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  History of the TTY, Captioning and other  Communications  related issues  for the  Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Deaf Blind

Please see  credits  for the information used here at the end of the  timeline. - - Ed Sharpe Archivist  for SMECC

Please note  that the  Hyperlinks here will open an additional page on the site 
that has  more detailed  information of the  historic  item mentioned in the timeline.



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Samuel F. B. Morse demonstrates the telegraph, the first electrically operated machine for distance communication.


Thomas Alva Edison patents the duplex telegraph, which allows two messages to be transmitted simultaneously over the same wire. Emile Baudot develops a five-level telegraphic coding system.


Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates his voice telephone at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.


Elisha Gray's Telautograph, an electric writing machine for use with the telephone, is demonstrated at the World's Fair in Chicago.


                   William E. Shaw demonstrates the "Talkless Telephone."


                    Bell Telephone Laboratories established.

Bell System creates the "Deaf Set" for hard of hearing persons.

                    Bell System demonstrates transmission of pictures over telephone lines.


                Motion pictures were made inaccessible to millions of deaf and hard of hearing people in 1927, the year sound was introduced to the silent screen. 


Congress passes the Communications Act, which includes a provision requiring the recently established Federal Communications Commission to ensure "universal services ... so far as possible to all the people of the United States."


Emerson Romero, a deaf man whose cousin was the famous movie actor Cesar Romero, develops the first captioning of a film by putting 
                    captions between picture frames. Romero's stage name is Tommy Albert, and he is one of five deaf actors appearing in silent films. 


British producer J. Arthur Rank etches open captions onto glass slides, which appear on a smaller screen in the lower left-hand corner of the main screen.
                   When the film Dawn Departure, which contains Rank's method of captioning, has its premier showing in London, it's reported that several hundred deaf
                   people line up to gain entrance to the theater. 

                   Shortly after Rank's experiment, an entirely new method of captioning films was devised in Belgium, which involved etching captions 
                   directly onto a finished print of the film. Titra Film Laboratories in New York was successful in securing a franchise for the Belgian process
                   for the whole United States. 

                   Edmund Boatner (superintendent of the American School for the Deaf, Connecticut) and Clarence O'Connor (superintendent of the 
                   Lexington School for the Deaf, New York) organize Captioned Films for the Deaf (CFD). CFD is a private business, dependent on 
                   donations and gifts for financial support. 


J. Pierre Rakow, a deaf man and supervising teacher of the Vocational Department of the American School for the Deaf, learns how to caption films and then 
                   persuades people in the film industry to allow captioning of their products. 

                   America the Beautiful is the first film to be open-captioned in America utilizing the Belgian technique. It is a 25-minute production that Warner Brothers 
                   made for $100,000 and presented to the government to sell war bonds. The Department of Treasury donates it to CFD; it is placed in circulation two years later.

                   CFD purchases its first films: The Noose Hangs High and Scrooge. These circulate to the New York School for the Deaf and the Lexington School for the Deaf. 


CFD is incorporated under the laws of the state of Connecticut. It continues to seek donations, but without much success. 


                    Bell Laboratories demonstrates a TV-Telephone.


CFD becomes Public Law 85-905 to provide captioned Hollywood films for deaf people. John Gough, former superintendent at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, is appointed to direct the program. To this point, CFD has developed 29 feature-length films, along with short subjects, and is circulating them among schools for the deaf. 


Public Law 87-715 authorizes CFD to begin acquiring and captioning educational films.

The first captioned educational film, Rockets: How They Work, opens the door to equal access to educational media for students who are deaf and
 hard of hearing. 


Visual Speech Indicators are developed. These hand-held devices are equipped with a moving needle that indicates whether someone is speaking on the other end of the telephone.

The first long-distance call by deaf persons u;ing electric writing machines occurs between the Vocational Administration Office in Washington, D.C., and the San Fernando Valley State College Leadership Training Program in California.

James C. Marsters recommends TTY communication over regular telephone lines.

Robert H. Weitbrecht develops an acoustic telephone coupler for use with teletypewriters by deaf people.

                    National Association of the Deaf convention in New York City includes exhibits of telephone devices.

First public demonstration of a TTY call between deaf persons takes place in a hotel at the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

AT&T demonstrates the Picturephone at the World's Fair in New York City.

Victor-Comptometer Corporation Electrowriter is used at the World Games for the Deaf in Washington, D.C.

Robert H. Weitbrecht in Redwood City, California, places the first long-distance TTY call to James C. Marsters in Pasadena, California.

Chet Avery, a U.S. Department of Education administrator who is blind, suggests to several consumer groups affiliated with the blind and visually impaired that they apply for funding to describe educational media, much in the same way that organizations affiliated with the deaf are applying for funding to caption films for the deaf and hard of hearing. At this time, however, advocacy groups are more focused on employment issues for Americans who are blind or visually impaired, but Mr. Avery's perspective serves as the proverbial "glimmer on the horizon" for description as it is now known.


Robert H. Weitbrecht Company partnership formed; first "Gray Lot" modems are built by Weitbrecht, James C. Marsters, and Andrew Saks.

Carterfone case stalls distribution of TTYs.

First transcontinental TTY call takes place between Robert H. Weitbrecht in New York and James C. Marsters in California.

Andrew Saks suggests relay telephone service concept.

Robert H. Weitbrecht experiments with the "voice carryover" method based on suggestions from Andrew Saks and James C. Marsters.


James C. Marsters lectures on the TTY technology breakthrough to deaf communities in Europe.

Andrew Saks establishes the first telephone relay service in Redwood City, California.

                    James C. Marsters establishes the second telephone relay service in Pasadena.

Robert H. Weitbrecht files a patent for the "Frequency-Shift Teletypewriter."

Weitbrecht makes a demonstration TTY call to Marsters from the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration to gain government support for the technology.

Eighteen TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


Stanford Research Institute holds a planning meeting to discuss telecommunications needs of deaf persons.

Applied Communications Corporation (APCOM) is established to manufacture the Phonetype modem.

