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Over 50 Million People
Benefit From Closed Captioning
- Closed Captioning is an essential service for the over 31 million individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Captioning gives them access to the audio portion of video programming.
- Closed Captioning and subtitling benefits the 40 million people who belong to gyms and health spas. Captions allow members to understand programming while using noisy exercise equipment.
- Closed Captioning and subtitling can grant access to television audio in other noisy environments, such as restaurants or sports bars. Closed Captioning and subtitling can also grant access to television or Internet videos in quiet environments, such as offices or libraries.
- Closed Captioning is a tool that improves reading and listening skills for 8.3 million children between the ages of 3 and 7. Captions help children with word identification, meaning, acquisition and retention.
- Closed Captioning and subtitling benefits 10 million people over the age of 17 for whom English is not their first language. Captioning can transform television into a powerful and effective literacy and language learning tool.
- Closed Captioning is a way to strengthen language and comprehension skills for those learning English as a second language, marrying the spoken word with the written word, as well as reinforcing grammar and sentence structure.
- Closed Captioning benefits 6.2 Americans over the age of 62 suffering from hearing loss that use no amplification device.
- Closed Captioning and subtitling benefits the one-third of all veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer substantial hearing loss. Hearing damage is the number one disability among the 1.3 million troops who have served in two war zones.
- Closed Captioning is free to viewers of television and the Internet.
- Closed Captioning is accessible to individuals living in nearly every household in the United States.
- Closed Captioning and subtitles are a great way to engage and exercise the mind by challenging the viewer to focus on reading, listening and comprehending in real time.
- Captions have been linked to higher comprehension skills when compared to viewers watching the same media without captions.
- Captions improve reading and listening skills in children and adults by visually tying words with sound.
- Closed Captioning is able to enhance family time by not only allowing all members of the household to enjoy programming at lower volume levels but also the knowledge of the added benefits captions are bringing to everyone - regardless of age.
- Closed Captioning is professionally produced in the United States by highly skilled stenographers and offline captioners, not computers / machines. Stenographers transcribe the audio portion of a live program as it is being aired and send the captions across the country in seconds. Offline captioners provide 100% accurate transcription for prerecorded programming before it airs.
Where can a viewer see captions or subtitles?
On TV: The FCC requires that television networks caption all programming between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., with some exceptions. Should you have a problem with any video provider, contact your cable or satellite operator at the number and email address on your monthly bill. You may also contact the FCC
It is unfortunately getting harder to turn captions ON your TV set. Many HD set-top boxes have complicated menu systems requiring the user to not only use the box to turn on captions, but turn the box off before accessing the caption menu. Please contact your video program provider if you are not seeing captions on your set.
On DVDs: Many DVDs are captioned and/or subtitled. The "SDH" label on DVDs refers to "Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." These subtitles include speaker identification, sound effects and music lyrics. The less common "ESL" stands for English as a Second Language subtitles. These subtitles do not include placement, speaker identification or sound description. Many DVDs will subtitle or caption the feature presentation only. Bonus materials may not have subtitling. The DVD distributor/manufacturer will make this clear on the DVD case. Subtitling is not required on DVDs. Be sure to check and see where they are.
Another technology note - Blu-Ray DVD players do not have the ability to decode captions. This means that if you put an old captioned DVD in your Blu Ray player, you will not be able to play it and turn captions on with your TV remote. It is important to ensure that videos you mean to play in your Blu-Ray player are subtitled, preferably as SDH subtitles.
On the Internet: Captioning and Subtitling is unfortunately hard to find on the Internet, but all signs point to improvement in the future. All of the major networks caption at least some of their online video. Hulu can be searched for shows that have closed captioning and subtitling. YouTube's captioning and subtitling solutions include a not-very-accurate automatic solution, and also the ability to accept caption files from YouTube Ready vendors (including VITAC). YouTube captions (or subtitles) can be added in multiple languages, improving the reach of a video producers audience. Even better, one can search for a video by searching the captions.
On Small video players: Captions on your phone? On an iPOD? Yes, it's possible and it's being done. Contact us to discuss these possibilities.
Streaming and Broadband Video: Some Video On Demand is captioned, some is not. Netflix streaming solution does not yet include closed captions. While progress is being made, it is up to the consumer and advocacy groups to stress the importance of captioning and subtitling on ALL video, so that viewers who rely on captioning are no left behind as technology improves.
To read more about the advancement of captioning for new media, please see COAT's website. The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Media is working to pass HR3101, the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. VITAC supports COAT and all companies who strive to improve access via captioning, subtitling and audio description.