What Is on-Screen Caller ID?

Mary McMahon

On-screen caller identification (ID) displays information about a caller on a television or computer screen. Such systems integrate phone and Internet or cable services. They may be included in part of a package for telecommunications services, or could be an add-on feature that subscribers may need to pay extra to use. The technology allows them to determine who is calling without having to check a caller ID unit at the phone.

A portable phone with on-screen caller ID.
A portable phone with on-screen caller ID.

Enabling on-screen caller identification allows users to select when and where the caller information will be displayed. They can also pick the format, which may include a phone number and the caller’s name. Stored information like notes about the caller, the specific location such as home or work, or a graphic image called an avatar of the caller can also be displayed, depending on the system. It may also be possible to answer the call remotely, if the user has tools like voice controlled telecommunications software.

Other caller identification systems require people to check a base unit by the phone jack, or a display screen on a portable phone. This may not always be convenient if they are far from a phone. On-screen caller ID provides information to help people decide whether to answer the call, and how to answer it. Someone with multiple lines for a home and business, for example, might decide to let business-related calls go to an answering machine after hours.

The settings for on-screen caller ID service may be highly adjustable. Changes to font, color, and size of the display may be possible. On-screen caller ID can also pop up for varying lengths of time on screen, and may animate if users enable that setting. Computer programs may network to allow users to control their call settings through the computer; they could, for example, push a call through to voicemail, or mute the phone.

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If on-screen caller ID is available through a telecommunications provider, it may be listed in the company’s services and features. Customers can also ask for specific details if they are interested in a particular service. They may want to talk to a representative about the available on-screen caller ID settings so they can determine if the service will meet their needs. It may be possible to use a third party computer program to manage phone calls and provide the necessary functions, which is something to consider if the phone company doesn’t offer the service or it is not sufficient for the customer’s needs.

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