Recently the FCC has set up new rules to govern captioning services. These rules are designed to make closed captioning more consistent and of better quality for the people who rely on this service so they can obtain news and information as well as enjoy watching entertaining television programs. These rules apply to most broadcast television and cable programs, as well as some other types of programming, such as videos.
The main purpose of the latest set of FCC closed captioning rules is to make sure closed captioning companies are doing the best they can to provide a quality service to those who rely on closed captioning. In the past, there were multiple issues with closed captioning. These issues could make watching some programs very frustrating for people who are Deaf or have other hearing issues.
One of the main issues these new FCC closed captioning rules deal with is quality. The new rules make it clear that quality must be considered when closed captioning is provided on a program. The captioned dialogue must match what is being spoken on the program. Background noises and other sounds should also be included whenever possible. The captions should also match what is being spoken on the program. In the past, the video did not always coincide with the words being shown in the captioning. This could make it difficult to determine which person on the screen was speaking.
Another common issue that the rules also address is captioning that ends before the program does. Many times broadcast captioning would stop in the middle of a program, or at any point, and never display the missing information. This could be extremely frustrating for anyone who was involved in watching a program, only to be left hanging when the captioning suddenly shuts off.
It is also important for captioning to be positioned properly on the screen so it does not limit or block any of the important pictures or subtitles being displayed. In addition, logos and other information cannot block the captioning on the screen.
While there is leeway for local programming and some live events, for the most part these new rules will affect most programs a person can view on his or her television. Once the new closed captioning laws are put in place by broadcasters and programmers, it should enhance television viewing for hard-of-hearing people.