign next to it for warnings.
With these alerts, users may tap on the assigned number keys to not only read the full details, but also access it in multiple media including alert audio, alert content, and an alert video. This could also be issued in different languages including Spanish and Korean.
- This is the second smart EAS screen by far, after the Mediaroom/U-Verse screen.