Organisations receive Emmy awards for internet caption standards

Tuesday, 2 February 2016 13:07pm

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were honoured at the 67th Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards held in Las Vegas on 8 January for developing standards that allow closed captions to be provided for online videos.

Members of the W3C Timed Text Working Group holding an Emmy. Image credit: Cashman Photo, Las Vegas, NV & The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The W3C’s Timed Text Markup Language standard (TTML) and the SMPTE’s Timed Text standard (SMPTE-TT) are both free to the public, and enable captions created for television broadcast to be easily used on programs distributed over the internet. 

The incompatibility of various caption file formats was once one of the chief impediments to providing captions for online video. This was a situation that needed to be rectified urgently when legislation was introduced in the US in 2010 which made it compulsory to caption online videos which had previously been captioned for TV. In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission designated SMPTE-TT as the ‘safe harbor’ standard which could be used to ensure that captions are compatible with different systems.

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