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FCC Issues Order and Seeks Comment on Closed Captioning Issues

June 14, 2013
Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

As required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), the FCC adopted closed captioning rules in January 2012 for video programming delivered via Internet protocol (IP) and for equipment that consumers use to view video programming.

Three petitions were filed asking the FCC to reconsider some of the new closed captioning requirements.

On June 14, 2013, the FCC released an Order to address these petitions. The FCC also released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeking comments on several related closed captioning issues.

In summary, the FCC took the following actions:

  • granted waivers from the closed captioning requirements for certain devices that are primarily designed to capture and display still and/or moving images, such as digital picture frames, digital still cameras, digital video cameras, baby monitors, security cameras, digital video camera microscopes, digital playback binoculars, and digital video probes;
  • determined that the January 1, 2014 deadline for equipment to comply with the closed captioning requirements applies to the date of manufacture, and not to the date of importation, shipment, or sale;
  • asked for more information about closed captioning capabilities on Blu-ray and DVD players and decided that Blu-ray and DVD players are not required to comply with the closed captioning requirements until the FCC considers the matter further;
  • affirmed that video programming providers and distributors, and digital source devices such as a set-top box, may decode and display closed captions or may pass through closed captioning data for decoding and display by consumer equipment, such as a television;
  • deferred resolution of whether to reconsider its decision to exclude video clips from the IP closed captioning requirements, and directed the FCC Media Bureau to ask for updated information about the closed captioning of video clips within six months; and
  • asked for more information about the role that equipment plays in ensuring closed captions are “synchronized” or displayed in a timely manner with the video.

Comment Date: (60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)
Reply Comment Date: (90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)

Links to the Order and FNPRM:

Links to Statement by Commissioner Pai:

For additional information on this proceeding, contact Diana Sokolow,, or Maria Mullarkey,, of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120.

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