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Captioning Best Practices: Video Programming Distributors

Video programming distributors

Video programming distributors deliver the material produced by the content creators to the viewers. Every step in the transmission process can lead to corruption of the caption signal. Every entity that handles the captioned video content needs to ensure that the captions are preserved for the end viewer.


Cable and satellite companies

Cable and satellite companies should:

  1. Treat captions as a necessary service for individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing and not just another feature in the cable and satellite package.
  2. Be vigilant regarding captions and ensure that captions are not stripped from any programming due to cable-system equipment or distribution methods.
  3. Monitor captions at the head end before the signal goes out to consumers.
  4. Train customer support staff how to troubleshoot caption problems and how to turn on caption decoders.
  5. Ensure that consumers with hearing loss can reach and will receive effective solutions from customer support.
  6. Help all customers, residential and commercial, turn on caption decoders.
  7. Work with captioners, captioning companies, and programming providers to minimize caption delays for all consumers of captioning services.
  8. Ensure technical problems are identified, addressed, and resolved as soon as possible.


Cable contracting authorities

In the distribution path from the captioner to the end viewer, many hands come in contact with the video signal. The cable contracting authorities and other public oversight officials act as the consumer watchdogs in this distribution process. If a cable customer and television viewer does not get the service needed for resolving captioning issues from the cable company, the local cable authority needs to be ready to act on behalf of the member of the public. An understanding of the entire captioning process is needed in order to help the cable customer resolve his or her service problems.

Cable contracting authorities should:

  1. Require cable companies to comply with FCC laws regarding captioning.
  2. Let local consumers know about consumer protection available through the cable contract.
  3. Learn about captioning laws and requirements in order to be able to assist local consumers with any caption problems.
  4. Reach out to local support groups for people with hearing loss to let them know about consumer protection available through the cable contracting authority.
  5. Have an employee dedicated to responding to complaints regarding captioning.
  6. Ensure that the contact information for consumers to file captioning complaints is easy to locate and the complaint process is easy to go through.

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