On Friday January 8, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences held the 67th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Awards in Las Vegas. These awards “honor development and innovation in broadcast technology and recognize… developments and/or standardization involved in engineering technologies which either represent so extensive an improvement on existing methods or are so innovative in nature that they materially have affected the transmission, recording, or reception of television.” Two of the honorees, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), were recognized for their pioneering development of industry standards enabling closed captions on Internet video.
From left to right: Ann Marie Rohaly, Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards, Microsoft; Peter Symes, SMPTE Director of Standards and Engineering; Michael Dolan, Television Broadcast Technology Inc.; and Barbara Lange, SMPTE Executive Director. Source: Cashman Photo, Las Vegas NV & The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
Microsoft applauds both organizations on this significant accomplishment. The W3C Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) standard and the SMPTE Timed Text (SMPTE-TT) standard enable content that is closed-captioned when on television to be closed-captioned when offered via the Internet. The standards are freely available to the public, which removes any barrier to access to this vital information, which enables the hearing-impaired to enjoy video via the Internet.
In 2012, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted SMPTE-TT as the “safe harbor” standard for Internet video captions. Because of the pioneering efforts of SMPTE and W3C, millions of deaf and hard of hearing individuals now enjoy watching their favorite television programs on the internet – something that was not possible only a few years ago.
Microsoft is proud to have contributed to the development of these standards. Accessibility is at the core of our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, and we fully believe in the power of technology to help people lead richer lives, whether it is at work, at home or on the go. In addition to our contributions to the standards, they are supported in our Microsoft Movies & TV service and we were the first company to implement TTML in an Internet browser.
Two Microsoft employees were actively involved in this standards work. Sean Hayes, Senior Program Manager, served for several years as Chair of the W3C committee that developed the TTML standard and was a core technical contributor to the development of both the TTML and SMPTE-TT standards. Ann Marie Rohaly, Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards, chaired the SMPTE committee that created the SMPTE-TT standard and was a member of the FCC’s Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee.