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TV Studios quietly adding closed-captioned episodes to iTunes Store

post #1 of 31
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Television studios have quietly begun adding closed captioning to a small selection of the TV shows on offer in Apple's iTunes Store.

Fox, FX, CW and ABC are among the studios that have added closed captions to TV shows on iTunes. Specific shows include "Sons of Anarchy," "New Girl," "Switched at Birth" and "The Secret Circle," though, in general, only the current season of these shows carries support for captions.

It's not exactly clear when the first captioned TV shows arrived on the iTunes Store, but as late as last month, reports claimed that no TV shows on Apple's digital storefront offered the feature. Most of the shows providing the closed-captioning are from the fall 2011 TV lineup and have only been added recently.

Apple has for several years now offered closed captioning for movies, even providing a way to search exclusively for movies that support the feature. The company has yet to add the search criteria to the corresponding Power Search for TV shows in iTunes.

Last month, Apple removed the option of renting TV shows for 99-cents from iTunes and the Apple TV, after iTunes customers showed they "overwhelmingly preferred buying TV shows."



The company does, however, appear poised to make further inroads into the living room. According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple is developing a "new technology" to deliver video to televisions. Also, rumors of an Apple-branded smart television have picked up steam in recent months, with a few reports speculating that an Apple TV set could arrive as early as next year.
post #2 of 31
Ironically the only series I've purchased from iTunes is Sons of Anarchy and I did miss the closed captioning after watching the other seasons on Netflix. That's a show with a lot of fast talking, slang, and mumbling, so I like to rematch it with the CC on. Obviously I'm not alone.
post #3 of 31
Eehhh.
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post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Television studios have quietly begun adding closed captioning to a small selection of the TV shows on offer in Apple's iTunes Store.

Is that a pun?

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post #5 of 31
Geez, it's about time. Don't tell me the technology didn't exist. Now maybe I can understand those British shows. On second thought...maybe not

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post #6 of 31
The most overused story title word on AI is: quietly.
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post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

The most overused story title word on AI is: quietly.

Quite. (see what I did there...)

I hate the way they make it sound so sinister as if these SOBs were trying to get away with adding closed captioning right under our noses! Don't let them get away with it!! lol
post #8 of 31
Glad to see Apple and the studios doing this for those who have hearing difficulties. It should have been done a long time ago.
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_b View Post

Glad to see Apple and the studios doing this for those who have hearing difficulties. It should have been done a long time ago.

Sadly, I don't think that the ADA covers individuals with sensory impairments, only those with physical or motor impairments. I have been an advocate for closed captioning systems to be used in movie theaters (provided of course, that their use or implementation does not interfere with those in the theater that do not want the equipment to interfere with their viewing in the theater). It seems unfair that CC equipment is required in all TV sets, but those that are HOH or deaf can not go to a theater and enjoy movies because they cannot hear. Maybe sensory impairments are not recognized as being severe enough that they require attention from the ADA. It just seems to me that HOH or deaf individuals should have as much accommodation in public places as do people with physical impairments (ramps, elevators, etc). Actually, to go maybe a step further, I think that all commercially produced content that is made available electronically (online or by other means) should be required to have CC. Sadly, I don't think these people have a voice. I guess I expect that the "ADA" should cover all disabilities. Maybe it's really only meant to cover those with physical or motor impairments, and not those with sensory impairments? Thinking about it now, I guess having a physical impairment is probably much worse to deal with than having a sensory impairment.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

The most overused story title word on AI is: quietly.

Agreed. You'd think companies need to announce their every move with a press conference and a marching band to avoid it.
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Geez, it's about time. Don't tell me the technology didn't exist. Now maybe I can understand those British shows. On second thought...maybe not

What is your first language, Spanish maybe?
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post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_b View Post

Glad to see Apple and the studios doing this for those who have hearing difficulties. It should have been done a long time ago.

Also ESL people appreciate it and myself which I can't ever get a volume set correctly because a BOOM is megaloud and a conversation is mega quite.

