Digital Revolution Excludes Closed Captioning

Jun 17, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Colleen Farrell is a 21-year-old college senior who’s been shut out of television’s digital revolution. She wants to watch her favorite shows online. She’s up for downloading programs to her iPod. She would like to watch shows on her brother’s high-definition set.
There’s just one problem: Ms. Farrell is one of 23 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing and must rely on closed captioning.
In the rush to create new products and make television programming available anytime, anywhere, the need for closed captioning is being overlooked.
The major broadcast networks have launched state-of-the-art online video players — that do not include captions.
Apple has revolutionized TV viewing by making shows available for download on iTunes — without captions.
The television industry is spending billions to deliver spectacular high-definition signals — but viewing captions on HD programming is a Byzantine process that has frustrated many viewers.
“With the move toward hi-def, and the explosive growth in video on the Internet, it’s like we’re starting all over again,” said Mike Kaplan, who serves on the steering committee of the Hearing Loss Association of Los Angeles. “Since 1993, closed captions have been built into every TV set larger than 13 inches. So why in 2007, with the latest and greatest technology at our fingers, is it getting harder and harder to view captions?”
The lack of closed captioning on new media doesn’t only close out deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. According to a BBC study, 80 percent of households that use captions are watching the subtitles to learn the language or to follow a program in a noisy place.
With network ratings hitting record lows, the failure to extend closed captioning to the digital world ironically makes TV shows less accessible for some at a time when programming is more widely available than ever.
Although the Federal Communications Commission requires captions for broadcast and cable content, the rules do not cover Internet streaming or digital downloads. That makes extending closed captioning to those media more a matter of corporate responsibility than regulation.
The FCC rules do cover high-definition and video-on-demand delivery, but experts complain that, between companies not complying with regulations and a lack of consumer awareness, many viewers still feel chained to their traditional analog sets.
“The complexity of digital transitioning has made closed captions a low priority,” said Larry Goldberg, director of the Media Access Group at the Boston-based public broadcast station WGBH.
Mr. Goldberg should know. He wrote an update to the Federal Communications Commission guidelines in 2000 that expanded closed-captioning rules to include HD broadcasts.
An iTunes spokesman said the service’s video offerings don’t include closed captioning and refused to comment about “future products or announcements.”
Most networks refused to comment about their lack of online captioning beyond brief statements.
Fox said they are “actively engaged in exploring ways to leverage the closed-caption data to improve the user experience.”
The CW said, “We are not doing closed captioning on our streaming and have no plans to do so at this time.”
ABC, whose award-winning online player is the most-visited among the network Web sites, said captions are not currently available; the network’s spokesperson was “not sure of any future plans.”
CBS declined to comment.
Not a Cost Issue
The sluggish network response might suggest adding captions is technologically difficult or expensive. But experts on both sides of the issue agree that’s not the case.
Broadcasters have spent millions developing elaborate online games and interactive elements to engage fans, while the price of converting televised caption text for the Web is only about $200 per episode. Once a software system is in place, that cost tends to decrease further.
Perpetually cash-strapped PBS has managed to add captions to many of its shows online.
“All the tools exist to do it. It’s just a matter of time and money to make it happen,” said Tom Apone, who works with Mr. Goldberg at the Media Access Group and helped develop caption software for PBS. “It’s pretty straightforward and not terribly expensive.”
Cable network sites, including news networks, are also behind the captioning curve. As part of a class project at Gallaudet University, Ms. Farrell surveyed news sites and found that very few provided captions on their stories (CNN.com was an occasional exception).
