Closed captioning may be defined as transcribed text that runs simultaneously with video. Those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speak a foreign language can benefit from the use of a captioning service. The first use of closed captioning occurred in 1976, on Julia Child’s PBS show The French Chef. PBS sought approval to use closed captioning on their programming to ensure that their deaf andhard-of-hearing audiences weren’t excluded from viewing. Over the years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has updated rules and regulations regarding closed captioning services. With the arrival of online video services and streaming video, the need for more extensive closed captioning service is great. In 2014, the FCC updated their rules to require that all digital services must provide closed captioning.
How Closed Captions Work
There are two types or formats used for closed captioning. One type involves creating a separate, distinct file that is played in conjunction with a video. The second method consists of embedding closed captioning into the video itself. When closed captioning is created in a separate file, different methods are used. These include binary, text, and XML. Closed captioning and subtitles are similar but different. While subtitles are used to translate a film into another language, they are not geared toward the hearing impaired. Closed captioning includes information beyond the dialogue of a film, like music credits, transcribed sound effects, lyrics to songs, and sometimes the name of the person speaking in a film.
- How Does Closed Captioning Work?
- The Caption Production Process
- Closed Captioning
- Why Captions Look the Way They Do
- Closed Captioning Guide
Benefits of Closed Captioning
There are many benefits to closed captioning that are advantageous for the hearing-impaired community. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing would not have access to breaking news reports, entertainment shows, or educational content without closed captioning. The ability to turn closed captioning on and off ensures that everyone can control the service to their liking. This is beneficial for those who share a household with a hearing-impaired person. And closed captioning enables those who have trouble with literacy to improve reading and comprehension skills.
- The Benefits of Closed Captioning for Elderly Hearing Aid Users
- What is the Difference between Open and Closed Captioning?
- The Benefits of Closed Captioning
- Benefits of Captions
- What Are the Benefits of Captioning?
FCC Regulatory Background on Closed Captioning
The FCC first issued regulations regarding closed captioning on programs in 1993. The regulations involved analog television sets that featured screens larger than 13 inches. As digital television became standard, the FCC updated regulations to include digital displays as well. Currently, the FCC has extended the regulations to include online media streaming networks such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix.
- Federal Laws and Accessible Media
- Closed Captioning of Video Programming: Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Petition for Rulemaking
- Closed Captioning: The Law
- FCC Issues Final Ruling on Closed Captioning
- The FCC’s Rules for Closed Captioning and Video Description
Under current federal regulations, there are two instances in which broadcasters may be exempted from closed captioning requirements. The first is self-implementing exemptions, and the FCC provides a list of all qualifying criteria. The second form of exemption is a result of economic burden to the broadcaster. Broadcast media that is subtitled may also be exempt from closed captioning requirements.
- Request for Exemption from FCC’s Closed Captioning Rules
- Exemptions from the Closed Captioning Rule
- Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Regulations
- Closed Captioning Requirements and Exemptions
- Closed Captioning of Video Programming Delivered Using Internet Protocol
More About Hearing Assistance Technology
- FCC Implements New Internet Closed-Captioning Rules: Take a quick look at how closed captioning rules have changed since Julia Child first introduced captioned programming to television audiences.
- Catching Their Every Word The New York Times looks at the job of a captioner.
- The Sorry State of Closed Captioning; The Atlantic examines the difficulties with closed captioning for streaming, online content and the new changes approved by the FCC.
- Closed Captioning Finally Enters the Digital Age: Academy Award-winning actress and hearing-impaired activist Marlee Matlin discusses recent changes to closed captioning.
- How the FCC is Implementing the CVAA: The Hearing Loss Association of America discusses technological advances in closed captioning and how those have changed due to the Internet.
- FCC’s New Closed Captioning Rules had Long Journey: The L.A. Times examines the history of closed captioning and how the advent of digital media prompted changes.
- More Closed Captioning Required: The South Bend Tribune looks at new rules coming for closed captioning in 2014.
- Glasses Show Captions for Deaf, Hard of Hearing: The Washington Times takes a close look at Sony’s Entertainment Access Glasses, designed for moviegoers who are hard of hearing or deaf.
- Closed Captioning for the Hearing Impaired: How it Originated: NIST looks at the history of closed captioning in this timeline.
- Hearing Assistive Technology: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association explores technologies that can help hearing-impaired people.