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New World Of Captioning (2008 – PRESENT)

(2008) ABC leads as the first major network to caption its entire prime-time programming online as competitors follow suit with partial listings. The transition to digital television looms as analog broadcasts begin to cease. Consumers nationwide experience mixed results with captioning as they upgrade to digital receivers. DCMP’s Captioning Key for Educational Media now includes guidelines for Internet captioning. The number of US broadband households watching premium online content including movies and TV shows reach 25 million households. BBC attains the 100% captioning benchmark two years ahead of the regulatory deadline of 2010 in the United Kingdom. Captioning tools for online user-generated media proliferate on major video streaming sites such as YouTube.com

(2009) Online captioning appears on many more websites as Google announces automatic captioning for uploaded YouTube videos using speech recognition. This solution addressed the massive scale of videos uploaded at a rate of 20 hours per minute. The transition to digital television revealed gaps in captioning transmission resulting from equipment design flaws and other lapses in broadcasting CEA-708 captions in a digital format. Local TV news stations turn to voice captioning as a lower-cost alternative to steno-captioning. In collaboration with the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), Advanced TV Systems Committee agrees to fully include captioning solutions in its initial version of technical standards for broadcasting to handheld media and mobile devices. Televised Presidential speeches are captioned extensively online thanks to experimentation by NCAM to repurpose television captioning for online use. Netflix balks at including captioning for its downloadable media. In response to Netflix, Jamie Berke revives CaptionAction with Robert Goodwin and shortly shifts its focus onto the passage of a new Congressional legislation, The Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. Professional sports and college stadiums begin to install captioning systems delivering text to message boards and handheld devices. The FCC forms a task force with representatives from broadcasters, captioning providers and consumer groups to work on closed captioning technical issues for digital television.

(2010) A federal appeals court rejects a class-action lawsuit seeking to hold Apple, Inc. responsible for hearing losses incurred by iPod music player users. Deaf community continues to be enraged by Netflix’s slow progress on captioning for 300 of its vast streaming video library, noting that competitors have already made greater portions of their offerings accessible. FCC streamlines captioning complaint procedures and requires video distributors to post contact information online. The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) passes, requiring television programming shown on the Internet to carry captions and makes it easier for people to access the captioning controls on television remotes. Kohl’s department store posts closed captioned videos on their job site. CaptionFish website helps movie patrons know which films are captioned near them. 22frames.com develops new search engine for captioned and subtitled videos from sites all over the Internet. Google sees growth in captioned videos uploaded to YouTube. In a “groundbreaking legal decision,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit in which the state of Arizona sought the installation of equipment needed to display captions and audio descriptions at Harkins Cinema for patrons with sensory disabilities. Massachusetts settles with AMC, Regal and Showcase Cinema to have the theater chains to provide captioning and video description within the state. Regal Cinema hosted symposium where advocates try out prototypes of new movie captioning technologies. Association of Late Deafened Adults initiates class action lawsuit against Cinemark theater chain in California. WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media develops prototype system to access accuracy of real-time captions for live news programming. Coast2Coast expands captioning options at sports stadiums, entertainment venues and other public places. SpeechGear launch $795 software that allows users to not only type words and have them read aloud, but also transcribes other people’s comments. Vibrating headphone collars and speech-to-text glasses change the way deaf people hear music and talk with others. NPR demonstrates captioned radio at the White House as one of technical innovations honoring the 20th anniversary of the ADA. CSD starts Project Endeavor as a product of a $15 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce where qualified deaf and hard of hearing customers can purchase a laptop and one year of Internet access for $230. The Betty and Leonard Phillips Deaf Action Center in Shreveport, Louisiana receives $1.3 million grant from U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Program.

(2011) The Hearing Access Program prompts the Association of National Advertisers to support captioning in TV commercials. Harkins Theaters and Cinemark USA settles respective class action lawsuits by providing a wireless captioning device to patrons upon request and including video description systems. Sony announces intention to develop glasses that produces subtitles in movie theaters. News 10 in Albany, New York recognized for providing real-time captioning during severe storms and other major news events. Internet blogger comments on poor captioning quality and volunteers to be a captioner on a major network. More universities and colleges turn to CART as a reasonable accommodation for students. Despite lawsuits from deaf viewers for misleading information on captioning, Netflix slowly increases its list of accessible popular videos online. GLAD, Inc. sues Time Warner for lack of captions for video clips on CNN.com website, which “excludes … from a wealth of critical information regarding current events.” Minnesota group that posts live political events online honored for its commitment to caption political ads. Mega Channel is the first private TV channel in Greece to provide subtitles on a major series. Fast food restaurant Culver adds more accessible indoor and drive-thru Order Assist systems to serve deaf customers. Scientists at Georgia Tech hack into Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect motion control sensor to read sign language and be able to interpret a limited vocabulary with greater than 98 percent accuracy. Deaf advocates press online video producers to include captions, even if not covered by CVAA. Google continues to work on making YouTube’s auto captioning feature easier to use. VITAC employees reflect on their efforts to make the news accessible on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the aftermath.

