Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Closed-Captioning History

The Caption Center became the first captioning service in the US in 1972. The Center provided open captioning to rebroadcasts of The French Chef with Julia Child at public station WGBH-TV in Boston. Captioning of ABC News rebroadcasts soon began. Within a couple of years, the Caption Center and its partners developed a closed captioning system which provided a way to display captions only for viewers with a certain device. The FCC formed the National Captioning Institute in 1979. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to promoting and providing access to closed captioning. ABC, NBC and PBS broadcast the first closed-captioned programs on March 16, 1980. Two years later, real-time captioning gave the deaf and hard of hearing an opportunity to understand live press conferences, local news, and sporting events. Congress passed a law in 1990 requiring all television sets with 13 inch screens or larger to contain captioning decoders. In 2006, the FCC mandated that all broadcast and cable television programs must include captioning except for ads running less than 5 minutes and programs broadcast between 2 and 6 am.

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