Legislation has recently been enacted in the United States and other regions to require the use of captions for newly created and aired video programming shown on the Internet after being shown on television. Captioning is a term describing the process of displaying text on a video screen to provide additional or interpretive information to viewers who wish to access it.
A common use of captions is to provide subtitles for movies, for instance English subtitles displayed on a French language video. However, it can also be used to provide descriptive audio for viewers that are hard of hearing or deaf. Descriptive audio describes to the deaf and hard of hearing all important audio content – including spoken dialogue and non-speech information such as the identity of speakers, their tone of speaking and even any significant music or sound effects using a combination of words or symbols.
The US legislation requiring captions is rolling out in phases based on the following schedule established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC):
- September 30, 2012: Prerecorded programming that is not edited for Internet distribution;
- March 30, 2013: Live and near live programming that was recorded within 24 hours of broadcast on television;
- September 30, 2013: Prerecorded programming that is edited for Internet distribution.
MetaCDN is pleased to announce support for closed captions as part of our standard video encoding and streaming workflow, to assist content creators, owners and distributors. MetaCDN supports loading of subtitles from Timed Text or Subrip format files. Timed Text is a W3C specification for delivering captioning and video description for the web. You can find the spec here in the W3C site. SubRip is a common format for distributing Captions for DVD rips. It is the native subtitle format of the SubRip program.
In MetaCDN Version 1.4, captions are supported for video content delivered via the Flash player. In a future release, MetaCDN will support caption display for content delivered via HTML5 and iOS.