                    Paul L. Taylor establishes the first local telecommunications group, the Telephone/TeIeletype Communicators of St. Louis.


The eight-level American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is defined by the American National Standards Institute as the federal standard for computer data transmission.

Carterfone case is settled by the FCC; the ruling permits consumers to connect all manufacturers' equipment to telephone company lines.

Telephone/TeIeletype Communicators of St. Louis establishes the third local telephone relay service.

AT&T reaches an agreement with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf to distribute TTYs.

Micon Industries is formed by Michael Cannon (a contraction of his name) to encapsulate business activities in electronic design and light manufacturing.

Teletypewriters for the Deaf Distribution Committee (TDDC) is established by the National Association of the Deaf and the Alexander Graham Bell Association of the Deaf; TDDC is renamed Teletypewriters for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) in June; H. Latham Breunig becomes Tors first executive director.

Stromberg-Carlson Vistaphones are field-tested at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The first TTY weather service and TTY news service are established in St. Louis.

174 TTYs are in use by end of the year.


                    National Technical Institute for the Deaf begins a research study to
                    design portable TTYs for use by deaf consumers.

First international TTY call takes place on January 4, between deaf
people-Robie Scholefield in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Vicki Hurwitz in St. Louis, Missouri.

ESSCO Communications and Ivy Electronics introduce competing TTY modems.

First transatlantic call is made between two deaf persons using video telephone technology (AT&T's Picturephone).

Minnesota Radio Talking Book (RTB), the world's first radio reading service for the blind and visually impaired, begins broadcasting. While not technically the same as description, RTB and the many radio reading services like it are important players in the early days of accessible media. Through the use of such services, people who are blind or visually impaired are able to receive the same up-to-the-minute news, opinion, and entertainment information as are their sighted peers.

600 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


Weitbrecht's patent for the modem is approved by the U.S. Patent Office.

APCOM begins marketing the Automatic Control Unit answering device for unattended TTYs.

First intercontinental (transpacific) TTY call is placed between Minneaplis, Minnesota, and Manila, Philippines.

ESSCO ATC-2 becomes the first modem to compete with the APCOM Phonetype.

U .S. Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C., installs a TTY for deaf employees.

July 31 (US date) -  First Transcontinental  call US-Philippines  Mrs. Fernando Lopez, wife of the vice president of the Republic of the Philippines,  exchanged the first greetings with Robert O. Lankenau, president of the NAD. http://smecc.org/philippine_deaf_network_starts_1970.htm 

Malcolm (Mac) Norwood, the "father of closed captioning," becomes Chief of Media Services of the Captioned Films Branch, Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, U.S. Office of Education. 

Birth of the MCM project. Mike confides in his friend Kit Corson that he needs a project that "has social value" and is not motivated only by the pursuit of money. Kit replies, "Did you know that deaf people can't use the telephone?" Kit is the son of deaf parents and an interpreter for the deaf.

FCC permits connection of devices not provided by the telephone company to the telephone network.

900 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


Internal Revenue Services rules that the costs of specialized equipment (including acoustic telephone modems) is deductible as a medical expense.

Hotline for the Deaf is established in Maryland.

First National Conference of Agents of Teletypewriters for the Deaf, Inc., is held in Washington, D.C.

TTYs are installed in police departments in Dallas and Los Angeles, the first efforts to provide emergency assistance to deaf people.

New York-New Jersey Phone-TTY introduces the first accessible Dial A-News Service.

The TV "captioning industry," with the Captioning Center (now Media Access Group at WGBH), is formed. 

1,500 TTYs are in use by the end of the year. 


                    Microminiaturization of electronic circuits leads to lighter and quieter
                    devices manufactured by HAL Communications Corporation and

 St . Louis begins transmitting news stories from UPI wire feeds.

At Micon: Based on research over a two year period, Mike Cannon determines that a product that would allow deaf persons to type to each other over the phone, and that could be small, light, battery-powered, and portable, could be developed using the current technologies of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) and Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductors (CMOS). Funds are procured and the project is launched.

A TTY is installed at a TV station (KRON-TV, San Francisco) for call-ins by deaf viewers.

Andrea J. Saks brings the Phonetype modem to London, England. 2,500 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.

Julia Child's The French Chef is the first national broadcast of an open-captioned program, airing across the United States on PBS.

To assess the possibility of "closed" captioning, a technical committee is established.

Gregory Frazier, a professor at San Francisco State University, begins working on the concept of described theater performances to benefit people who are blind or visually impaired. He establishes his nonprofit company, AudioVision, in 1972 to explore the concept of making media and live performances more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. 


New York Telephone, Indiana Bell, and ew Jersey Bell are the only telephone companies to waive unlisted number charges for TTY users.

The Rehabilitation Act is signed by President Richard ixon.

David Saks establishes Organization for Use of the Telephone (OUT) to address the needs of hearing aid users.

At Micon - Mike and Art Ogawa design circuity for the MCM. Kit sculpts a case mold for the MCM. 
- Mike builds a plastics forming machine and designs the circuit boards and the interior of the case. 
- Kit Patrick Corson  forms Silent Communications, Inc. (SICO) to sell and market the MCM. 
- June 17th, 7AM- the first production prototype of the MCM is picked up at Micon by Kit Parrick Corson to take to church with his parents. and... 
   June 17th, 1PM- Kit returns to Micon with a check for the first sale!
- SICO places a two page ad in a publication read by deaf and hearing impaired persons. $70,000 in advance purchases is received in two weeks. 
- December- The advance purchases are all delivered.

                    After four years of testing, NTID's Vistaphone (videotelephone) is discontinued due to bandwidth problems.

                    The first-ever regularly scheduled open-captioned program debuts. The captioned ABC News broadcast
                    is seen late-night on more than 190 PBS stations (and airs for nine years).

                    Last issue of the Silent Jerseyite published - March/April 1973

3,000 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


First International Convention of Teletypewriters for the Deaf, Inc., is held in Chicago.