Among the major broadcasters, only NBC has made a public commitment to add captions. Every episode of every show will be caption-ready when the network’s new Web player launches this fall, said Vivi Zigler, executive VP of digital entertainment and new media at the network.
Ms. Zigler was the only network executive contacted by TelevisionWeek who was willing to talk about closed captioning. She said there have been technological hurdles, but agreed the issue has been overlooked.
“If we were face-to-face, you’d see me nodding sadly — it’s 100 percent true [a lack of awareness is to blame], but it’s not a good excuse,” she said. “From a business management standpoint, we crawl, then walk, then run.”
For high-definition broadcasts, closed captioning raises tricky technological problems.
Traditional analog broadcasts have captions embedded in the signal that are decoded by the TV set. But HD captions are part of a separate data stream decoded by a set-top box (unless they are viewed with an over-the-air antenna). To view the captions, every piece of hardware and every relay service must be compatible and in sync.
“From a deaf and hard-of-hearing consumer’s point of view, this is a big problem,” said Sheila Conlon-Mentkowski, a representative for the National Association of the Deaf.
Online message boards devoted to the topic are flooded by a variety of complaints — from a cable company not properly sending a signal, to a set-top box that buries its captioning switch in service menus invisible to consumers, to captions that bleed off the sides of the screen.
Calling content operators, stations or device manufacturers tends to lead the viewer into a maze of support personnel unfamiliar with captioning issues.
“People getting HD service are running into endless cycles of finger-pointing between set manufacturers, cable and satellite companies, and individual channels,” Mr. Kaplan said.
The FCC requires local broadcasters and cable and satellite operators to make captions available on HD broadcasts. New networks have a four-year window to comply, so some smaller HD channels such as Universal HD have limited captioning, even though their content is largely repurposed from traditional networks.
Shortly after TelevisionWeek asked the FCC about the issue, the commission issued a formal advisory alerting viewers that they may experience problems receiving captions for HD broadcasts. The advisory said to contact the FCC to report companies that violate captioning rules.
“Consumers may file complaints and the commission may take enforcement action where the rules are violated,” said Cathy Seidel, chief of the FCC consumer and governmental affairs bureau.
Cable video-on-demand services are considered channels by the FCC, yet they have a spotty track record on captioning. A Comcast representative said its VOD offerings are exempt from FCC requirements, citing the four-year exemption for new channels.
That raised an issue: In the digital age, what is a channel? VOD is almost entirely repurposed content that has been on the air for years.
Comcast said each VOD brand added — such as HBO and Discovery — should be counted as a new channel with four years to comply.
“The captioning capability is in place and we’re providing that in accordance with the regulations,” said Comcast spokesman Chris Ellis. “The amount of captioned content continues to increase.”
Mr. Goldberg of Media Access Group countered that the four-year exemption was never intended to give cable operators a reason to not include captions on VOD.
“This rule was intended for things like a new cable channel, like Spike TV or the Golf Channel, to give them time to get up to speed and earn some revenue,” he said.
According to viewers, pockets of non-captioned content are very common on new digital services.
Rather than wait for the FCC to update its regulations yet again, Mr. Goldberg and others urged companies to take it upon themselves to make captioning a higher priority.
“The closest we get to knowing what’s covered is common sense,” Mr. Goldberg said. “If it smells like TV and looks like TV…”
Captioning New TV
Online video: Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and The CW do not offer captions for their video players, though NBC plans to launch a player that supports captions in the fall. PBS has captions for some online shows. CNN has captions for some news clips on its Web site.
Downloads: iTunes does not support captions.
Video-on-demand: Some VOD offerings are captioned.
High-definition: HD broadcasts are required to include captions, but viewers often find them difficult to access. The FCC has issued a formal advisory about the problem.
New channels: Some newer channels do not provide captioning, as cable networks have a four-year window to add the service.


