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Subject: Re: U.S. vs. U.K. Captioning
From: Nancy Hoffmann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Nancy Hoffmann <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 11 Sep 1997 08:03:06 -0500
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[You're reading a message to the Media Access mailing list]


>Is it possible that you are looking at line 21 and not
>"page 801" of the Teletext?

I can't look at Line 21 even if I want to. And I do want to. Because in
Aust. we get lots of US movies, series, etc. and videos-for-hire  - and not
all of them are *apparently* captioned. Actually about 99% of them are - in
Line 21.

I think the main problem is that NTSC and PAL are just not compatible. If I
bought a video in USA and brought it home, I couldn't play it on my VCR -
wouldn't even get the picture or at most some very flickery bits.

It's been explained to me that there's a difference in timing. It's
relatively easy to re-time a US movie or video to PAL format, that's what
all the major Aust. video distributors do, but the captions don't follow
automatically, they need tidying up for TV. A while back the Aust. Caption
Centre started to re-time the Line 21 captions on various US TV series and
some movies (the TV Networks pay) but due to various copyright restrictions
the captions cannot otherwise be touched - so it is immediately apparent
that they are converted Line 21 captions - always in black and white and
with people shouting non-stop ;-)

>If the Teletext were easily recorded I would think that
>you could use your Teletext decoder for pre-recorded
>video and would not need the "VideoCaption" decoder
>you spoke of below:

Confusion here. In Australia we don't need a decoder for pre-recorded
Supertext captioned videos, which are always open captioned. I believe
that's one of the other basic differences between Line 21 and Supertext.
And our decoders can't read Line 21 at all. The UK's  "VideoCaption"
decoder only converts Line 21 into a form compatible with Teletext; it
can't be used as a decoder for TV programs broadcast with Supertext
captions. So it can only be used for viewing captions on Line-21
close-captioned videos which originated in USA and were re-timed by the
video distributors in UK and Australia. Apparently the 'conversion' is not
perfect due to the re-timing, captions are not always within the correct
frame and sometimes vanish entirely. But it's much better than nothing!

>Another possibility is that this is a chicken and egg
>dilemma.  No video customer wants to buy a decoder
>if few videos are CC'd.  No video marketer wants to
>spend the money to CC the videos if few customers
>have decoders.  And so on...

That's it exactly. So the task at present is to prove there's a viable
market - convince the video marketers.

Nancy Hoffmann
Brisbane, Australia.


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