Apcom and Micon start a technology transfer program. The founders of Apcom (Andrew Saks, Jim Marsters, and Robert Weitbrecht) were initially skeptical of the motives of Micon and SICO and treated them as competition. Andrew's daughter, Andrea Saks, opened communications between the companies. Bob Weitbrecht and Mike Cannon traded technical information which led to other cooperative projects between the companies. 

4,800 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


First authorized transatlantic TTY call is made between England and the United States. (TRANSATLANTIC SMECC ARCHIVE)

A three-way TTY call is made during the World Federation of the Deaf Congress by callers in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Sweden.

February, 1975, Development started on C-Phone telecommunication unit  using a
CRT monitor  rather than  paper and noisy printers. (C-PHONE SMECC ARCHIVE)

The first statewide, toll-free relay service is established in North Dakota.

PBS files a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reserve a segment of the television signal for transmitting captions.

10,000 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


FCC Commissioner Richard E. Wiley installs a TTY in the Consumer Assistance Office.

The FCC reserves Line 21 of the vertical blanking interval (VBI) for transmitting closed captions. 

20,000 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


600 families with TTYs in the Philadelphia area begin receiving news through radio receivers.

National Center for Law and the Deaf comments on TTYs in public facilities are filed with the U.S. General Services Administration.

Development begins on Line 21 captioning decoders.

35,000 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


Pacific Bell establishes statewide centers in California to provide technical assistance to people with disabilities.


Micon and Apcom convince the California Public Utilities Commission to force Pacific Bell to lease deaf telecommunications devices for the same cost as regular telephone service. A surcharge is added to all telephone bills in California to pay for the cost of implementation. The average initial surcharge amounted to approximately $1.50. This was later adopted by the federal government in the form of a national surcharge. Pacific Bell coins the term "TDD" (Telephone Device for the Deaf). 

Governor Edmund G. Brown of California signs landmark legislation for distribution of free TTYs.

Connecticut becomes the first state to reduce long-distance rates for deaf people.

                    A TTY is installed in the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House for President Jimmy Carter's "Comments Office."

Barry Strassler is appointed the second executive director of TDI. TDI changes its name to Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.

The National Captioning Institute (NCI) is formed to caption TV programs and produce decoders.


                    Electronic messaging (e-mail) experiments are conducted with DEAFET in Washington, D.C., 
                     and San Francisco, and with   HERMES in Boston.

AT&T establishes toll-free TTY operator services.

Michael Cannon leaves Micon. Sales of MCMs for the deaf are 1200 per month.

Twelve states allow reduced rates for intrastate long-distance TTY calls.

                     California begins free TTY distribution program for deaf residents.

                     Closed-captioned decoders enter the market. (NCI's TeleCaption I is sold at Sears.)

                     First closed-captioned television programs air, totaling 16 hours a week.

                     Captioned home videos become available; the first title is Force 10 From Navarone.



                    AT&T files a request with the FCC to reduce rates for interstate TTY calls.

Electronic Industries Association begins efforts to develop standards for TTY manufacturers.

More than 30 states provide reduced rates for long-distance TTY calls.

First closed captioning of a children's television program, Sesame Street, is broadcast. 

First open-captioned theatrical movie release, Amy, opens in ten cities.

The Arena Stage Theater in Washington, D.C., calls upon Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl—founder of the Metropolitan Washington Ear Radio Reading Service— and Chet Avery, among others, to conduct a discussion concerning methods to make live theater performances more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. Dr. Pfanstiehl has since been credited as a pioneer and tireless activist for description in broadcast and educational media and live performances, and has trained many of the professional describers employed by the various agencies today. 


                    APCOM closes.

Congress passes the Telecommunications Act of 1982; the law expands telephone access for people with disabilities, based on the universal service obligation.

Real-time captioning of the Academy Awards and the first regular real-time closed captioning for ABC's World News Tonight is performed. 

First closed captioning of a live sporting event, the Sugar Bowl, airs.

1982 Micon Industries, Inc. is moved to Connecticut and renamed to the American Communications Corporation. www.smecc.org/am-com_american_communications_corp_.htm 

Cody and Margaret Pfanstiehl (Photo: washear.org) 
Dr. Pfanstiehl and her husband Cody train volunteers to describe episodes of the PBS series American Playhouse, which are then simulcast on the Metropolitan Washington Ear along with the programming on the local PBS affiliate. These experiments mark the first time that the concept of description was applied to a regularly broadcast television show.

180,000 TTYs are in use by the end of the year.


AT&T petitions state commissions to remove tariffs on special telephone equipment for deaf and hard of hearing persons.

AT&T establishes the Nationwide Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf Center in Reston, Virginia, to meet the special long-distance telecommunications needs of deaf and hard of hearing customers as well as people with speech-related disabilities.

Canada gives $600 vouchers to deaf people to purchase TTYs.

The Japanese Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV) becomes the first commercial broadcast network to air description simultaneously with its own programming. The description was presented primarily during off-hour programming, and was mixed into the standard program audio, making it a form of "open" description.


Federal government investigates placement of TTYs in public transportation facilities.

Thomas M. Mentkowski is appointed the third executive director ofTDI.

AT&T Special Needs Center is established in New Jersey.

CFD introduces videocassettes and becomes Captioned Films/Videos for the Deaf (CFV).

The National Television Systems Committee (NTSC) adopts Multichannel Television Sound (MTS) as a standard, introducing the American television market to the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) feature. SAP would eventually become the primary means for transmitting description to analog television customers. Prior to SAP, description was limited to live theater events (typically employing special FM or infrared receivers and transmitters), closed-circuit signals of radio reading services, or "open" description programs.


                    Low-cost TTYs and dual TTY/ASCII modems become more available.

More states provide TTY distribution programs.

PBS affiliate and pioneer of accessible media, WGBH (Boston, MA) conceptualizes the nationwide application of description in PBS programming. WGBH begins research into facilitating such an application.

Based on positive feedback received during research of described media's possible application, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awards funding to WGBH for what will eventually become Descriptive Video Service (DVS).