It is about time they add this. They need to add them to the movies as well. That is the biggest problem for me.
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post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_b View Post

Glad to see Apple and the studios doing this for those who have hearing difficulties. It should have been done a long time ago.

While this is a nice thing, I don't think Apple has much to do with this. My understanding is that all the work of encoding this stuff is done by the studios - Apple just hosts the items, advertises, and sells them. I doubt that any contract that was negotiated would have had terms that required subtitles, there would be no reason for Apple to have required them. My guess is that Apple was more interested in the uniform pricing.
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Geez, it's about time.

Damn right! I would have thought this would have been a day 1 priority for their TV and movies.
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post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

While this is a nice thing, I don't think Apple has much to do with this. My understanding is that all the work of encoding this stuff is done by the studios - Apple just hosts the items, advertises, and sells them. I doubt that any contract that was negotiated would have had terms that required subtitles, there would be no reason for Apple to have required them. My guess is that Apple was more interested in the uniform pricing.

Based on the fact they haven't existed for most videos I think you are right, but I would have thought Apple would have made use by those with disabilities a priority. Have you seen what they did to make sure their iPhone can be used by the blind?
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post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital_Guy View Post

I have been an advocate for closed captioning systems to be used in movie theaters (provided of course, that their use or implementation does not interfere with those in the theater that do not want the equipment to interfere with their viewing in the theater). It seems unfair that CC equipment is required in all TV sets, but those that are HOH or deaf can not go to a theater and enjoy movies because they cannot hear.

Push for MoPix in your theaters.

http://ncam.wgbh.org/mopix/

Maybe some nearby theaters already have it: check availability at http://www.captionfish.com/
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Lurksalot View Post

Push for MoPix in your theaters.

http://ncam.wgbh.org/mopix/

Maybe some nearby theaters already have it: check availability at http://www.captionfish.com/

Thank you, but I have already been on the mailing list for WGBH for
a few years now. I still think that the larger problem is that the ADA
should also cover people with sensory impairments, not only those
with physical or motor disabilities.
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Television studios have quietly begun adding closed captioning to a small selection of the TV shows on offer in Apple's iTunes Store.

NIce gesture but the implementation is IMO, wrong. CC is an ancient technology originally invented for broadcast analog TV. The binary SSC file format requires expensive software and highly skilled personnel. Those costs have slowed and will continue to slow implementation.

Soft subtitles, OTOH, are easily and cheaply implemented. Take a look at the "fan rubber" community and how they provide movie and TV show subtitles in many languages shortly after they become available.

Of course, DRM makes adding subtitles that you or someone else has created quite difficult or impossible.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by flowney View Post

NIce gesture but the implementation is IMO, wrong. CC is an ancient technology originally invented for broadcast analog TV. The binary SSC file format requires expensive software and highly skilled personnel. Those costs have slowed and will continue to slow implementation.

Soft subtitles, OTOH, are easily and cheaply implemented. Take a look at the "fan rubber" community and how they provide movie and TV show subtitles in many languages shortly after they become available.

Of course, DRM makes adding subtitles that you or someone else has created quite difficult or impossible.

Thanks for the informative post. This is an interesting subject. Awhile back I downloaded a subtitles app that you manually sync with the movie after downloading an xml file. That puts the subtitles on your iPhone while watching a movie on TV. Our company has been producing video with subtitles for a long time but we do not know how to embed them into a mp4 file where they can be turned on and off like a DVD. We make two different versions of the movie. Do you have any additional info about what format these iTunes movies are in?

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post #20 of 31
I was able to see the captions on one of the new TV shows (New Girl) on the iPad. However, it won't work on Apple TV for me. I turned on captions in "audio/video" setup but nothing is displayed on the screen. Is there another setting to adjust or does the ATV2 need an update?
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post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by flowney View Post

NIce gesture but the implementation is IMO, wrong. CC is an ancient technology originally invented for broadcast analog TV. The binary SSC file format requires expensive software and highly skilled personnel. Those costs have slowed and will continue to slow implementation.

Soft subtitles, OTOH, are easily and cheaply implemented. Take a look at the "fan rubber" community and how they provide movie and TV show subtitles in many languages shortly after they become available.

Of course, DRM makes adding subtitles that you or someone else has created quite difficult or impossible.

I didn't read this article too carefully so maybe I missed this, but I don't think they're literally adding CC's signals to the videos. Surely they're adding SRT files?
Quicktime supports them directly IIRC.

If they are indeed ussing CCs as you say that seems pretty boneheaded
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Thanks for the informative post. This is an interesting subject. Awhile back I downloaded a subtitles app that you manually sync with the movie after downloading an xml file. That puts the subtitles on your iPhone while watching a movie on TV. Our company has been producing video with subtitles for a long time but we do not know how to embed them into a mp4 file where they can be turned on and off like a DVD. We make two different versions of the movie. Do you have any additional info about what format these iTunes movies are in?

Here are the results of my research on this question:

http://hercules.gcsu.edu/~flowney/re...G-4/subtitles/

As you'll read, there are good, open source tools available. There are also commercial tools such as iSubtitle which, conveniently, links to many of the sources of fan sub soft subtitles.
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

I didn't read this article too carefully so maybe I missed this, but I don't think they're literally adding CC's signals to the videos. Surely they're adding SRT files?
Quicktime supports them directly IIRC.

If they are indeed ussing CCs as you say that seems pretty boneheaded

I haven't actually purchased, downloaded and deconstructed one of these shows (DRM would probably prevent that anyway). Thus, I based my surmise on the use of the CC logo on the iTunes page. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has deconstructed one of these captioned shows.
post #24 of 31
who is Closed captioning
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by flowney View Post

I haven't actually purchased, downloaded and deconstructed one of these shows (DRM would probably prevent that anyway). Thus, I based my surmise on the use of the CC logo on the iTunes page. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has deconstructed one of these captioned shows.

No, it works fine. Here's Air Force One, straight from the iTunes Store a few years back (sorry, but it's obviously not captioned; I'm just showing that it's possible). You can see everything about it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by apple1991 View Post

who is Closed captioning

Dr. Closed Captioning A.uRl. (or 'Clo' to his friends) was a scientist in the late 1940s who pioneered the first speech to text technologies in radio and eventually television. Dr. Captioning's work lives on today as digital streams of text that can be added to video files for the benefit of the deaf, hard of hearing, and foreign.

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post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple1991 View Post

who is Closed captioning

Not who but what. Wikipedia is your friend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_captioning
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

No, it works fine. Here's Air Force One, straight from the iTunes Store a few years back (sorry, but it's obviously not captioned; I'm just showing that it's possible). You can see everything about it.





Dr. Closed Captioning A.uRl. (or 'Clo' to his friends) was a scientist in the late 1940s who pioneered the first speech to text technologies in radio and eventually television. Dr. Captioning's work lives on today as digital streams of text that can be added to video files for the benefit of the deaf, hard of hearing, and foreign.

The annotations would indicate the presence of a CC or Subtitle track but, with DRM, you would not be able to extract and examine the structure of these tracks. Soft subtitles generally use SRT and other text-based formats so they are very human readable.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by flowney View Post

The annotations would indicate the presence of a CC or Subtitle track but, with DRM, you would not be able to extract and examine the structure of these tracks. Soft subtitles generally use SRT and other text-based formats so they are very human readable.

Yes, and I'm saying on files with SRT embedded, they'll show up in the list at the top. I haven't put an SRT onto my iTunes copy of Air Force One yet.

And now I have. Didn't complain at all, even though it's an iTunes movie.



And the subtitles show up perfectly fine. I can't show you, obviously, because the wretched thing won't let me screenshot it. But a user-added subtitle track works fine.

