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  • iheartsubtitles 6:59 pm on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BBC iPlayer, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Subtitles and Captioning – Regulatory requirements update 

    In the USA the deadline set by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVVA) passed at the end of March. This was the deadline for US broadcasters to ensure that any live or near live programmes captioned for TV linear channel broadcast are also captioned on online catch-up services. So for anyone living in the USA reading this should you wish to file a complaint due to lack of captions online you can do so by completing a FCC Form.

    Currently in the UK there are no regulatory requirements covering online catch-up services. The major broadcasters services such as BBC iPlayer, itv player, 4OD, and Demand 5 do provide subtitles where available. In addition BBC iPlayer and 40D provide audio description online if it has been providing during TV broadcast. This is assuming you are streaming the content online from a PC, as opposed to downloading for which subtitles are not yet available. So, a fairly good start has been made without regulatory requirements being put in place. The question is, is it enough? I don’t think it is. Not all broadcasters are doing it. This is not equal access to a catch up online service.

    A broader but related issue to this is that broadcast services and the technology behind it is moving at a fast pace. One of the poorest areas for captions and subtitles availability is in OTT* services. When connected TV becomes the norm, it makes sense that these OTT services will sit next to traditional broadcast channels and online catch up services. Maybe they will even appear in the same EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) on your TV. The issue here is, consumers aren’t going to know or be interested in the difference. Both are TV channels offering content to watch, both should provide the same kind of access through captions or subtitles. And why shouldn’t consumers think and feel like this? For OTT services, Netflix is probably currently leading the field in the provision of captions and subtitles (anyone disagree?) but it’s interesting that this appears to have come about as result of the company being sued by National Association for the Deaf (NAD) back in 2011 for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) for doing the exact opposite and failing to provide closed captioning! Maybe we do need more regulatory requirements. What do you think?

    *OTT refers to ‘Over The Top’ Television and refers to broadband delivery of video and audio without a multiple system operator being involved in the control or distribution of the content itself. For example Netflix provide content but to access their services you need a broadband connection that they do not control but ‘ride over the top’ of this service to provide content to consumers. Consumers can access OTT content through internet-connected devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, set-top boxes, Smart TVs and gaming consoles such as the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

    • Larry Goldberg 7:59 pm on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Though Netflix is definitely building up their inventory of captioned (subtitled) TV programs, Apple’s iTunes (available via their OTT Apple TV device or Mac or PC) probably has just as much captioned content.


    • iheartsubtitles 10:33 pm on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the info Larry. Good to know.


  • iheartsubtitles 8:24 pm on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BBC iPlayer, , , , Sony, , ,   

    Well this is confusing, connected internet smart TV – Sony models discrepancy 

    How was everyone’s holiday break? Christmas seems ages away already but one of the best Christmas present’s I got was staying at my parents and watching lots of great television on their new internet connected smart TV. Up until this point in time, all the internet connected TV I had tried to use was completely without subtitles support, or if it was there, I had yet to find the subtitled content. So imagine my surprise when I selected BBC iplayer to find an option to turn the subtitles on. Very exciting! It meant I could watch catch-up services via connected TV on a big high quality TV screen rather than a smaller PC screen or an even smaller laptop screen or smart phone. Here’s the photo I took illustrating BBC iplayer on an internet connected TV with subtitles options:

    BBC iPlayer via connected TV with subtitles support

    BBC iPlayer via connected TV with subtitles support – the ‘S’ symbol allows you to switch subtitles on or off

    I too have a connected TV, and it too is a Sony model. A different model but only approx a year older than the model my parents bought. So I was hopeful that if I went into my connected internet TV settings and checked for a software upgrade that the next time I log into BBC iPlayer, I too would get the subtitles support. As soon as I got back home, this is exactly what I went to do. So imagine my disappointment when logging into iPlayer after the upgrade to find that I still do not have subtitles support. Worse than that, how confusing is it to consumers that different models from the same TV manufacturer (in this instance, Sony) appear to have different capabilities. My parents connected TV is a brand new model, I bought mine less than a year ago. It wasn’t cheap, and I feel like I want a refund. Or am I doing something wrong? It’s not that easy to know – how do I know I have the latest update? Also, there is no way for me to know prior to buying which models will provide me with the subtitle support. Sony cannot provide that information to me as it is probably down to the provider (in this instance the BBC). All in all it’s a bit of a mess. I don’t see that changing any time soon, and I’m not sure what the solution is. I can only hope that once internet connected or smart TV’s become the norm that there is consistent behaviour between models and manufacturers and the connected TV services provided on it – including its access services.

    What are other people’s experiences so far with using connected TV services and accessing subtitles or captions? Please comment below.

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