(2012) FCC regulations for captioning on the Internet begins for new prerecorded programming shown on the Internet after airing on television. TDI and consumer groups ask FCC to reconsider their exemption for online video clips from television shows from captioning. Accessible live theater options grow as captioning display equipment are installed in more venues. Computer programmers explore the idea of using Siri to provide captioning on Apple TV and improving automatic captions on YouTube. Leading online news network, CNN.com contends with lawsuit from Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAD) over the network’s refusal to caption online video clips on its website, citing First Amendment issues. Federal judge deems that ADA is applicable to online services, which led to a settlement between National Association of the Deaf and Netflix where the vendor commits to captioning its entire online library of streaming videos within two years. Movie theater chains pledge to increase captioned movies as digital cinema conversions are implemented. Sony creates Entertainment Access Glasses for movie goers needing captions. Computer Prompting and Captioning debuts new captioning software for Internet videos. Final Cut Pro X training videos on movie production now captioned. Consumer Electronics Association, an industry trade association launches assault on new CVAA law, seeking exemptions and waivers from regulations governing captioning or advanced communication services. CaptionMatch.com launches new matching service and clearinghouse to connect captioning or CART users with a provider. After years of resistance to provide captions on its internal community TV, The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, provides captioning for its deaf and hard of hearing residents. Canada tells TV broadcasters to achieve 95% accuracy in their captioning and that text must not lag behind speech for more than six seconds. NTID/RIT completes integrated platform for captioning video course materials. Cardionics ViScope develops visual amplified stethoscope for medical personnel who are deaf or hard of hearing by amplifying the audio and providing a visual display of the phonopnermogram. Apple patents promising technology for smart hearing aids that could wirelessly connect to devices. One of several patents by Google to protect its augmented reality glasses, helps deaf and hard of hearing users detect and interpret nearby sounds. FCC implements the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act or the CALM Act requireing TV commercials to be no louder than the programs they accompany. Builders begin to incorporate deaf-friendly features in apartments and other residential buildings. A company in Germany designs a glove to help deaf-blind read text messages through tactile feedback using Lorm, a European sign language alphabet. A University of Houston student develops mobile device that can translate sign language into spoken words.

(2013) FCC implements new rules for IP Captioning, which required all television programming to carry captions when displayed online through the Internet. Some online video producers turn to crowdsourcing to caption Internet-only content, including personal videos. FaceBook and other social media sites reconnect deaf and hard of hearing people with hearing family and friends that do not interact with them in the real world. Schools and colleges now offer online courses, many of which are accessible to people with sensory disabilities. Google Hangouts bring out a sign language interpreter app, and many more keyboard shortcuts. NPR Labs and Towson University collaborate to roll out captioned radio broadcasting. Apple commits to captioning its collection of movies and TV shows on iTunes. US Patent and Trademark Office publish a Google patent application for its Project Glass to create visual notification of sound for users with hearing disabilities, which can help them detect noises like an oncoming car. Regal Entertainment Group rolls out captioning glasses made by Sony Electronics for deaf and hard of hearing patrons in about 6,000 screens, and includes audio description for those with visual disabilities. Conflicts arise from hearing viewers who say that captions are distracting because they do not appear in synch with the spoken dialogue. The switch to digital cinema allows Kansas City drive-in movie theater to be the first outdoor theater to display captions. Two deaf men in Connecticut sues Bow Tie Cinemas for not having enough working captioning devices for a group of friends. US Senator Tom Harkin introduces two bills to expand access to captioning called the Captioning and Image Narration to Enhance Movie Accessibility (CINEMA) Act that would amend Title III of the ADA to require movie theater complexes of two or more theaters to make captioning and video description available for all films at all showings, and a second bill to require captioning on airliners. Andrew Phillips, former TDI intern, and NAD lawyer testifies at a Senate hearing supporting accessible in-flight entertainment systems. Restaurant chain in Michigan converts to accessible touch-screen drive-through kiosks in response to lawsuits over misunderstood orders. University of Phoenix and University of Maryland sued for not captioning announcements during athletic events. University of Rochester programmer attempts to develop system that can transcribe conversations in real-time at a fraction of the cost for a skilled human stenotypist. Supermarket chain in Florida sets up loop systems within the cashier area, the customer service desk and the pharmacy. Fisher Theatre in Detroit offers open captioning for select live performances. New apps allow users to rate businesses and other buildings by accessibility and compliance with the ADA.