No standards for 3-D TV captions yet

Thursday, 2 December 2010 15:09pm

As 3-D television becomes increasingly common around the world, there is a need for the development of an appropriate caption standard for the format. Caption software providers in the US are doing research in the area, but have been hampered by the lack of a government-endorsed standard which will apply across the industry.

The placement of 2-D captions is a relatively straightforward matter – they will generally be positioned at the bottom of the screen to avoid covering important visual elements, but moved if necessary. In 3-D, the challenge is to place the captions appropriately into the 3-D space so as to not destroy the illusion of three dimensions.

“Captions are still in 2-D, even for 3-D content, but there is no way yet to make use of 3-D depth in the captions,” said Jason Livingston of Computer Prompting and Captioning. He noted to the BroadcastEngineering website that until the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) establish a technical standard for transmitting 3-D captions, it makes no sense for TV manufacturers to try to incorporate them into their products. “So we’re all waiting and doing a few tests until then.”

Livingstone also said that, while his company had received a few inquiries from viewers regarding 3-D captions, so far there has been little interest from content creators.

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