Closed Captioning or Subtitles on iTunes Movies and TV Shows... When?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ravenvii, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    I love the idea of the Apple TV. I love the concept of having all your TV shows and movies consolidated in one place - one media server. The iTunes Store has Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and even Hercules and Xena. This, in my opinion, is the next step in media. I would replace my DVD collection with iTunes media, and stream them all to Apple TVs around the house. Want to show off a movie or show an episode in a TV show? Start up the TV and hit the remote for Apple TV, and you have a ready list of all your media right in front of you. This is Apple's vision, and I love it.

    But I have not bought one piece of media off the iTunes store yet. And I will not buy the Apple TV. Why?

    Apple have not yet implemented closed captioning or subtitles in any of their visual media. Until they do, none of my money will go into their iPod+iTunes cashcow.

    I am wondering if anyone hears anything or has any idea of when Apple, if they do, will start including closed captioning/subtitles in their media?
  2. bartlettdmoore macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2008
    I concur -- captions or subtitles for All iTunes Video

    Apple, are you listening? Can you hear us? Because we can't hear you! Here, let me spell it out for you:

    ( man clearing throat )

    "Please require your content providers to caption their content"

    Captioning made possible by Bartlett D. Moore IV
  3. Jermanowsky macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2007
    :cool: Nice way of making your point. Agree with you and Ravenvii.

    I'm having trouble understanding English; I live in a non-English speaking country and I'm just not used to the variety of accents, slangs and sayings used in English.

    Nevertheless, since I'm an avid consumer of TV Shows and have an TV, I'm purchasing content from iTunes to watch with my dad. You may imagine how many times I have to pause and rewind to try and decipher what is being discussed when the actors decides it's better to babble than to talk.

    User selectable captions/subs would make something like the TV an amazing gadget, surely replacing every other piece of hardware currently attached to my HDTV set. Moreover, if the user could add his own subs via iTunes (just like done with album art for songs, adding support for SRT or the like), there would be no pressure on content providers past the minimum close captioned any movie/episode should have by default.

    Let's pray the surveys Apple is supposedly making to customers serve to shed some light into what we users really want.
  4. realityking macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2008
    You do realize there's content with closed captioning, e.g. National Treasure 2. Admittedly it's only a few, but the devices and the store a clearly capable of providing CCs.
  5. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Yes, the iPhone, iTunes, iPod and Apple TV all currently have closed captioning capabilities.

    But still, NONE of the TV shows have any captioning of any sort. The content providers' excuses are running out - I present to you one example: Dollhouse. On iTunes, it has, of course, no captions. But on, it does. What's even worse is, iTunes uses the standard closed captioning you see on TV, while uses a different standard for their Flash video player. It requires MORE work to put captions on hulu than iTunes. And yet, has captions and iTunes doesn't? ********.

    And for the movies, the number of movies that have captioning is beyond pathetic. There's only ~30 movies with captioning on the iTunes store! And worse, there used to be ~95 movies, so they're regressing on that one, not progressing.

    And excuses are lacking - they already have captions on the DVDs of most of the movies, and iTunes uses the same standard. How hard could it be to just include captions with the movies?
  6. trixiesirisheye macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2007
    Yeah, we've seen some items in the iTunes store with CC. I'm hard-of-hearing - I even qualify for a TTY phone - but I can still hear. That doesn't mean I can hear well. APPLE, I WANT TO GIVE YOU MY MONEY! But I won't, until I can buy shows and movies that are closed captioned (and hopefully not the kind that sits at the top of the screen, covering someone's face), and captioned well (not the kind of CC that appears on many commercials that reads like it's been typed by monkeys).

    Accessibility lesson #1: Disabled people have money too. Do you want it?

    I wonder if an ADA suit would force the issue?
  7. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    People are working to get HR 3101, the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, passed. I'm posting it here in hopes that it would spread the word on this essential law that will extend the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to internet media.

    The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is responsible for closed captioning on all television programming, and companies then voluntarily extended that to DVDs. We all hope that this will affect internet media in the same way.

    This will at least force Apple to rethink their pathetic position on closed captioning on the iTunes Store.
  8. justcaptioned macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010
    JustCaptioned captions iTunes TV shows and movies

    Hello all. I am a fellow hard of hearing and have developed a software that will help hard of hearing and deaf watch movies/TV shows on their iPod and iPhones or even on their computer using iTunes.

    Before I move forward and lay capital out to start captioning all new releases, I need a survey filled out but hard of hearing and deaf persons ASAP to see if it is financially stable.

    Please visit the website below to fill out the survey:

    If not, please email me at "" so I have your name and email addresses to keep you posted on the new software and when the captions will be available.
  9. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Well, trying to caption movies yourself is not very practical. You couldn't sell modified versions of the movie since that would be creating a derivative work and the **AA would be after you.

    How could your software work anyway?

    Captioning is prevalent on DVDs and broadcast/cable TV, but unfortunately they don't give the captioned versions to Apple.
  10. btorsten10 macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2010
    my solution

    Hi there,

    I've done a little tool that extends iTunes with the capability to display subtitles from common subtitle files available on the internet (e.g. .srt). It's in the beginning of development and therefore far from perfect. But it works for me, to watch TV-shows with subtitles. It runs on Mac OSX 10.6, but should also run on 10.5. Maybe anyone wants to give it a try. I'm looking forward to any feedback. Check it out at my page :

  11. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    Another deaf mac user here. Apple, give us subtitles on iTunes please.

    If you are American (I'm not), is there a possibility of using the ADA to force subtitling? As Apple and the content providers are providing a service to the public that is not accessible to deaf people.