AT&T offers the first public telephone relay service in Woodland Hills, California, to comply with a California state law mandating access to all telephones within the state; 80,000 calls are made in the first month.

Alfred Sonnenstrahl is appointed fourth executive director of TDI. 

Ultratec produces a dual TTY/ASCII Intel modem for DOS and MacIntosh computers.


President Ronald Reagan signs the Telecommunications Accessibility Enhancement Act and the Dual Party Relay Service Act.

Ultratec pay-phone TTYs are installed in airports, schools, and other public locations.

WGBH, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Washington Ear Audio Description Service, launches the first test of its DVS system on ten PBS stations during presentations of American Playhouse.

Narrative Television Network (NTN), founded by blind and visually impaired people, begins providing "open" described films on its cable network. By the end of the year, described programming represents about four hours per week on NTN.


President George Bush makes the first call on the expanded federal relay service.

Judge Harold Greene waives long-distance restrictions for the "Baby Bells" for relay services. •

Ernie Hairston becomes Chief of Media Services for CFV. 

First closed-captioned music videos are produced.



President George Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Advances in fiber optic technology improve research developments in video telephones.

New York-New Jersey Phone-TTY develops software allowing automatic billing for relay services.

The Decoder Circuitry Act states that all televisions 13 inches and larger must have built-in decoder capability (takes effect in 1993). 

Dr. Pfanstiehl is awarded an Emmy by the National Academy of Television and Arts Sciences for her leadership in the field of accessible television for viewers who are blind or visually impaired. Also awarded Emmys are PBS, Jim Stovall, and Gregory Frazier for their work in making programming accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Beginning with the season premiere of American Playhouse, DVS becomes a permanent fixture of accessibility on participating PBS stations, carrying the described audio programming on the SAP channel.

Congress passes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which includes comprehensive civil rights guarantees to Americans with a wide range of disabilities. 


                    Federal relay standards are defined by Title N of the ADA. 1993 TDI begins developing TTY equipment standards.

Title N of the ADA takes effect.

US Sprint is awarded the contract to operate the Federal Information Relay Service.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) receives its first U.S. Department of Education (ED) contract award to administer the selection and captioning of new CFV materials. The designation "for the Deaf" is immediately dropped from CFV promotional materials and catalogs in order to be more inclusive of the hard of hearing community. The NAD continues in this role to present time.

The Described and Captioned Media Program (then called the Captioned Films and Videos Program), in conjunction with the National Captioning Institute (NCI), perform a study to determine whether funding should be provided to establish a free-loan library of described educational media to accompany its library of captioned media. The results of the study overwhelmingly supported the establishment of a national, free-loan library for educational media. 

WGBH's Media Access Group launches MoPix, a service that would eventually provide accessibility to moviegoers who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and/or visually impaired through the use of closed captioning and description. 

Sixty-two PBS stations broadcast regularly scheduled DVS programming, reaching 50% of U.S. households. 


TRIPOD Captioned Films makes open-captioned, first-run 35-mm films available to local theaters. 

WGBH/The Caption Center devises the Rear Window Captioning System to show captions on movie screens using a system to display the captions in reverse at the back of the theater which are then reflected at the seat. 

There are more than 750 captioned hours a week on the networks; more than 5000 captioned home videos, including a large portion of new releases; and cable channels are just beginning to introduce captioning. 

A study conducted by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and WGBH, and funded by the National Science Foundation, finds that consumers who are blind or visually impaired prefer to have access to description on television, and those who were able to hear descriptions could recall more of the program content, especially with regard to science programming. 


                    National Association for State Relay Administrators is established.

MCI offers the first calling card for TTY users.

Wynd Communications was founded and was the first company to deliver life-changing wireless 
communications services to deaf or hard of hearing people. (T!)

"Information Superhighway" speech by Vice President Al Gore becomes the first captioned event in cyberspace. 

First Rear Window movie theater captioning system is installed at the Langley IMAX theater at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. 

The CFV Captioning Key: Guidelines and Preferred Techniques is created and distributed. The document provides an overview regarding how to caption and includes information on the following areas: types, methods, and styles of captioning; presentation rate; text; language mechanics; sound effects; music; foreign language/dialect; and other special considerations. 

CFV offers an evaluation of captioning service providers for the ED. Any company performing work for CFV is required to pass this evaluation. This activity continues today.

National Television Video Access Coalition is founded and coordinated by Dr. Pfanstiehl to work with Congress on the passage of statutory requirements for described programming on commercial broadcast television. The AFB and National Association of the Deaf (NAD) are among the twenty-five coalition members. 


                     Sprint experiments with video relay interpreting in Texas.

                     Motorola introduced the world's first two-way pager which allowed users to receive text messages and e-mail and reply with a standard response. (T!)

                     Live! With Derek McGinty, by Discovery Communications, becomes the first regular weekly show to be captioned on the Internet.

                     The NAD wins the ED contract to administer CFV distribution activity. The NAD continues in this role to present time.

                     Bills passed by both houses of Congress require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to study the use of description for people who 
                     are blind or visually impaired. Following the study, the FCC was empowered to regulate, to a necessary extent, accessible programming. 



President Bill Clinton signs the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, directing the FCC and a joint board of state and federal communications regulators to reexamine the concept of universal service.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) forms a working group for captioning standards on MPEG digital video, which is used on DVDs.

According to an FCC report, the U.S. Department of Education provides $1.5 million per year for described media, which equates to $0.19 spent for each American who is blind or visually impaired. The American Council of the Blind (ACB), AFB, and Metropolitan Washington Ear are among respondents who join the FCC in urging Congress to allocate more Federal money to described educational media.


                     Claude L. Stout is appointed the fifth executive director of TDI.

                     Bill Clinton's second presidential inauguration becomes the first inauguration to be simultaneously captioned live on television and the Internet. 

                     The first Rear Window movie theater captioning system is installed in a first-run theater (at General Cinema; Sherman Oaks, California).

