The History of Closed Captioning


Closed captioning has come a long way since it was created in the late 1970s. Initially used to help those with hearing impairments, closed captioning has now become an integral part of television for everyone. This blog post will explore the history of closed captioning and how it has evolved over the years. Stay tuned!

What Is Closed Captioning?

Before reading about the history of closed captioning, it’s important to understand it. Closed captioning is the process of displaying text on a television, computer, or another video screen to provide an auditory description of the audio content. This text can include dialogue, sound effects, and other non-verbal information. Closed captioning is sometimes called “captioning” or “subtitles.”

Benefits of Closed Captioning:

Closed captioning not only provides a valuable service to those with hearing impairments, but it also offers many benefits for all viewers.

Some of the benefits of closed captioning include:

Improved comprehension: 

Closed captioning can be beneficial for those who are trying to follow along with fast-paced dialogue or unfamiliar accents. Studies have shown that closed captioning can improve comprehension for all viewers, not just those with hearing impairments.

Increased engagement: 

Adding captions to your video content can actually increase viewer engagement. In one study, it was found that adding captions increased viewing time by 12%. Watch subtitling movies, and understand the closed captioning services more in-depth.

The History of Closed Captioning: First Captioned Program Aired on CBC

Closed captioning was first developed in the late 1970s by Walter Dufresne, an engineer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). At the time, there were no laws or regulations requiring broadcasters to provide captioning for their programs. However, Dufresne believed that captioning could be beneficial for those with hearing impairments. He created the first closed captioning system with funding from the Canadian government and the National Science Foundation.

In the United States, closed captioning was not initially mandated by the government. However, that changed in 1980 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules requiring all newly manufactured televisions to be capable of displaying closed captions.

National Captioning Institute and Closed Captioning; History

Closed captioning continued to grow in popularity throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1988, the FCC passed a law requiring all new television sets equipped with closed captioning capabilities. This made it possible for people with hearing impairments to watch television without needing a special decoder box.

Since then, closed captioning has become an integral part of television. It is now used by people of all ages and abilities to follow along with their favorite shows. Closed captioning has also been found to be beneficial for people who are learning English as a second language.

The history of closed captioning is one of great progress. What started as a way to help those with hearing impairments has now become an essential tool for all television viewers. It is clear that closed captioning is here to stay.



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