Foxtel’s online service launches without captions

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Wednesday, 31 July 2013 10:21am

Foxtel yesterday launched Foxtel Play, a service which delivers TV programs via the internet to a variety of devices. Unfortunately for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers, captions are not yet available on it, as is the case with most video on demand services in Australia.

Foxtel Play offers a variety of packages, and will deliver content to PCs, Macs, Xbox 360 consoles and Samsung’s 2012 and 2013 smart TV models. Foxtel has told Media Access Australia that it is investigating caption functionality for the service, but does not yet have a date for when this will be delivered.

The lack of captions on the new service highlights a situation which is widespread in Australia. The only television networks which currently provide captions on their catch up services are the ABC and SBS, while the only commercial video on demand service with captions (on a small percentage of programs) is iTunes. In the US, by contrast, all programs which have been screened on television with captions must now be captioned when made available over the internet.

Media Access Australia is currently drafting a report on video on demand services. This will look at the current situation in the UK, US and here, and suggest steps which can be taken to increase the levels of captioning on these services in Australia.

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