It looks like technology for the deaf and digital don’t get along. I remember back in the ’90s when my company’s phone lines went digital. Well, the TTY didn’t work with digital and the company had to install an analog line for me.
Last weekend, my husband went shopping for a new HDTV. He knew to check out the caption features and ensure it worked well. Unfortunately, what you see at the store isn’t necessarily what you get at home because it depends on your TV service provider.
So far, I’ve watched regular TV, DVD videos (using both captions and subtitles), TV shows recorded on DVR in standard format (instead of HD format — it was before we got the TV and besides, HD takes up more space). The captions are inconsistent in terms of font, size, formatting.
The TV comes with formatting options for captions, but based on its set up — it isn’t an active feature. So far, the best captions are English subtitles on a DVD. They’re larger and bolder. Though the font color is white (not the best for subtitling), it appears clearer than regular captions.
The best way to subtitle and caption is using a black background with white text — just like captions. It’s funny… when someone types in ALL CAPS, it bugs us because it comes across as shouting. Captions — most of the time — appear in all caps, but it never feels like shouting.
Anyway, I tried researching the Internet about captions and HDTV before we shopped for a TV. No information, whatsoever. However, once we bought a TV — I found info on captions in the TV’s online FAQ. Who has time to look up the user guide or FAQ for TV models? Best thing to is try to narrow the list of possibilities and check their user guide.
You’d think deaf technology would perform better with modern technology — but perhaps, the deaf technology industry isn’t keeping up with technology.