                     The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the nation's prevailing special education statute, is amended to include, among other
                     items, more federal funding of described and captioned educational media.

                     The World Wide Web Consortium recommends the use of SMIL 1.0 (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) as a standard for producing 
                     streaming video and other visual media. This technology provides a framework for closed captioning and description of internet media. As of 2007, 
                     most of the widely used streaming video programs (RealPlayer, QuickTime, Ambulant, and even Windows Media Player) support SMIL (as of 2007,
                      version 2.1) features. 

                     The Jackal, released in November, becomes the first feature-length film to be both closed captioned and described at the time of its release. 
                     The film premiers at the General Cinema Theater in Sherman Oaks, CA, which is the first U.S. theater to be equipped with MoPix Rear Window
                     captioning and DVS description equipment. 


                     TDI celebrates its 30th anniversary.

                     Wyndtell was the first two-way pager marketed to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. (T!)

                     CFV adds CD-ROMs and other multimedia to its collection, and it becomes the Captioned Media Program (CMP). 

                     First closed-captioned video game, Activision's Zork Grand Inquisitor, is released. 


                     Five closed-captioned feature movies in ten Rear Window–equipped theaters throughout the United States are premiered. 

                     Encarta Encyclopedia is released with captions on CD-ROM. 



TDI formally shortens its name from "Telecommunications for the Deaf, Incorporated," to "TDI."

The FCC adopts its proposed rule that the top 5 commercial television broadcasters in the top 25 television markets introduce a nominal amount of described prime-time and/or children's programming to begin in 2002. The adoption of this rule elicits a great deal of backlash from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). 

The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), created by WGBH, releases MAGpie (Media Access Generator) 1.0, a free and widely distributed tool for creating captions and descriptions on digital media. 


 – Technology! IP Relay (November) was first introduced as a means of communication for the deaf community. Rather than rely on a TTY and telephone to connect an operator, IP Relay utilizes a computer, the Internet and web browser to contact the IP relay operator who calls and voices the conversation between the deaf or hard-of-hearing person and the hearing person. – Sorenson Communications.


The CMP, through a cooperative agreement with movieflix.com, makes full-length open-captioned classic movies and television programs available on the Internet.

Seventeen major motion pictures are released to theaters in the United States that are immediately accessible via description in equipped venues to consumers who are blind or visually impaired. 


 First “Sidekick” phone, released on October 1, was the first cellular phone to include instant messaging along with on-device email and a full QWERTY keyboard.(T!)

The original Hiptop was released in October. All the units, from the beginning, have featured "Menu", "Back", "Jump" and other keys accessible even when the unit was closed. The Hiptop also featured a speaker which is used for device sounds but not telephone. The headset jack serves a dual purpose, as it is also used for the accessory camera. A later revision of the Hiptop upgraded its screen from monochrome LCD to color LCD. It is slightly bigger than any later Hiptop. It is rare to come across one in current times.(T!)

The CMP provides the first streamed, educational open-captioned videos on the CMP website, with over 400 titles becoming available. 

On November 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit) overturns a lower court ruling that upheld the FCC's description regulations. The court found that the FCC did not have the authorization of Congress to enact such a policy, and "forcing" such a policy on broadcasters created a First Amendment conflict. Prior to the court's ruling, little, if any, effort had been made on the part of commercial broadcasters to implement the FCC's rule regarding described content, although several notable programs were available with DVS.



  - The British Government recognized British Sign Language as a bona-fide language.

Bills are introduced, at the urging of the National Television Video Access Coalition members, by both houses of Congress to reinstate the FCC rules regarding description on broadcast networks. Both bills stall in House and Senate subcommittees. Similar initiatives are drafted every year from 2004–2007, each time with increasing cosponsorship and support by legislators, but no action has been taken at the time of this writing to reinstate the FCC rules. 

WGBH launches Teachers' Domain, a web resource for educators and students, which includes captioned and described streaming video among its offerings. In addition, its content conforms, and even refers to, national curricular standards to assist teachers in selecting appropriate media. The service is free to registered members.

NCI partners with the nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop to provide descriptions for Sesame Street for the first time in the program's 34-year history. The longest-running children's program becomes accessible to over one million children who are blind or visually impaired.


 – Technology! Sidekick became the first cellular phone to place unassisted TTY and Relay Operator calls through the phone's web browser using a system developed by Jon B. Sharpe at Lormar Logic Company.

 – Technology! VP-100 videophone introduced to provide deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing users with access to VRS. Videophone technology becomes available, granting Deaf people greater comfort and autonomy in telephone communications – Sorenson

The Speech-to-Text Services Network (STSN) is formed as an information resource and to promote quality relating to court reporter verbatim stenography systems, nonverbatim meaning-based systems, and automatic speech recognition systems.




 – Technology! Relay Operator providers (Hamilton, MCI, Sprint, Sorenson, and i711) provided direct Relay Operator access from the Sidekick using either one of the instant messenger clients or through a free download, and two companies (Lormar Logic and i711) provided direct TTY access. The free Lormar Logic service provided direct encrypted calling to the United States Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

Stevie Wonder's "So What the Fuss" becomes the first-ever described music video. WGBH's West Coast office coordinates and voices the description track.


The SK3 was released and manufactured by Sharp. It was smaller than previous versions, measuring 130 mm wide x 59 mm high x 22 mm thick. All features, including the line-by-line scroll feature remained the same. Software remained basically the same, but with the addition of more applications. (T!)

Worldwide over 30,000 individuals with Cochlear implants (1999 - Over 3,000 cochlear implants) FDA approved cochlear implants in children as young as one-year. Excellent speech and hearing results resulted with proper training.(T!)

America becomes the first country in the world to require all new television programs, with few exceptions, be closed captioned. 

The CMP becomes the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), offering educational media that is not just captioned for the deaf but also described for the blind.

As part of a new cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, the Captioned Media Program (CMP) becomes the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP). The DCMP announces a partnership with AFB to produce and implement guidelines for describing educational media productions. These guidelines will be the first in the U.S. to address description for children and students specifically, and they will establish criteria for the evaluation of description agencies that wish to be placed on the U.S. Department of Education's Approved Description Service Vendors list. 

