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Free SMPTE standard helps those with disabilities

May 10, 2011
Free SMPTE standard helps those with disabilities

WHITE PLAINS, NY — The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers ( is making its standard for closed-captioning of online video content — known as SMPTE Timed Text and by the designation SMPTE 2052 — available free of charge. The announcement comes as the Federal Communications Commission prepares to adopt rules to ensure individuals with disabilities can fully use and enjoy Internet-delivered video content. The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) requires the captioning of previously shown TV programs when they are made available on the Internet. 

The closed-captioning standard (SMPTE 2052) provides a common set of instructions for authoring and distributing captions or subtitles for broadband video content. This design means that TV content providers need only use one method for providing captions rather than custom approaches for different Web browsers or media players, including new digital content and previously captioned analog programs. The standard also leaves plenty of room for innovation. It is media-device and media-player agnostic, leaving manufacturers free to develop a wide range of products without worrying about interoperability issues.