Video

Is Blu-ray as accessible as DVD?

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In a twist to Media Access Australia’s regular statistics on accessible new release rental DVDs, we have taken a look at titles available over recent months and included the alternative Blu-ray format for comparison to see which format is ahead with accessibility. 

Blu-ray has been an alternative home entertainment video format since 2006 and sold itself on offerings of greater picture quality as well as increased disc space which would allow for more features. This space was promoted by some home entertainment industry representatives as the ‘sure thing’ that would lead to increased levels of closed captioning and audio description.


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Australia falling behind in video on demand captioning

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Media Access Australia today released a report, Captioning on Video on Demand: It’s Time for Australia to Catch Up, which shows that most video on demand and catch up TV providers are failing to make their content accessible for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

“Consumers are increasingly watching TV programs and movies online, on a variety of devices,” said the author of the report, MAA’s TV Project Manager, Chris Mikul. “In Australia, the only networks which provide captioning on their catch up services are the ABC and SBS. The only Australian video on demand service to offer captioning on some content is iTunes.”


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Foxtel’s online service launches without captions

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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.


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Online captioning rules clarified in the US

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has clarified how it will deal with requirements to caption online videos, caption quality standards, and the ability of DVD and Blu-ray players to display captions.

All of these requirements stem from the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, a landmark piece of access legislation which was passed in 2010. It requires that TV programs which have been broadcast with captions must also be captioned when made available online, but the FCC has previously stated that this applies only to “full-length programming” and not short clips.


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