A voicer records description in a modern studio. (Photo: CaptionMax) 
The U.S. Department of Education awards three "Emerging Technologies" grants to explore the use of innovative description and captioning techniques to improve accessibility to educational media. Narrative Television is awarded one of the grants. Minnesota-based CaptionMax, one of the leaders in the field of media accessibility, is awarded the other two. The DCMP partners with CaptionMax to distribute media produced with these new tools through its existing free-loan network.

Sixty-three major motion pictures are released to theaters in the United States that are immediately accessible via description in equipped venues to consumers who are blind or visually impaired.


 VRS Providers & FCC Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its decision to establish a multi-year reimbursement rate for relay service providers. The multi-year rate allows VRS providers to increase numbers of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. (T!)


The Captioning Key, a set of guidelines and preferred techniques regarding how to caption educational media, is completely revised for the web and published in October 2008.

The Description Key for Educational Media, a set of guidelines and preferred techniques regarding how to describe educational media, developed by the AFB and DCMP, is completed and published in October 2008. The document overviews how to describe educational media, what to describe, and the technical elements that are part of the description process.  


Sorenson Communications launched Video Center giving VP-200 videophone users a central location to access both information and entertainment in (ASL). Video Center includes SignMail messages/missed-call messages recorded in ASL; videos for VRS services; deaf-related news; and educational information.(T!)

Google introduces machine-generated automatic captions on YouTube, which combines Google's automatic speech recognition technology with the YouTube caption system that's already in place. Partners for the initial launch include University of California Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Yale, UCLA, Duke, University of California Television, Columbia, PBS, National Geographic, Demand Media, and the University of New South Wales. DCMP is also immediately added to the list. This machine translation, available worldwide, also enables people to access video content in 51 languages.(D)


 IP Relay - (October) Sorenson launched IP Relay. Messages and Outbound Caller I.D. (November) Sorenson began distribution of "Storytime" through Sorenson VP-200® videophones. New Deaf Kids Network™ (DKN™) Storytime will be available for individuals and schools. (December) The Video Center is available through BlackBerry (Note: All Sorenson services are provided at no cost to Sorenson users – SWM).(T!)

  - Gallaudet University Press published a book on deaf people in the Holocaust, "Crying Hands" by Horst Biesold. The fate of the deaf in Nazi Germany...few are aware that during the Nazi era human beings – men, women, and children–with impaired hearing were sterilized against their will, and that many of the deaf were also murdered.

The FCC implements a mandate that all Spanish-language programming first shown after January 1, 1998 must be captioned by 2010 (with some exceptions). 

President Barack Obama signs the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which provides for the establishment of rules/requirements by the FCC for captioning on the Internet and technological devices.

October 8, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. The legislation requires smart phones, television programs and other modern communications technologies to be accessible to people with vision or hearing loss. Importantly in terms of description, the FCC will re-institute its description requirements. Networks and programmers will be required to describe and pass through description of at least 50 hours of described prime-time or children's programming each quarter. The new requirement starting on January 1, 2012 will mandate that ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and the "top five" non-broadcast networks need to comply with the requirement in the top 25 markets (ranked by Nielsen, based on their total number of television households. 

The Audio Description Project, an Initiative of the American Council of the Blind, was established to boost levels of description activity and disseminate information on description throughout the nation. The goals of the ADP are to sponsor a broad range of activities designed to build awareness of audio description among the general public as well as its principal users, people who are blind or have low vision.


The U.S. Department of Education announced the funding of a new Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC). The purpose of the VDRDC is to advance the research and development of video description, as well as alternative approaches to it, and to improve the accessibility of educational program content delivered via the Internet or through other technological devices (not television) for students who are blind or visually impaired. SmithKettlewell Eye Research Institute, a nonprofit independent research institute located in San Francisco, was awarded a two-year grant to conduct the VDRDC activity. The DCMP, one of several members of a Description Leadership Network that is part of this activity, will have the responsibility to coordinate two Webinars each of the two project years, report on accomplishments of the VDRDC, and invite feedback. 


The following FCC mandate takes effect: 75% of all the Spanish-language video programming shown before January 1, 1998 must be captioned in the United States.

Jo Ann McCann becomes the Project Officer at the U.S. Department of Education for the DCMP grant.

Two webinars were presented by the DCMP in collaboration with the Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC) and the VDRDC Description Leadership Network. The webinar topics were "Bringing Video Description Into the 21st Century" and "'Do It Yourself' Educational Description: Guidelines and Tools." Notable for the second webinar was DCMP's use of blended technology elements to create a custom, accessible webinar environment. 

SMECC (www.smecc.org) in Glendale Arizona  set up Telecommunications  for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Archive and  starts constructing physical artifact museum display.



We would like to  thank the following people and organizations that  allowed us to include  their   timeline data into the SMECC master timeline.

For TTY history -  timelines by Harry G.  Lang  in "A PHONE OF OUR OWN"  and  TDI  Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.

For Captioned Media - Courtesy of  the Described and Captioned Media Program, National Association of the Deaf. www.dcmp.org. DCMP is funded by the U. S. Department of Education. 

In addition  information gathered  from other  collections at SMECC such as the Lester Zimet/Alexander Black Collection, Paul and Sally Taylor collection, Gloria McDowell Collection, Kit Patrick Corson Collection, Michael Cannon Collection, Harry G. Lang Collection, Jerome S. Tessler Collection, Ray Morrison Collection, Jane Bolduc Collection, Gene Rankin Collection, Robert and Thelma Bohli Collection, Jim Haynes Collection, David Pierce Collection and others. Other entries  are absorbed  from advertising, interviews and spotting something  cool  out on the  net.

For a more  widespread  timeline, not  just  Tech and Media  that  we address...  Google   DEAF TIMELINE   there are  some  great  resources out there on  Deaf  History. -- Ed Sharpe archivist  for SMECC


Please send  submissions for the TIMELINE  to INFO@SMECC.ORG 

Please include pointers and links to where we can verify  the data please.

items to add on cc...

