FCC Establishes Captioning Working Group

The FCC has recently the creation of a special technical working group tasked with the study of digital closed captioning and video description issues. The group was established to identify and address captioning and scene description problems that may arise with the complete switchover to digital broadcasting by full power stations in June.

The working group will include FCC staff members from its Office of Engineering and Technology and Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, as well as individuals from broadcast networks, cable and satellite distributors, equipment manufacturers, industry groups, the NAB and others.

In addition to evaluating potential DTV captioning/description problems, the group is also charged with recommending solutions to any technical problems that could arise with the end of analog television broadcasting to the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee.

Specific working group goals include: identification of any anticipated transmission problems and those associated with display of DTV closed captions and video descriptions, evaluation of the closed captioning and video description capabilities existing with current digital equipment, and development of solutions that will ensure that captioning and description information is passed intact throughout the broadcast chain.

The first meeting of the new group has been set for May 18, 2009.