Re: GNOME desktop media accessibility settings [was Re: Meeting Update]

On Tue, 2009-02-17 at 11:30 -0800, Peter Korn wrote:
> Bryen, all,
> Interesting note below about making GNOME accessibility to deaf users.  
> Last Friday I was talking with some Sun folks about closed captioning 
> and other accessibility issues around video media, and one of them asked 
> an interesting question: should a user's caption setting in their video 
> player persist across uses of the player?
> This led to a larger question: just like theming and whether AT 
> libraries are loaded, should there be a desktop accessibility preference 
> setting around a desire for closed caption display - and perhaps another 
> round video description rendering - which all media players might then 
> respect and utilize? 
> What do folks on this list think?
> Regards,
> Peter Korn
> Accessibility Architect & Principal Engineer,
> Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Ahh, excellent question, as captioning is an issue that is near and dear
to me (as a former CC advocate) and to most of the Deaf Community.

Discussion of online captioning is a hot issue right now across all
platforms and there seems to be no simple solution.  The biggest
challenge of all is actually creating the captions (or subtitles.) is a good service that allows the community at large to
caption content on YouTube.  Such captions are visible even here on

I'm less convinced than when I first started that this is a technical
issue more than it is a social issue.  Getting people to caption their
content.  This is especially an issue on sites like where their
over-the-air programs are captioned and then the CC is removed when
placed on the web.

Now let's break down a little bit here.  There's a difference between CC
and Subtitling.  This is where we have a problem.  When we play DVDs
that have CC but not equivalent subtitling, I have not seen any Linux
apps that support reading CC which is Line 21 of the video signal on
televisions.  Having discussed this with Xine and Gstreamer folks,
they're clueless about how to resolve this issue.  There is an education
issue as well as understanding the differences of how captioning is
approached/regulated in different countries.  My understanding is that
Europe has a very different process than ours in the United States.

As more and more broadcast content becomes available online, and more
people are downloading television programs, this can become an even
bigger problem.  I have not actually downloaded television programs so I
don't know how exactly it works and appears on my computer.  I should
try it at some point.

With answer to your specific question about leaving the option on.  Yes,
of course.  Whether CC or Subtitled, it should remain on at all times as
part of user preferences.  Just like my television always has CC on.  I
get so pissed when I go to hotels where they have programmed the
television to automatically disable CC when the tv is turned off.
Every time I return to my room and turn on the tv, I have to fumble with
the menu options to get it back on.  Shouldn't happen that same way on
my personal computer.

So in summary, the bigger question is getting more content to be
captioned online/downloaded.  This is an advocacy issue more than a
technical issue from what I'm seeing lately.  However, we could stand to
use a little cleaning up here and there on our technical side.

Please do include me in any CC discussions you have out there, as I'd
love to insert my two cents in and get back into the whole CC advocacy
Bryen Yunashko
openSUSE Board Member
GNOME-A11y Team Member

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