On web video, captions are coming…slowly


For the deaf and hearing impaired, more captions are coming to the web versions of shows on television, where captions are mandated, reports the New York Times—and yet there is still great disparity among various content. Media companies say they are working hard to make online video more accessible. YouTube, the world’s biggest video web site by far, now supplies mostly accurate captions using voice-recognition software. ESPN is offering captions for its live streams of World Cup matches. And ABC now applies the TV captions for “Dancing With the Stars” to ABC.com. But big gaps remain, much to the dismay of deaf web users. Television episodes on CBS.com, news videos on CNN.com, and entertainment clips on MSN.com all lack captions, to name a few. Other web sites, like NBC.com, are inconsistent about captioning—so “America’s Got Talent” has captions, but “The Marriage Ref” does not. As online video becomes ever more popular, deaf viewers face the prospect of a partly inaccessible internet. The Hearing Loss Association of America says that 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Other groups, like English-language learners, also benefit from captions…

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