Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile Devices

Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile Devices

Millions of Americans of all ages use cell phones, PDAs or dedicated
portable media players to access content related to almost every aspect of
daily life. Video content on portable devices ranges from streamed
television programs and “Webisodes” to elementary school science
experiments, from university lectures to health and behavior management
information for heart attack survivors. Companies increasingly use video
podcasts as cost-effective methods for delivering product and training
materials to their employees or customers. Emergency management agencies are
developing alert and information systems that send content sent directly to
portable devices.

However, the 22 million Americans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing cannot
benefit from this content because mobile-video technologies do not address
the technical requirements for packaging and delivering captions. Even
video-enabled mobile devices that have the technical capability of
downloading captioned content from the Web do not provide user interfaces to
allow caption display.

NCAM is researching these barriers and develop captioning solutions that
will serve as models for the mobile media and technology industries and for
public-policy developers. The project team has identified the problems that
currently exist in the creation and delivery of captions to mobile devices,
and is testing required accessibility changes in production tools, formats,
delivery methods and display technologies. Prototypes model technical
solutions for compression, packaging, identification, retrieval, downloading
and processing of captioned video to portable devices. Prototypes also model
caption display options and explore customization capabilities; consumers
who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are now evaluating the usability of project

Project activities include:

* creation of demonstration models that show multiple methods of creating,
distributing, downloading and displaying captioned content on handheld
* publication of usability research on accessible interface and
caption-display options; distributing information for content creators,
service providers, and third-party tool developers to create and transcode
* detailing the requirements necessary for non-proprietary as well as
proprietary text and video formats to render captions.

Please note: On October 15, 2009, the Advanced Television Systems Committee
(ATSC) approved the A/153 ATSC Mobile DTV Standard, which defines the
technical specifications necessary for broadcasters to provide services to
mobile and handheld devices using their DTV transmissions. ATSC Mobile DTV
supports a variety of services including free (advertiser-supported)
television, interactive services delivered in real-time, subscription-based
TV and content download for playback at a later time. A/153 includes support
for the transmission of CEA-708 closed-caption data. Download and read the
ATSC Mobile DTV standard for complete details; see Part 7 for information
regarding closed captions.


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