(Television, Film and Computer/
Multi-Media-related Activities)


(1927) First talking film, The Jazz Singer premieres, shutting out a source
of entertainment for deaf movie patrons.

(1933) Talking Books program for the Blind established.

(1947) Emerson Romero develops the first captioning of a film by putting
captions between picture frames.

(1949) British producer, J. Arthur Rank etches open captions onto glass
slides, shown as a small inset in the lower left-hand corner of the main
screen. J. Pierre Rakow, a teacher at American School for the Deaf in
Connecticut, conceived the idea of making “talkies” more understandable to
deaf viewers with captions like subtitles on foreign films, and worked with
Clarence O’Connor and Edmund Boatner to organize Captioned Films for the
Deaf (CFD). CFD's first open-captioned film was America the Beautiful, and
the first feature film was a Laurel and Hardy comedy, The Noose Hangs High.

(1955) CFD is incorporated in Connecticut.

(1958) John Gough, former superintendent of Oklahoma School for the Deaf,
becomes the first Chief of Media Services for CFD after PL 85-905 was
enacted, directing CFD to provide subtitled Hollywood films for deaf people.

(1960) The first captioned educational film, Rockets and How They Work,
opens the door to equal access to educational media for students who are
deaf and hard of hearing.

(1962) CFD begins acquiring and captioning educational films.

(1968) CFD writes its first lesson guide for open-captioned educational


(1970) National Bureau of Standards research possible applications of the
time signal in the vertical blanking interval (VBI) of the television
signal. Malcolm (Mac) Norwood becomes the Chief of Media Services for the
Captioned Films Branch, Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, at the
U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, forerunner of today’s
U.S. Department of Education.

(1971) The first National Conference on Television for the Hearing Impaired
is held in Memphis, Tennessee. The Caption Center is established at WGBH,
a PBS affiliate in Boston.

(1972) The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) determines that
captioning is feasible, allowing PBS to begin developing Line 21
technology. Meanwhile, The French Chef, with Julia Child airs on PBS with
open captions as ABC demonstrates Mod Squad with closed captions at
Gallaudet College. KRON-TV installs a TTY for call-ins by deaf viewers
responding to news in sign language in the San Francisco area.

(1973) President Richard Nixon’s second inaugural speech is open-captioned.
The Caption Center begins airing ABC World News Tonight with
open-captioning four hours after broadcast, replacing commercial slots with
deaf community news.

(1974) A BBC documentary about deaf children, Quietly in Switzerland, is
the first captioned/subtitled program in England using the Ceefax Teletext

(1975) The Caption Center captions ZOOM, the first children’s series to be
captioned. PBS petitions the FCC to reserve part of the TV signal for
closed captioning.

(1976) The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) saves Line 21 of the
television VBI for closed captioning. France develops its own Teletext
system, Antiope.

(1977) Development begins on Line 21 captioning decoders.

(1978) Gallaudet College conducts research into formats for closed
captioning while production begins for captioning editing consoles.

(1979) New Zealand airs the 15-minute News Review, the first captioned
television news program with both captions and sign language. EEG builds
the first closed captioning encoders. The National Captioning Institute
(NCI) is formed with seed money from the US Department of Education.
Silent Network produces and broadcasts sign language and captioned
programming targeting deaf and hard of hearing viewers in Los Angeles.


(1980) NCI begins closed captioning on ABC’s Sunday Night Movie, NBC’s The
Wonderful World of Disney and PBS’ Masterpiece Theater totaling 16 hours a
week. Sears begins selling TeleCaption set-top decoders and television
sets. IBM captions the first television commercial. Force 10 from
Navarone is the first home video to be captioned.

(1981) The Caption Center develops a portable off-line system for quicker
turnaround on site. Sesame Street is the first closed-captioned children’s
television program. Closed-captioning arrives in Canada. The first
open-captioned theatrical movie release, Amy opens in ten cities.

(1982) NCI begins real-time captioning with Academy Awards (Oscars) by
Martin H. Block. ABC World News Tonight begins regular real-time
closed-captioning on October 11. Sugar Bowl first live sporting event to
be captioned. The Caption Center develops Caption Kits to promote
educational benefits of captioning in the classroom. Australia Captioning
Centre (ACC) debuts with The Barchester Chronicles. Canadian Captioning
Development Agency is formed. Tripod Captioned Films was established as a
distributor of open-captioned film prints donated by movie studios.
December is declared the National Closed Captioned TV Month.

(1983) Line 21 real-time captioning begins in Canada as the World
Conference on Captioning meet in Ottawa. The first opera production in the
world presented with SURTITLES® was the Canadian Opera Company’s staging of
Elektra. NHK broadcasts its first captioned program in Japan.

(1984) The Olympic Games are captioned live. The Caption Center produces
deaf community news on Extra-Vision - CBS’ Teletext system. After years of
protests, CBS begins Line 21 closed captioning of Dallas, a popular
prime-time soap. PBS airs The Voyage of the Mimi, the first dual language
captioned program in English and Spanish, using the Caption 2 setting. CFD
introduces their open captioned videocassettes and becomes Captioned Films
and Videos (CFV). Silent Network goes national on cable television with
sign language and captioned programming in addition to broadcast television
in Los Angeles.

(1985) American Data Captioning (now VITAC) opens as first for-profit
captioning service provider. First local news captioned in Kansas with
electronic news Teleprompter system. Kellogg Co. becomes first corporate
sponsor to fund captioning of TV series, Family Ties. Realtime captioning
arrives in Europe with a rugby tournament and Wimbledon tennis.

