At least two dozen Cox Communications cable subscribers in Virginia who tuned into watch the Super Bowl on Sunday were forced to listen to the game in Spanish.
McLean resident Peter Maucher said the commericials were broadcast in English, the on-field interviews were broadcast in English, but the play-by-play commentary was in Spanish only.
Centreville resident Bryan Scrafford said his non-HD channel broadcast the game in English, but the HD version was Spanish only, too. He had the same problem when the NFL Pro Bowl aired last month.
Mike Leone, director of public affairs for Cox in Northern Virginia, said no more than two dozen subscribers in Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads area complained about a similar issue.
The problem, he said, was that the customers' televisions were programmed for the "Second Audio Program" or SAP. The networks send out two audio feeds — a traditional English feed and the SAP feed, which offers a Spanish language track.
Most television programming doesn't have a second track of audio, he explained, so if a customer's SAP channel is activated, it will usually default to the English track.
But the Super Bowl did offer viewers a Spanish audio version, Leone said, so Cox customers who had inadvertently activated their SAP heard the game in Spanish. Cox representatives were able to help them reset their sets to hear the English feed, Leone said.
But Scrafford said his SAP was not activated and that programming both before and after the Super Bowl was broadcast in English.
When Maucher called Cox the following morning to report the problem, a customer service representative conceded it had been a company error and other subscribers had called to complain, too.
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