The Emergency Alert System was established decades ago by the federal government as a way to get emergency messages to people in the United States using radio and TV broadcast signals. CTA-814-C describes how consumer-owned devices should respond to emergency alerts over cable TV systems. It applies to consumer-owned devices that directly receive cable TV signals without a cable company-provided set-top box. A cable company is unlikely to insert an alert message into each of its many programs. Instead, if an alert is important enough, the cable company might send audio or video information about the alert over a single, dedicated channel. It would also send codes to consumer devices instructing them to automatically change channels to the dedicated channel with the alert, and instructing them on how long to remain on the emergency channel until returning to the channel the viewer had been watching. CTA-814-C explains how this is done. This standard is also known as ANSI-J-STD-42-C because it was jointly adopted by CTA and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers.
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