Deborah D. McAdams /
02.20.2014 07:43 PM
FCC Approves New Closed Caption Rules
Quality issues addressed
WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission unanimously has set new, improved rules for TV closed-captioning. The action resolves long-time concerns from deaf and hard of hearing communities to improve caption quality.

The new rules apply to all television programming with captions. The order adopts quality standards for accuracy, timing, program completeness, and placement of closed captions, including the requirement that captions be:

Accurate: Captions must match the spoken words in the dialogue and convey background noises and other sounds to the fullest extent possible.
Synchronous: Captions must coincide with their corresponding spoken words and sounds to the greatest extent possible and must be displayed on the screen at a speed that can be read by viewers.
Complete: Captions must run from the beginning to the end of the program to the fullest extent possible.
Properly placed: Captions should not block other important visual content on the screen, overlap one another, run off the edge of the video screen, or be blocked by other information.

The order distinguishes between pre-recorded, live, and near-live programming and explains how the new standards apply to each. Best practices for video programmers and captioning vendors are outlined. For example, video programmers can provide high-quality audio to promote accurate captioning transcriptions. They also can provide captioning vendors with advance access to show scripts, proper names and song lyrics, making it easier to caption live programs. Similarly, captioning vendors can ensure the proper screening, training and supervision of their captioners and take measures to ensure that their technical systems are functional, to prevent service interruptions.

These best practices were developed based on proposals from interested parties, including the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, and several captioning agencies. The measures require broadcasters who are permitted to convert teleprompter script into captions, to pre-script more of their news, including sports, weather, and most late-breaking stories. The pre-scripting requirement will result in captioning for some news that previously aired uncaptioned. In addition, the new rules require that crawls and other visual information be used to provide visual access to certain news segments that can’t be pre-scripted. 
The order also addresses several other issues related to closed-captioning quality, including multicast channels, technical equipment monitoring, and recordkeeping. It is accompanied by a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on re-apportioning some of the captioning responsibilities and on ways to further enhance accessibility to TV programming and improve the commission’s procedural rules.
The commission also issued a Declaratory Ruling clarifying existing rules defining requirements for on-demand programming, bilingual English and Spanish programming, obligations of low-power TV stations, and video programming distributor contact information.

Post New Comment
If you are already a member, or would like to receive email alerts as new comments are
made, please login or register.

Enter the code shown above:

(Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above
image, reload the page to generate a new one.)

Posted by: Anonymous
Sun, 02-23-2014 11:23 AM Report Comment
I feel Captioning should always be in English and those who do not know English should take a course and learn to read and write and speak English! I say this because my parents originally came from France and My Mother took lessons to learn to read and write and speak English, My Father had already learned all this before he came here! sincerely DB Rogers
Posted by: Anonymous
Mon, 02-24-2014 01:33 PM Report Comment
...and in the meantime, the internet is free to p*55 on everyone because it's the darling of new age. At what point do broadcasters just throw in the towel and say "F*** it!" When will the rules come out mandating tactile-pads for the blind? How about telepathic sensors so the quadriplegic doesn't need to fumble w/a stupid remote control that even full-bodied individuals have problems operating? NANNY-STATE thinking from simple minds...paid for by real people who have to work in order to avoid the tax-man. I forgot...who's driving this bus over the cliff anyways? Sheesh!

Thursday 11:07 AM
The Best Deconstruction of a 4K Shoot You'll Ever Read
With higher resolutions and larger HD screens, wide shots using very wide lenses can be a problem because they allow viewers to see that infinity doesn’t quite resolve into perfect sharpness.

Featured Articles
Discover TV Technology