  1. As a result of people with wheelchairs being jailed for requesting curb cuts about 20 years ago, able bodied parents pushing baby carriages/strollers and able bodied people pushing or pulling carts and luggages with wheels are taking advantage of these curb cuts.
    Not only people with hearing disabilities but hearing people such as immigrants. illiterates and children, to name a few, would be able to improve literacy by taking advantage of closed captioning.

  2. I have voted in every National, State, and local election for over 50 years. I’ve decided this year that any candidate that does not have closed captioning on his/her campaign TV ads will not get my vote. If only one candidate arranges for closed captioning, that candidate will get my vote irregardless of party membership and other issues. If no candidate arranges for closed captioning, I will consider that candidate as not interested in working with people with disabilities and not vote at all. In any case, as a deaf person, how can I make an informed decision if the TV campaign ads do not have closed captioning? I suggest that all people with disabilities, family members, and friends of this group of people with disabilities consider similar action. Yes, closed captioning is so important in my life that I will be a one issue voter in all future elections.

  3. I am a co-founder of Project readOn which specializes in providing closed captioning for any online video with a direct link. We currently provide captioning for Barack Obama on his site at http://www.barackobama.com and are in discussions with several other candidates to offer the same. All of our captions are user requested which means that as a member of our site you can submit a link to an online video for captioning. Once it has been completed you will be notified via email and the thumbnail posted on our site.
    Please check out our site at http://www.projectreadon.com for more information.
    Jack Wood

  4. It seems to me that people will have to start filing hefty lawsuits to finally make the companies do the right thing. After all, only money speaks to those people, not morals or ethics.
    A disgusted deaf consumer

  5. I Am Not Hard of Hearing or Deaf, but I Do Use Closed Captions. I think that Every Network, Every Media Outlet Whether it be TV, Online, or Mobile TV It Should Be Required to Have this Service.

  6. Jmes Hibberd should be commended for his excellent article re concerns that newest digital TV excludes those of us who are hard of hearing. It also excludes people for whom English is a second language. We all depend on closed captioning.
    I am about to purchase a new TV and his article could not have been timelier.
    M. Dugan

  7. I work at Discovery Communications and wanted to let readers know that Discovery HD Theater, the standalone high-definition network from the makers of Discovery Channel, offers 24/7 closed captioning.

  8. We went from cable to the DishNetwork nd that CC does NOT work half the time. They have the worst service available

  9. Guys,
    Glad you bring it up — the more we put pressure broadcast companies, the better chance they will offers in near future.
    Discovery HD channel is my favorite and I always watch it almost regularly. 90% of the time, all tv shows captioned.
    Also, I’ve listed more services such as Netflix and others that did not mention on your website.
    See my blog that I discussed last January 2006.

  10. Cost estimates of a few hundred dollars per episode actually seem quite affordable, and for a nationally televised program this is a minor expense, but we have talked to several ‘local’ programs running on ‘local’ stations, and this cost is actually 50% of what they would get from advertising, so their always in the red. We’d love to see some way for this to work for everyone. Maybe Apple’s quicktime update 7.1.6 has the answer.

  11. Comcast doesn’t even caption their own ads, nor do they provide correct info concerning captions to their customers. The Beaverton Oregon office doesn’t even train the customer service reps to show people how to enable captions in the HD boxes. Comcast also refuses to caption the video on demand programs, even if the same show was captioned earlier the same day.
    OTA isn’t much better in Oregon. The ABC affliate -KATU- has not provided correct HD 708 captions for over 6 months. I’m sure that a similar sound issue would be corrected in minutes!

  12. I am appalled at the reduced availability of closed captioning programming. I am even more appalled at the quality of captioning provided by programs that do support it. There seems to be a disregard for this very much needed service. I would have expected the development and enhancement without Government Regulation but apparently this is not happening. We can only call for stronger Government language to require just and equitable development of captioning capabilities keeping pace with communication advancements. There is no longer a need for a 4 year window, enhanced technology and lowere expenses have pretty much removed that requirement. I would like to see 100% capability and availability by 2010. Write your congressman! This will require action and unity now.

