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Secondary Audio Program (SAP)

Most modern stereo television sets have a feature in their audio equipment that allows the reception of sound other than the main audio for the program. This feature is called Multi-channel Television Sound (MTS). A TV set with MTS can receive mono sound, stereo sound, or Secondary Audio Programs (SAP).

The SAP feature allows a TV station to broadcast other information to the viewer through the audio receive system. That other information could be the same program audio in another language, or something completely different, such as weather information or Descriptive Video Services (DVS) for the visually impaired.

As an example, ABC regularly provides Spanish audio commentary during "Lost", "Desperate Housewives" and "Dancing with the Stars" as well as other selected sporting events and specials. They do this using the Secondary Audio Program (SAP). Viewers who had the SAP feature turned on could hear the programming in Spanish.

Activating or deactivating the SAP is done on most television sets through a menu using the remote control. Every TV set is different, so the best way to do that is to follow the instructions in your owner's manual. But if you don't have the owner's manual that came with your TV anymore, you can still change the settings for the SAP if you have your remote control. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The SAP feature is only on television sets that are stereo. Even if you have a newer model TV, SAP will not be available if your set has mono sound.
  • Before trying to change the SAP, be sure you're controlling your TV set with the television remote and not your cable or satellite remote. If you have VCR hooked up, you should follow these instructions for your VCR as well.
  • Some remote controllers have a button on them labeled "MTS", "SAP", or "Audio Select". Try pressing this button in succession to cycle through the various audio modes.
  • If there is no button on the remote control, press the "MENU" button to bring up your television's on-screen menu and look for options like "Setup", "Audio Setup", or "Audio" to find the selections available for MTS, or SAP.

If you don't have your remote control or your owner's manual, contact the store where you purchased your television. Many times they can help with obtaining another operation manual or finding a universal remote control that will work with your television.

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