    Possibly the issue here is with the content providers, as Apple has clearly provided the technical means to add subtitles, yet the content providers have not included subtitles, even where the they have added subtitles to the same content else where e.g. TV, Hulu etc.

    That further suggests it's a workflow issue, in that it might be too much hassle to somehow put the subtitle file through the iTunes process. That would mean that the responsibility is again partly with Apple to create a way of easily and automatically integrating pre-existing subtitle files in a way that suits the major (and minor) content providers.
  12. absinto macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2010
    Why no closed captions ?!?!

    I've got a great home theater system in my house but, sadly, I can never turn the volume up because of sleeping kids. I'm NOT hard-of-hearing, but I use close captions regularly. I'm so frustrated that so little of the content I download on Apple TV has this feature. I don't get it! :confused:
  13. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    It's very simple; the studios don't give Apple the captioned versions. Often the captions are paid for by the networks or advertisers, and unfortunately shows that are captioned on regular TV don't show up with captions on Apple TV or iTunes or even on web TV sites. there are also technical issues as well, but it's quite complicated. Don't hold your breath expecting any downloaded content to have captions.
  14. George Zip, Jan 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011

    George Zip macrumors member

    George Zip

    Jan 2, 2011
    We need mandated cc/subtitle laws on all media releases

    I hate to say it, but the only way we're going to get this is if it's mandated via government regulations, the way built-in CC decoders were mandated during the Reagan Administration; they would have to be installed in all TVs (I think it was 19" & up) sold in the USA. The Feds could mandate that all video media include subtitles. Of course, that would likely open the "English isn't the official language of the US" argument again.
  15. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I'm not deaf, or even hard of hearing, but keep captions on on my TVs as it gives me a fall back to "get" what's going on on TV with the kids making whatever noise in the background or if they are asleep and we want the volume low.

    It annoys me to no end that NetFlix supports captions on some programming, but NOT on the AppleTV2.

    I've written to both NetFlix and Apple about this. It's especially disappointing in that Apple has always been pretty good about supporting universal access.

  16. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    You may be right about this. I have been waiting for years for Netflix to implement subtitles to no avail. I never really needed them before and did not think much about it, but my fiancee is Korean and really needs the subtitles to understand the movie, otherwise it is not even worth watching. Isn't the ANY streaming service that provides this for movies? I have an :apple:TV2 but the conversion and subtitle merging process is so error prone and the tools so crude that I have all but given up on this approach for my own library and am about to settle for video_ts rips. I can't even find am mkv converter that works more than half of the time!
  17. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    Pay for a UK ip gateway, and access iPlayer and 4oD. iPlayer is BBC 1,2,3,4 and is about 80-90% subtitled (all the popular programs at least). 4oD is a much smaller % but on the increase.

    If you feel like doing the right thing (TM) send the BBC a cheque for the UK licence fee (£145/year) - they'll probably ignore it and not cash it, but at least you tried.
  18. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    There *is* a bill that has been signed into law by Obama back in October, called the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act. All we are currently waiting for is for the FCC to set regulations and enforce this law.

    Netflix is rapidly adding subtitles to their movies (over 700 currently) and subtitles is currently supported on the computer, PlayStation 3 and Wii.

    It's a real shame that the AppleTV doesn't support Netflix subtitles, and the iTunes store is dragging their feet so much on adding subtitles. But one day it will be enforced, and Apple will have to perform.
  19. rwlcpa macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    What really gets me about all this is that there is a Closed Caption option on the settings menu for the apple tv. So it seems like they are ready and able to do this, but for whatever reason they are not pushing the content out for it.
  20. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Another thing that's also interesting?

    The Dark Knight on the iTunes Store doesn't have closed captions.

    However, The Dark Knight the App Edition... does. Along with a ton of other languages.
  21. bgramer macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2005
    NOT closed captioned during movie

    Actually it doesn't.

    That feature is mislabeled. It's actually a language menu that changes the App's language, but *not* the display of spoken text within the movie itself. They need to rewrite the description for that.
  22. jettoblack macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2006
    Hi guys,
    I can tell you for sure that Apple devices have the best closed captioning support of all the families of media players.

    The problem isn't Apple or iTunes. It's the content providers that have closed captioned masters but aren't properly preserving the captions when they convert for online delivery.

    It isn't a technical hurdle either, as there is software available to easily convert broadcast closed captions into iTunes format. Hopefully the new laws will force the content providers to get their act in gear and fix it.
  23. Kieranic Guest

    Apr 23, 2010
    I'm pretty sure Apple TV has the ability to display closed captioning as confirmed by an earlier poster.

    However, it is NOT UP TO APPLE when it comes to this. It is up to the studio to include the subtitles. Apple have no decision in this process (Unless they, of course, force it in the ToS for the studios).
  24. niter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003
    Closed captioning is one of my favorite DVD features. It is probably the main hold up for me from switching completely over to streaming and other downloadable/digital formats. It is a shame to hear that AppleTV does not support Netflix CC since it was one of the primary reasons we got one.
  25. GerriLibrary macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2011

    It is so disappointing not to have captions readily available on all spoken and musical contents from ITunes and other IPad and IPod content that calls for captions for a deaf or hearing impaired person.

    I won't buy NETFLIX because of their lack of captioned movies, and the same is going to go for my IPad. And I can tell you I would buy a lot more stuff if the captions were there! I have a severe hearing loss and depend on captions to help me through movies, TV, and listening to music.

    Let's hope the new telecommunications law will address this issue and get things going.

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