  13. The situation described in the above article has indeed become dire for the millions of Americans who rely on captions to view video programming. To rectify this, a new coalition of disability organizations was launched this past spring to advocate for legislative and regulatory changes that will ensure full access by people with disabilities to evolving Internet protocol (IP) technologies. The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology, or “COAT,” is already over 65 organizations strong, and states as its purpose ensuring that people with disabilities will not be left behind as our nation migrates from legacy analog technologies to more versatile and innovative IP-based technologies. Included within COAT’s agenda are legislative changes that will (1) apply existing captioning obligations under Section 713 of the Communications Act to IPTV and other types of multi-channel and Web-based video programming services that are distributed over the Internet and (2) expanding the scope of devices that must transmit and display closed captions under the Television Decoder Circuitry Act from the present requirement of television sets with screens that are 13 inches or larger to video devices of all sizes, including recording and playback devices, that are designed to receive or display digital and Internet programming. COAT applauds NBC’s efforts to bring the benefits of closed captioning into the Internet age and hopes that other broadcasters and cable network sites will follow its example.
    Karen Peltz Strauss
    Co-founder, COAT
    http://www.coataccess.org (log on to find out more or to become an affiliate of COAT)

  14. Likewise, the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) wants to see video description for persons with vision disabilities. Video description, sometimes also referred to as audio description, is the narration is the non-speech “spaces” of the audio track that describes what the action is for a person who cannot see the action and other details a person who is sighted may see. COAT would like an expanded reinstatement of the FCC’s regulations for video description in TV programming, especially as more and more TV migrates to using new technologies.
    As America ages, it makes more and more sense to build in vision and hearing disability access modalities in all forms of video, especially if you want the largest number of people to get the content.

  15. Wht do you use do many initials? What are HTML tags? What is URL? anyone new to your sites is lost. Not evetone is computer savy.

  16. Remind all the manufacturers that closed captioning is wonderful in many noisy general public areas — like sports bars! Often restaurants and bars even get multiple stations on different TVs, whose audio broadcasts conflict with each other, much less must be heard over the “roar of the crowd” in the room. Closed captioning allows EVERYBODY in the room to watch the game, or the news, or the stock market ticker, etc., while eating and drinking — that’s an advantage to the restaurant!
    — Ron Keeney, Keeney & Co., Architects
    Charlottesville, VA

  17. I thought this was a very interesting article, especially the fact that it’s taken so long for the major media companies to integrate subtitles into their web-channels. As a independent producer, I launched my own web-tv channel “Symbols of Success” in Nov 06.
    Since then, we thought of not only the hearing impared, but also the latin speaking communities, which led us to create real-time Closed Captions in both English & Spanish, for nearly all of the 4 hours of original programming online.
    Please take a look for yourself & see our broadband video platform (beeVP) in action, and help spread the word that we are the pioneers in this New Media industry.
    -Bernard Dino Bonomo
    CEO. BeanoVision Productions

  18. I had Wide Open West cable service and their HD boxes allowed real good closed captioning. I recently switched to Comcast for their higher internet speeds and found that their boxes do not allow some captions to remain on the screen long enough to read them. And I’m a speed reader! New boxes are available July 1st I was told. I will be picking one up in the next day or so to see if it fixes the caption problem. If not, Im cancelling Comcast. Anyone else with the problem?

  19. No closed captioned appeared at this hour, therefore, the audio must be the same, too.

  20. Hi! What is hat?!

  21. For what it’s worth I’ve done my best to help remedy this problem. I have a project called video.Maru, at polygeek.com, that helps designers who have little or no development experience to create video interfaces that display closed captions.
    So now the small and one person design shops can easily deliver something that the big online video players don’t.

  22. Todd Steinberg: I had Wide Open West cable service and their HD boxes allowed real good closed captioning. I recently switched to Comcast for their higher internet speeds and found that their boxes do not allow some captions to remain on the screen long enough to read them. And I’m a speed reader! New boxes are available July 1st I was told. I will be picking one up in the next day or so to see if it fixes the caption problem. If not, Im cancelling Comcast. Anyone else with the problem?
    Let me know if better cable is best than Comcast, but the businesses are busniess are looking for a big profit. We do must not let them take our favorite CC.

