America Online (AOL) announced it is now testing closed captions for streaming news content from CNN in an attempt to enhance the online media experience for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
AOL previously offered synchronized text transcripts for CNN news updates that were limited to the text of a news anchor's script. Now, content from CNN, including videos for the day's headlines, current events, new stories and entertainment, will be manually captioned to ensure all of the audio in a video stream is completely accessible, the online service said.
AOL has been working on the closed-captioning initiative with WGBH's Media Access Group, an organization that has advocated making all forms of media accessible to the estimated 36 million Americans who rely on captioning or video descriptions. The work is also supported by a grant to WGBH from NEC Foundation of America.
Similar to closed captioning for television, AOL captions are displayed directly beneath the video window and correspond to the audio content. Activating the captions requires a click on the “CC” button that appears on AOL's media player.
AOL's technical specifications now limit the service to personal computers running on Microsoft's Windows platform. No information was available on whether closed captioning will extend to other computer operating systems.