Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Captions on iView for iPad

For some time we've had captions available on TV broadcasts, via digital TV. Then ABC released its iView service for programming over the web. It took some time but captions were eventually added to those broadcasts as well.

Then Apple released the iPad, a tablet device that one can use to browse the web, check email, play games, just about anything you can do on a standard computer, with some limitations.

The ABC released the ABC app, which opened the doors for iPhone and iPad users. It was pretty good, but there were no captions.

Now, captions are available for the iPad version of iView and here's a few observations. Mostly they relate to the quality of the captioning rather than the iView app.

- The captions are a little small for my (JC) liking. It would be good if we could alter the size of the captions. This might not be possible if they are 'burnt-in' to the video file.
- Captions appear in a little grey panel, with white type. I think a darker background might be better.
- Like the captions on TV there is often a synchronization problem - the words a spoken but it might take a little while for the words to appear.
- There are often missed passages. This will occur if the captioned can't keep up with what's being said.

All in all I think the iView app is fantastic. I do hope that the ABC will include it in further developments to accommodate the hearing-impaired community. The developers are to be applauded and encouraged.
Media outlets generally need to improve the quality (and frequency, say to 100%) of the captions. The ABC is showing the way to Internet broadcasting.

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