  23. I have Dish Network and HD TV. I rely on CC and find it quite frustrating to say the least. I have been through 3 boxes and I have had countless calls to Dish. I was told by one engineer that it is my tv, another just dismissed it and ordered a new box. I was adamant that it is not the box but the technicians working on them. I was told that new upgrades were in the process. As of yet, I have not seen any improvements.
    I have to hard boot the box every morning to recieve captions. Yesterday I had to hard boot twice. Some channels show sporatic captions while others are off the screen and very difficult to read. This is on both regular and HD channels. The other day I watched a race with my husband on ESPN HD, and it was captioned, yesterday I watched NASCAR on ESPN HD and no captions. I have written tv stations, some have replied while others have not made so much as a comment (TNT is one that comes to mind).
    I have made complaints to the FCC and was told to contact the satellight company and the tv stations first, before filing a complaint.
    I was notified by a chief engineer with Dish that they are working on the issue, no telling when this will be. I sure hope they come up with something soon.

  24. As a retired television broadcast executive, and now with a hearing deficiency, I am very unhappy with the lack of concern with captions during the industry’s transistion into the digital era. My local stations, especially Fox and ABC, have been very lax in passing on the network captioned programs, frequently using a technique that delays the captions. Captions that are 8 to 12 seconds delayed for many programs are more of a problem than no captions at all. Discussions with the stations personnel are most discouraging and show a total lack of concern, especially among the engineering staffs.

  25. I have dish tv,2tv’s are hd the other one is not,the closed caption on espn does not come on the hd sets,but comes on the other set,it works on espn2 on hd and the other.We do not get any help from dish,do any one out there know what my problem is.
    Kenneth Hellmann

  26. Here’s my pet peeve among the hearing communities how LACK they understood our basic simple need(s) such as Closed Captioned.
    For instance-Look at senior citizen.They might wants to rely on closed-captioned B E C A U S E their hearing declined over the years.They relaized our need(s) and failed to reconize it in their younger adulthood of life.
    Now,Take a look at working class families-They need to rely on closed captioned just because they went to a noisy resturant, bar&grill where the noisy was too much to bear with and viola! C/C is their best solution! trying to catch up with everything about what’s going on out there in the world.
    Young college students:They will want reply on Closed Captioning because some college students’ major are English Literature, Jornalist, newspaper reporter, or closed captioning typer (working in NCC – National Closed Captioning)
    Kids:While they were busy growing up,attending High School. They would need to rely on closed capitioning because of their homework assignments, english learning series, etc.
    There are times that closed caption is our best VERY-MUST-TO-HAVE C/C in our utilimiate lifetime like I am profound deaf myself for the last 40 ish years.
    I remember when the originial C/C machine come out in 1980. It was the biggest demand/thrill everyone was TALKING ABOUT! Still does! even if C/C evolved and has been technology modernized those days although.
    Now,My message for Comcast:If you contintue to be STUBBORN and won’t listen to diversity of people’s basic need(s).
    Customer:Simply don’t buy Comcast’s product at all.It’s their loss and punishment after all! Just because they won’t listen to our nessecity :)* winks*
    Wipe them out of the BUSINESS! allowing other competition WIN our hearts big time :)I’m sure it’s something Comcast wouldn’t want to blew off their mistake and losses :)Or would they?
    What could possibly go so TOTALLY DEAD-WRONG esecpially among the hearing communities is that they have a perfect working-order two sets of EARS and better yet-They work so HARD being an arrogant stubborn citizen for since 7,000 years (Since Adam and Eve’s time period) upon to nowday time era??? Why does they have to stay OLD-FASHIONED being so STUBBORN only to focus on their own people????
    It’s something that has been annoymous to diversity of people for long as we could remember!
    Again-Let’s hopefully those snob up arrogant hearies start LISTENING to our own powerful voices! 🙂
    Have a great autumn 2007
    Take Care,

  27. Hi all!
    Very interesting information! Thanks!

  28. Just as an FYI, since this story was written, Apple released updates for both iTunes and iPods so that they now support scenarist closed captions.

  29. Interesting info
    Thanks for article

  30. For those of you who want to watch presidential debate online with closed caption, follow:
    They also provide closed captioning service at the lowest price in the industry using the latest speech recognition technology.

