TV Closed Captioning is about to Improve

Although there have been TV closed captioning rules in place for some time, the quality of the captioning has been variable–to be polite about it.  On February 20, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved new rules that clarify and refine quality standards that will be required for television closed captioning in the future. The FCC states that under the new rules captions must 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 FCC announcement (found here) includes more details, such as bi-lingual captioning, live vs pre-recorded shows, local news captioning, etc.

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