QuickPlay Media has added closed-captioning support for its live and on-demand multiscreen video solutions, with AT&T U-verse as a first customer.
Earlier this year, the FCC mandated that all episodic content delivered over IP networks must have closed captioning, under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. Using its cloud-based OpenVideo platform, QuickPlay ingests, extracts and encodes closed-captioning data from a variety of video formats - enabling mobile TV service providers to integrate closed captioning into their premium mobile video services.
"Closed captions not only greatly enhance the mobile video viewing experience for people with hearing impairments, but they drive up overall viewership numbers," said Kavi Maharajh, QuickPlay's vice president of product and research development. "QuickPlay is dedicated to ensuring not only that our customers meet regulatory requirements, but that we help them do it in a cost-effective way that enables them to continue to offer a high quality of service to their subscribers."
Implementing closed captioning into a multiscreen service is a challenge for mobile TV service providers thanks to a range of conflicting, multiple standards for closed-captioning formats. In many cases, content providers either do not provide captioning data or supply variations that are unsupported on the most popular mobile TV devices. This creates increasing complexity in the ingestion, management and delivery of content with high quality closed captioning.
QuickPlay's OpenVideo platform simplifies the ingestion process by taking the closed-captioning data, whether embedded or in a sidecar, and normalising it in combination with player support to be compatible for viewing across iOS, Android and Windows devices. OpenVideo then runs the content through standard encoding and media transformation processes to add DRM, device profiles and packaging information.
If content providers have failed to provide closed-captioning data, the content is flagged as an exception and the service provider is notified of the non-compliance. QuickPlay has also introduced a user-friendly toggle on the client application enabling consumers to easily turn closed captioning on or off while viewing streams or downloads.
AT&T U-verse is a first mobile TV service provider in the QuickPlay ecosystem using closed captioning. In this case, QuickPlay's managed service also includes working with content providers, on behalf of AT&T, who serve video and closed-captioning files in many different formats. The files are either embedded in the video or as a separate file that includes metadata to match the captioning with the video content. QuickPlay's automated ingestion system supports embedded or separate closed-captioning metadata, which is then packaged into a single format for playout. This ensures a high quality playback experience in an easy-to-use service for AT&T U-verse customers to access on the iPhone or iPad, or with an Android device.