  31. I have Dish network and the only HD stations captioned are espn 140hd, discovery 9421, hdnmv 9423,espn agin 9424. I applaud those neworks. I pay satellite fees for TV and an additional $20.00 for HD (with a contract). Since these (HD) channels are not accessible isn’t this a breach of contract? I feel this is discrimination. All those that require Closed caption please complain to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act (a federal law). Go to http://www.ADA.gov and file a complaint. Complain to the FCC and ask NAD(National Associatin of the Deaf) to get involved.

  32. As the chairperson for the captioning committee in Monroe County, NY we are in agreement that deaf and hard of hearing people are being left out of all of the information that is now being provided on the internet and other means. More and more newspapers and news magazines are referring their readers to the websites where we watch a talking head report on the news without captions. Something has to be done in this area before we are totally left out of the information network. However, even more important is the poor quality of captions on TV today after all the years of improved technology we are still using the same system that was developed in the 70’s to provide captions and to be very honest the current state of captions on local broadcasts are awful.
    Bob Menchel

  33. I just recently finished a program that certifies me in CART and Closed Captioning. I am a voice writer so I speak into a mask or headset and the words then show up on a computer screen or can be sent back to a captioning firm. With this new technology the recognition as to what the material is supposed to say is very high. The problem is that most companies want 2 years experience. That doesn’t make sense to me because I have a service that has drastically improved the quality of captions and no one is willing to hire my skills. I feel it is important for the hearing impaired to get the correct information-period. It should not matter that I have two years experience. If I get the captions correct and the hearing impaired commuity benefits, wouldn’t you think you would want that service now? I do!!!

  34. Hi Everyone, It is somewhat comforting to know I am not the only one who has a problem with the closed captioning. I just lost my hearing two years ago. I am 50 years old and I woke up one day and my hearing was gone within hours. I believe everyone should have access to closed captioning. It just keeps getting worse everyday. I have E-mailed one local station here in Cincinnati, because it is the station I watch the most. WCPO-TV Channel 9 in Cincinnati, Ohio. They have not replied to my E-mails. The FCC wants documentation? That’s bull too. I have no way of doing that. I complained anyway and will continue to complain every day. I don’t know what else to do. Thanks for letting me vent, Mary

  35. I am involved with a local broadcast show which airs once a week. We are of a very limited income, as the show is basically all we have to live off of.
    Since 2008, we are REQUIRED by the F.C.C. to caption our shows, and I have been manually transcribing the show by listening to it over and over again and typing out the text. It takes me a full day to accurately transcribe a thirty minute television program!
    Yes, technological advances have gone quite a ways in HD programming and such, but captioning is still WAY behind.
    I can see that not many people understand how hard it is to caption programming!
    On top of the transcription, the station we are now airing on has no captioning equipment, and they have to run what I type through a teleprompting machine to “encode” our video.
    We’d like to do all the captioning “in house,” but the cost for “encoding” software for HD video is ~ $8000!!!
    Cost effective?!
    Research it on the ‘net and tell me if there is something cheaper than thousands of dollars to encode captions on HD video! I really would like to know!
    I don’t think there is much appreciation for how much work, effort, and money go into captioning videos.
    With the F.C.C. demanding captions, it would be nice for there to be a “Freeware” software program for encoding captions on videos. If there was, I would have no complaints. If the government requires something, at least they should offer easy and affordable ways to accomplish their requirement (like the DTV Converter Box Coupons)!
    But, really, please understand that captioning videos is NOT as easy as it may seem.