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post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital_Guy View Post

Sadly, I don't think that the ADA covers individuals with sensory impairments, only those with physical or motor impairments. I have been an advocate for closed captioning systems to be used in movie theaters (provided of course, that their use or implementation does not interfere with those in the theater that do not want the equipment to interfere with their viewing in the theater). It seems unfair that CC equipment is required in all TV sets, but those that are HOH or deaf can not go to a theater and enjoy movies because they cannot hear. Maybe sensory impairments are not recognized as being severe enough that they require attention from the ADA. It just seems to me that HOH or deaf individuals should have as much accommodation in public places as do people with physical impairments (ramps, elevators, etc). Actually, to go maybe a step further, I think that all commercially produced content that is made available electronically (online or by other means) should be required to have CC. Sadly, I don't think these people have a voice. I guess I expect that the "ADA" should cover all disabilities. Maybe it's really only meant to cover those with physical or motor impairments, and not those with sensory impairments? Thinking about it now, I guess having a physical impairment is probably much worse to deal with than having a sensory impairment.

Actually, ADA DOES recognize hearing loss as a disability. And FYI it has been mandated that electronic/digital media be accessible. It will take some time for it to be widespread. And how can one possibly say that a physical disability is harder than a sensory one? Would you rather lose a finger or hand or,say, your vision. Just b/c a disability is somewhat 'invisible' doesn't make it easier to live with. Often times, the opposite is true. And, while you are talking abt 'those people' remember that roughly 1 in10 persons has some degree of hearing loss -- and it's not just older folks.








Actually, ADA DOES recognize hearing loss as a disability. And FYI it has been mandated that electronic/digital media be accessible. It will take some time for it to be widespread. And how can one possibly say that a physical disability is harder than a sensory one? Would you rather lose a finger or hand or,say, your vision. Just b/c a disability is somewhat 'invisible' doesn't make it easier to live with. Often times, the opposite is true. And, while you are talking abt 'those people' remember that roughly 1 in10 persons has some degree of hearing loss -- and it's not just older folks.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dimtngirl View Post

Actually, ADA DOES recognize hearing loss as a disability. And FYI it has been mandated that electronic/digital media be accessible. It will take some time for it to be widespread. And how can one possibly say that a physical disability is harder than a sensory one? Would you rather lose a finger or hand or,say, your vision. Just b/c a disability is somewhat 'invisible' doesn't make it easier to live with. Often times, the opposite is true. And, while you are talking abt 'those people' remember that roughly 1 in10 persons has some degree of hearing loss -- and it's not just older folks.








Actually, ADA DOES recognize hearing loss as a disability. And FYI it has been mandated that electronic/digital media be accessible. It will take some time for it to be widespread. And how can one possibly say that a physical disability is harder than a sensory one? Would you rather lose a finger or hand or,say, your vision. Just b/c a disability is somewhat 'invisible' doesn't make it easier to live with. Often times, the opposite is true. And, while you are talking abt 'those people' remember that roughly 1 in10 persons has some degree of hearing loss -- and it's not just older folks.

Just seems that the ones with the physical impairments are the only ones that have accommodations made for them. I guess they are the ones that are more visible. The ADA has been around since 1990. I'm not sure what has taken this long (21 years??) to recognize that people with sensory impairments have disabilities, also. I am not a person with any physical or sensory impairments, just an advocate for their rights. I find it difficult to comprehend that based on a certain orientation, people have more civil rights than those that have what SHOULD be considered a disability.
post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital_Guy View Post

Just seems that the ones with the physical impairments are the only ones that have accommodations made for them. I guess they are the ones that are more visible. The ADA has been around since 1990. I'm not sure what has taken this long (21 years??) to recognize that people with sensory impairments have disabilities, also. I am not a person with any physical or sensory impairments, just an advocate for their rights. I find it difficult to comprehend that based on a certain orientation, people have more civil rights than those that have what SHOULD be considered a disability.

I stand corrected. I found the definition ..

"The ADA defines a disability as 'a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.'"

So, technically, sensory impairments are not considered (at least by the ADA) to be a disability, because they are not physical or mental.
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