Get Adobe Flash player
Closed captioning comes to IP & Mobile TV by Kirk Marple A s mobile or IP-based TV becomes increasingly popular with viewers, so will the demand for closed captioning for the deaf or hard of hearing. Lawmakers are already flexing their muscles regarding this issue, with the U.S. federal government enacting regulations making it mandatory for broadcasters to supply closed captioning for IP and mobile programming. It will not be long before European legislators devise similar regulations. Broadcasters who aren’t prepared when these regulations become law may find themselves facing fines and other penalties. To avoid this, it helps to understand the basics of implementing closed captioning for mobile and IP-based television. When it comes to new content, preparing content to adhere to upcoming regulations is relatively simple. Broadcasters can marry the closed captioning data to the broadcast during the preparation workflow. The bigger challenge is coupling older or archived content with closed captioning data. Most broadcasters use transcoding software to prepare files for distribution via mobile or IP-based TV. The management of closed captioning data can be added to the file preparation process, but this can introduce additional steps - never a welcome prospect when trying to prepare content quickly for distribution. For one, some transcoding software requires users to reingest files in order to add in closed captioning data, often costing critical time. In addition, broadcasters often receive content from different post-production companies, each of which may generate its closed captioning data in a different file format. This requires broadcasters to assess their closed captioning management software to ensure that it supports the most closed captioning formats possible. When new content is ingested into the workflow, the addition of closed captioning is relatively simple, though it can increase turnaround time. The real obstacle comes when dealing with archived content. At many broadcast outlets, a file that is on an archive server may have already been prepared for mobile or IP distribution. In order to include closed captioning data in the file, it will have to be reingested into transcoding software and completely re-transcoded. This can be time-consuming, using up the precious processing time required for new content. Anticipating these new and emerging standards, RadiantGrid has developed a Closed Captioning Management module for its New Media Automation Platform™. This module provides the capability to extract closed captioning from media sources, and to insert it back into the transcoded or transwrapped output file. The Closed Captioning Management module handles a variety of closed captioning data formats, including SMPTE 436M within VANC data in an MXF container, SMPTE 360M within VANC data in a GXF container, ATSC EIA-608 and EIA-708 within user data in an MPEG-2 program stream, ATSC EIA-608 and EIA- 708 within VANC data in an MPEG-2 transport stream, bitmapped VBI data in the visible video stream, SMPTE 2016 (AFD, Bar Data), CGMS-A, XDS, or reading or writing SAMI and SCC textual formats. A feature unique to the RadiantGrid Closed Captioning Management Module is its ability to be used with transwrapping. This allows archived content’s audio and video to be passed through unprocessed, with the ability to insert the additional captioning data required. As a result, it takes less time to add in captioning than if the file was reingested. In addition, utilizing RadiantGrid’s Asset Management feature, once the captioning data has been ingested into the workflow, it can be associated with any file format version of that file saved on the server archive, making it easy for files to comply with any new and emerging regulations. Mobile and IP-based broadcasting have come into their own, with viewers increasingly expecting the same type of viewing experience as they would have with a traditional terrestrial broadcast. This includes closed captioning services. RadiantGrid’s Closed Captioning Management module, integrated with its New Media Automation Platform, helps to bring transcoding and closed captioning management under one user interface, eliminating the need for reingesting content. It also allows for closed captioning data to be ingested once and associated with all versions of the same file, further reducing the time to make sure new and archived content complies with any emerging standard. Kirk Marple is president and chief software architect of RadiantGrid Technologies developer of leading- edge transcoding, transformation and new media automation service platforms. 60 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE