The Chromecast platform has been updated today to support closed captions across the board, coinciding with an update to the Google Cast SDK that lets developers include closed captioning in their apps and cast-able media. With the updates today, those who properly provision their media to include closed captioning can offer the option to users of turning on the text during media playback — so long as the Chromecast and app are both updated to support it.

This is mostly something that will just be handled by the developers that offer up media over Chromecast, but will end users can be on the lookout for closed captioning support now that developers have the option to include it.

Source: Google; +Leon Nicholls

There are 14 comments

rpras says:

What is the build number?

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Camerooni says:

Is there no law requiring digital media sold/streamed digitally to have x% including closed caption support ala broadcasting?

I must admit the lack of subtitles that I've discovered have annoyed me (and I only want to watch with the volume down, unlike some I have a choice to use subtitles), and it is my experience that 'unofficial sources' of media tend to be better supported with subtitle/caption files contributed by the users.. These companies are leaving money on the table.

fuzzylumpkin says:

If you think finding stuff with subtitles is hard, try looking for stuff with audio description.

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mikiem says:

A good many Blu-Ray discs have it, so it's again a matter of getting them to include it in the stream.

Devlyn16 says:

IIRC, in the USA, if the content was created for broadcast TV [ after a certain date] then it must contain captions when streamed on line. this clearly exempts contenet created for Cable, Intenet, or theactrical release.

mikiem says:

Just short of 100% of everything in the US currently on cable, DVD, & Blu-Ray includes at least subs -- the difference in this case is the more descriptive nature of captions [the line got blurred with HDMI which cannot pass captioning to a HDTV]. When captions/subs exist, &/or the descriptive audio fuzzylumpkin mentioned, it's just a matter of the content owners/providers not wanting to bother -- the hard work's already been done to create them in the 1st place.

Broadcasters etc. are pushing back against the FCC with [IMHO false] claims in the public arena, threatening to pull shows currently on-line etc. In the legal arena they're making arguments on what is & isn't included. In practical terms they're applying to the FCC for exemptions. In the biz arena I would expect them to use it in negotiations to increase rates to providers like the local cable outfits -- you have to log in with your cable info to access a lot of streaming [re]broadcasts, so clearly it's something they pay for.

At the end of the day the people the FCC is meaning to help probably will for the most part remain oblivious to this, immune to threats of pulling existing content because on-line video has for the most part always been useless to us. I've been on-line for 22 years or there abouts -- I can't recall ever watching on-line or streamed video, so it's not something I would pay attention to or miss. If captioning became available for streaming I really don't know if I'd use it or not -- it's not something I've ever considered let alone tried.

jimbo says:

Closed Captioning is helpful when watching movies with quite or poor "voice" sound quality.

mikiem says:

Movie audio tracks often have or use a high dynamic range, plus many have an audio mix straight from the theaters, with really heavy rear channels. It's generally up to the players to compensate -- set top players [e.g. a Blu-Ray player] often do this by default, but in software when available it can be buried in the settings. SO when captions/subs aren't available, check your player's settings &/or check out different players.

Wiz64 says:

So when does the android mirroring update come out again?

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maccboy2010 says:

I'm waiting for the same :-)

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jpr says:

It's out today. Version 1.7 of chromecast app or built in cast quick setting on nexus.

Lee Payton says:

I find that this is great news. Closed captioning suits me the most because I'm Deaf and I rely on captions while watching videos.

Big kudos to Google for thinking of those who are in need of captioning.

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mikiem says:

If you're hearing impaired, you've pretty much learned to skip on-line video entirely. The earliest winmedia & Real Video formats let you easily include captions/subs, it's possible with Flash video [but a bit of a PITA], but unless forced, hardly anyone's bothered. Netflix had to lose a court battle before they started adding captions. Google stands out as historically caption friendly because one or more of their top brass was hearing impaired.

Recently the FCC has said that they want on-line re-broadcasts of captioned TV programming to also include captions. The hardest, most costly part is creating the captions in the 1st place -- once you have those it's just a matter of providing a text file or embedding the captions in the video file, so it's really not a big deal time wise or technically. Broadcasts that are [semi] live in the US use a service where someone types into device similar to what court reporters use, & that's recorded along with the broadcast for re-airing at later dates/times. It takes only a few minutes to get a text file with timings from that recorded video. Movies that are broadcast usually use the text from the subtitles that are created for the DVD/Blu-Ray discs for their on-air captioning, so they've got the text already.

That said, there's already been a lot of pushback towards the FCC, with broadcasters claiming it'll add insurmountable costs & delays that will force them to not offer your favorite programming via streaming. The only real hurtle IMHO is their current DRM heavy streams & players. Right now many [most or all?] players that come with Android devices can display captions/subs stored as .srt text files.

So if you're a fan of Google, they've gotten out in front to make it easier & encourage content owners to add captioning. If you're not a fan they're just being practical, because if the FCC has it's way captioned on-line content will happen.

deltatux says:

Can't wait for Plex to add support for that in their Android app so I can watch movies with subtitles. Sometimes with the background, you can't hear what they're saying sometimes and it can get annoying...