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The screen is a crucial part of the Emergency Alert System. There have been many screens that the EAS used ever since its debut in 1997. These screens are shown on television by specifically produced EAS encoders, or compatible character generators. This article shows most of the screens used by the EAS.

Screens Generated by TV Stations[]

See also: Scrolling Bar

On most television stations, a slide typically accompanied by the station's logo, call sign, and a ticker/scrolling bar will interrupt regular programming or commercial break. These are sometimes introduced or concluded with a voice-over announcing the message. These slides have largely existed since the beginning of the EAS, with some from around the beginning still being used in some stations to this day. Station slides have become more and more rare due to tests and activations nowadays usually tuning cable viewers directly to the EAS Details Channel automatically. Some screens may display some text before the actual EAS screen, such as "Community Announcement" or "Emergency Alert System". These slides are normally for test messages only as a courtesy to the public, as in an actual emergency, the ticker is shown directly over the program or commercial break with the audio interrupted. Some TV stations may also show detailed weather warning information (if applicable) on the bottom of the screen outside of an EAS transmission, which overlays regular programming.

National Periodic Test screens (Nov 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 (Nov 9, 2011-Aug 7, 2019)[]

EAS_National_Test_on_WNEP

EAS National Test on WNEP

A WNEP screen during the 2011 Nationwide test.

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.

National_EAN_Test,_2011-11-09,_WBRE_via_Dish_Network

National EAN Test, 2011-11-09, WBRE via Dish Network

The "This is only a test" screen.

WBRE-TV "This is only a test" Screen (Nov 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 A” in one column in a lighter font and "TEST" in another column in a big bold font.

FEMA National Periodic Test Screen (Nov 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 (Nov 9, 2011-Aug 7, 2019)[]

NATIONWIDE_EAS_TEST!_-_2018_National_EAS_Test_WMUR-TV

NATIONWIDE EAS TEST! - 2018 National EAS Test WMUR-TV

This screen obscured programming. It has the EAS text and FEMA logo on the left and the "This is only a Test" text on the right, and a red banner with alert details on the top.

HEARST Television "FEMA" Variants (Aug 11, 2021 - Present)[]

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.

KeyWest Technology / Video Data Systems /MHz Sub-Alert - 800 series (1997-present)[]

Main article: Video Data Systems/MHz Sub-Alert Screen

These are typically seen as full screen 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 crawl on the bottom (though exempt from RWTs). Optionally, these could be paired with a Tune to Channel 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.

Idea/Onics CG-1000 (1999?-2011?)[]

This screen 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.

Character Generator Issues[]

A plain gray version of the screen exists where the screen is gray and there is no text. This is due to an improperly configured character generator. It is also reported that other character generator issues include a plain red screen with no text, red screen and white text but without audio, red or grey screen with text but with very loud or distorted audio, or red screen with garbled white text and very loud audio, but no actual footage of these screens are found yet.

Texscan-MSI (1999-2013?)[]

A full screen message similar to the MHz Sub-Alert, but with a fixed blue background and ticker with multiple colors depending on the alert type. It can be hooked up to either a legacy EASy unit or Trilithic/GR EAS-1. According to Texscan's website, it can also be hooked up to a TFT 911, but no known footage of that exists. It is rumored that Comcast in St. Clairsville, Ohio used this screen until 2013. However, it cannot be confirmed at this time.

Versions[]

  • One version has the alert with the originator on top and no banner (Only known to be used on Required Weekly Tests and Tune to Channel screens).
  • Another version uses the EAS text on top of the alert and the banner on the bottom. This version is the most common one.
    • A variant where the banner is on top of the EAS text also exists.
  • A rare version uses a black screen with small text and scrolling text on top. This is generated by the SpectraGen 3-RM, unlike the other versions, which are generated by the SpectraGen Z-4000.

Click here for an extended gallery.

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. Although cable companies got rid of their CGs by late 2011/early 2012, you can still get them online on websites such as eBay.

CEMS-0500[]

Features 'EAS Alert Transmission' on the top and details underneath on a blue, magenta, black, or gray background.


CEMS-1000(1997?-2011)[]

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. It can even be used as a scroll for EAS alerts or other purposes (So far, only Cox Communications has used it).

Gorman-Redlich Ext Character Generator (1999-2018?)[]

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 ticker version also exists with a large gray bar at the top of the screen on some cable systems, and a tune to channel screen also exists featuring 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 common types of EAS bulletins, being used throughout the early 2000s into the late 2010s. The legacy EASy series was decommissioned 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 only has an option to scroll the text specified in the EAS Operating handbook for a National Emergency Message. The typeface of the text here utilizes the STV5730A chip.

AT&T DIRECTV (2007?-Present)[]

DirecTV used their own EAS screen for alerts with a EASyPLUS ticker at the top. Recordings under this text are from prior to 2015, when they had stopped using the traditional EASyPLUS ticker. Until the late 2010s, DIRECTV had still been using an EASyPLUS endec for the text generator of the blue ticker at the bottom, before switching to the EASyCAP text generator.

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
(scrolling bar)
Dish Network
has initiated a monthly
Test of the National
Emergency Alert System.

Mediaroom (2006-present)[]

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 (2004-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. A voiceover before the alert begins is also used by some providers; usually used on Required Weekly Tests. 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'.

Rovi TV Passport Scroll (2006?-2011?)[]

This scroll was used by Cox Communications and Cablevision (now Optimum) until somewhere in the mid-2010's.

Xfinity X1 (2015-present)[]

Used on most Xfinity X1 and some Cox systems from 2015 to 2018, though it still gets occasional use today. It features a black screen with the phrase "EMERGENCY ALERT." Below it is a red ticker with white scrolling text.

'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.

Gallery[]

A ticker could also be generated and displayed on cable and TV stations. DIRECTV, Wave Broadband, and Dish cable systems use this screen.

Variants:[]

The EASyCAP has many features when it comes to CGEN customization. Options include font changes, Different Background Colors including black, and even IMAGES to be used as the background.

ATSC 3.0 concept (Apr 9, 2018)[]

First_Look-_ATSC_3.0_OTA_TV_Emergency_Alert_System

First Look- ATSC 3.0 OTA TV Emergency Alert System

A demo of the concept.

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.

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