Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
Today deaf activists and other accessibility advocates are promoting a campaign for captioning videos online. The Twitter hashtag #captionthis is filled with messages directed at media companies. For more information on why captions are beneficial, see this accessibility blog. For ways to get involved, see Deaf Politics.
Without captions, it’s nearly impossible for me to follow most streaming video. It’s not that I can’t hear at all; I can have conversations in person and I don’t sign. I can hear music but I usually can’t understand the words. I’m largely dependent on lipreading, so unless the actor is facing the camera and speaking in a very clear voice (with a minimal background soundtrack), it’s very difficult. Turn your speakers off and try watching something you’re not familiar with. It will make no sense.
Netflix is improving but the vast majority is still inaccessible. Hulu is the same. iTunes is so-so. Amazon is abominable. I want to give these companies money! I don’t want to torrent media and add subtitle files on my own (illegal, risky, also very buggy). My money is as good as anyone’s. For the most part, media has already been transcribed. TV shows that are shown on TV are required to be captioned - so why can’t they use the same captions online? Most DVDs have subtitles in English - so why don’t streaming movies have them? It’s hard? So what, businesses resisted wheelchair ramps too, but few people argue against their necessity.
Even if you’re hearing you should support captions. 3-4% of your friends and neighbors are hearing-impaired. If you live long enough, you probably will be too.