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Rules and Regulations

The popularity of and demand for closed captioning probably stems from a government requirement that practically all television sets offered for sale in the United States after July 1, 1993 have built-in closed caption decoders (see 47 USC 330) and that programming contain an increasingly higher percentage of captioning (see 47 CFR 79.1).


Check out our links to line 21 inserter and digital caption inserter manufacturers.  When new video formats are introduced there is a certain understandable fuzziness about the standards. 

So be aware that inserter quality varies both with the skill of the designer (our favorites are Dallas Hickerson, Steve Sackett, and Drake Smith) and with the maturity of the video format at the time the design was made.

If you want the real nitty-gritty on the analog protocol and the traditional closed caption character set endorsed by the United States Government, take a look at 47 CFR 15.119 published in 2001 for analog signal information (Text version, PDF version has tables) or 47 CFR 15.122 for digital signal information (Text version, PDF version has tables).

The Art of Captioning

More about closed captioning guidelines in a PDF file from The Captioned Media Program of the National Association of the Deaf.  We think these are the most objective and non-commercial guidelines.

Other sources of information about deaf issues, captioning history, and opinion are available from countless commercial, educational, and advocacy enterprises such as: the National Captioning Institute, WGBH affiliated organizations, Gary Robson, Rochester Institute of Technology and Gallaudet University.


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