  36. Now Redbox has been spreaded across america for DVDs- the redbox kiosks increased not mentioning whether DVDs are caption or not. When mention CC- I came home excited to watch the movie and it is not captioned- so I demanded a refund- they say sorry- I just give out promo code to replace this movie. They don’t even apologize for the error they did put cc on that movie, which should not be shown cc on the kiosk describing the movie.
    I noticed nowadays, newer dvds have no cc lately, even not much english subtitled! English subtitles are CHEAPER than CC, yet, they don’t put on the DVDs.
    Now I just put in new cable preferred channel service- forcing myself to do that because comcast cut some channels out of the basic cable- forcing a lower class customer to purchase fancier service- then was surprised since yesterday on-demand free movies were not CC when it said it is CC!
    I began to research on this morning- and turned out to be real disappointed that I am very behind on the news that on-demand movies on comcast are bogus on CC! I wish I had not purchased it, but I wanted to make my two girls happy to watch disney channel, etc. Gee.
    Then why trick me with “CC” on-demand movies when it is not. Thank god- I chose free movie instead of PAID movie on-demand. Now I am even afraid to pay on-demand movie even if it says CC. So I rather use free movies under on-demand…
    Why in the world we are being neglected? We need to be recognized more. Enough with the discrimination. We are not low-minded people like you all out there.
    Seemed hearing people out there want us to stay low-minded and low-educated and show we are still dumb and mute. Captions IMPROVE our english, our minds, and our knowledge out there in the world in order to stay catch up with the hearing world!! So why not compile our satisfaction with you all?? I am frustrated here. I do not want to show I am low-minded here. I am an educated woman with a Bachelors degree, not a High School drop out!!
    Get CC corrected for the Comcast On-Demand movies!
    Get CC or English subtitles on newer DVDs!!!!

  37. Pity the person who is using closed captioning to learn English.
    The quality of the captioning that I see is below terrible. If they are able to discern the poor spelling, silly sound bite phrases, the difference between their/there, bear/bare, network/net worth, ad infinitum they are already well informed.

  38. The place I go to lunch everyday recently changed to HD Sat TV, and the ability to put the CC on the TVs is to hard for them to turn on and off. Now I can’t watch the news at lunch anymore. I think that the signal should ride just like the old system so that each TV set can turn it off and on.

  39. I am trying to enhance my learning of Spanish by watching TV with subtitles. I have been searching for a similar experience online as it would be more accessible.
    ‘Tis true–the online world has not yet embraced these technologies!
    iTunes is trying but still in its infancy.
    May it come soon!

  40. thanks for this post.

  41. Thank you for writing this article.
    As a profoundly deaf individual closed captioning is essential to my enjoyment of television. And, like nearly all the commenters, find the “digital revoloution” anything but that where television and the media is concerned.
    The only thing corporations understand is money and until their pockt book is hurt they will never go the extra mile for anyone.
    As an HOH individual it is my duty to let my elected officials know of this problem and have them pass the laws to provide equal access. We need to also lobby these companies and let them know of the potential customers, and thus money in subscriptions, they are losing.
    If you have Comcast or Direct TV drop them and let them know why. That is what I’ve done. I do not need them, I can get my news and entertainment elsewhere.

  42. I have both Analog and digital via antenna and satallite analog from Directv.
    The digital problems are not limited to CC.
    I have found that often the only way to get the
    CC properly is to use one of my analog options.
    It’s more than CC problems that I have been watching for over 4 years now.
    NBC. A gymnast lands her vault and starts to signal the judges, Then I hear rhe “plop” of her landing several seconds late. OK in analog
    PBS. Most musical concerts have annoying gaps in the sound. OK in analog.
    CBS. CC balloon sometines fills about 80% of the screen, CC display often on for only a split second. Only one side of a conversation is displayed. OK in analog.
    ALL Stations. CC out of synch or strange chatacters. Program may have commercial CC display and vise versa. Programs may start out with CC in synch but lose synch (or not come back at all) after a commercial. OK on analog.

  43. I hate to be like this..but I am hard of hearing and cannot understand 50 percent of what is going on in a tv or movie without closed caption. I think there should be a hard and fast rule that all tv shows have it. I realize that the news at times find it hard to keep up. But a delayed news show allowing the captioning person to keep up would be great. They show about 3 hours of news in the morning anyway and 90 percent just repeats itself hour after hour. devote one of those hours to a repeat in closed caption. Movies released should be a hard and fast rule to have a closed caption in english and spanish. No excections..

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