US industry group makes standard available for online captioning

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011 15:23pm

The Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has released to the public a standard which will make it easier for captions on TV programs to be retained when these programs are shown on the Internet.

The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) has applauded SMPTE’s decision, calling it “important and well-timed”. One of the requirements of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in October 2010, is that programs which were captioned when screened on TV must also be captioned when made available online.

The Federal Communications Commission, which will soon be issuing rules regarding this, currently has an advisory committee looking into the issues involved.   

The standard – SMPTE 2052-1:2020 – defines how caption code should be written so that captions will work across television and online display systems. It can be downloaded for free from the SMPTE website.

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