(1986) In a first for America, The Caption Center in Boston captions
real-time local news programs two hours daily. First tests of Descriptive
Video Service (DVS) begin in Boston on Mystery! Realtime captioning
arrives in the United Kingdom with a BBC children’s program, Blue Peter.
Computer Prompting & Captioning sells software that outputs captions
simultaneously with pre-scripted Teleprompter data from the television
studio. The Italian public TV station experiments with captioning on
television with a Hitchcock film, Rear Window. Australia begins captioning
its newscasts. Xscribe Corporation introduces its real-time captioning
system. Alfred Weinrib, a captioning columnist for The Silent News pays an
impromptu visit to Hollywood from New York City, and meets with studio
executives – leading to widespread captioning of home video movies.

(1987) When NBC stopped captioning its popular soap opera, Search for
Tomorrow, fearing similar action by other broadcasters, Mr. Weinrib led
efforts to convince the Peacock Network to restore captioning on the
daytime serial. Jim House and John Long, WJLA vice president and father of
a deaf son, implement local real-time news captioning on ABC affiliate in
Washington, DC. The Subtitled Video Project was established in Australia
and more than 800 videos were captioned in 10 years.

(1988) Caption Center establishes Consumer Affairs Department to educate
deaf and hard of hearing viewers how to advocate for more captioning. PBS
conducts national DVS test on American Playhouse. SAIC develops first
Braille and large print TeleCaption System.

(1989) Major network prime time programs now 100% captioned. Music videos
are now available with captioning. Image Logic ships first offline
captioning system. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides
start-up funds for DVS program. Ernie Hairston becomes the new Chief of
Media Services for the US Department of Education upon retirement of Mac
Norwood following 30 years of service.

(1990) Cheetah Systems releases CAPtivator Online Real-time Captioning
System. America’s Disability Channel is launched nationwide in addition to
Silent Network – relocated to San Antonio, TX under new ownership. Title
III of the recently enacted Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies
to movie theaters. US Department of Justice ADA regulations include “open
and closed captioning.” However, guidance for the regulations says, “Movie
theaters are not required to present open-captioned films.” Jamie Berke,
Andrea Shettle and Stuart Gopen begin CaptionAction, a grassroots petition
drive to convince Hollywood studios to caption home videos. President
George H.W. Bush signs the ADA, which requires captioning on video public
service announcements produced with federal funds, and the Television
Decoder Circuitry Act which is to become effective in 1993. BBC commits to
captioning 50% of their programming to comply with the Broadcasting Act of
1990. Realtime news captioning begins in Europe and soon all viewers
quickly learn about the Gulf War and Margaret Thatcher’s resignation.


(1991) Captioning vendors help design new Line 21 decoder display standards
for FCC. The Caption Center establishes the Media Access Research and
Development Office - a pioneering facility dedicated to examining the needs
and desires of underserved viewing audiences. The National Association of
the Deaf (NAD) takes over administration of CFV material selection and
removes “for the deaf” designation to be more inclusive of the hard of
hearing community. Zenith Electronics Corp. is the first manufacturer to
develop television models with a built-in captioning chip since the first
TeleCaption TV sets were sold. NCI develops Line 21 decoder microchip with
hopes to be placed in all new television sets manufactured under the
Decoder Chip Act. ACC creates the National Working Party on Captioning in

(1992) NTSC develops captioning standards with service providers, FCC and
EIA. Canada Captions, Inc. formed for raising funds for closed captioning
in Canada. Czech Television begins captioning. Hillsborough County
Florida and Fremont, California becomes the first county and city,
respectively, to caption real-time all government and school board
meetings, funded by a surcharge on all cable TV bills. Cheetah releases
CAPtivator Offline, a post-production captioning system.

(1993) President Clinton’s Inauguration is first live event to have both
captioning and DVS on PBS accessible for viewers with hearing or vision
disabilities. The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is formed as
the research arm of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and WGBH-TV.
One of its early achievements is the development of the Rear Window
Captioning System to display movie captions off the back wall of the
theaters onto reflectors. There are more than 750 hours of captioning a
week on network programs and more than 5,000 captioned home videos. The
Television Decoder Circuitry Act takes effect as all televisions larger
than 13” in diameter sold in the United States include captioning decoder
circuitry. TRIPOD begins captioning 35mm feature films for special
open-captioned movie screenings. Australia begins live captioning.

(1994) The Caption Center introduces relocatable roll-up captioning during
the Winter Olympic Games for CBS, which ensures that important action or
graphics are not obscured with captions. First Rear Window system
installed at the Langley IMAX theater at the Smithsonian National Air and
Space Museum. CFV develops booklet Captioning Key: Guidelines and
Preferred Techniques. The Information Superhighway Speech by Vice
President Al Gore becomes the first live event to be captioned over the
Internet. CAP-Media creates software for captioning, indexing, annotating
and analyzing digital video and audio. Silent Network and America’s
Disability Channel merge into Kaleidoscope Television.

(1995) Live! With Derek McGinty from Discovery becomes the first regularly
captioned regular Internet program. Kaleidoscope Television goes 24/7 –
fully captioned, including all programs, commercial, and anything with
dialogue is 100% captioned – voluntarily (prior to regulations) with
private funds and no government assistance. BBC develops a system that
addresses the low supply of realtime captioners by combining precaptioned
portions with real-time captioning and expands to provide captioning for
regional newscasts in the United Kingdom. NAD assumes distribution of CFV

(1996) The Society of Motion Pictures & Television Engineers forms a task
force to develop captioning standards on MPEG and DVD formats. Real-Time
Reporters send captions over Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel and web page
simultaneously. Movie Access Coalition, a subcommittee of the NAD
established. Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandates closed captioning on
television programming.

(1997) President Clinton’s second inauguration speech is the first live
event to be captioned on both television and the Internet simultaneously.
Microsoft announces new Synchronized Accessible Multimedia Interchange
(SAMI) computer and multimedia software captioning standards. The Caption
Center celebrates its 25th anniversary. Gary Robson writes a book on the
industry called Inside Captioning and receives the Saks Award from TDI.
Since 1993, Tripod distributes three to five captioned film prints for 25
movies. Rear Window® Caption display system premieres in California,
offering movie captioning and descriptive narration. Captioned radio
debuts in Japan.

(1998) Caption TV, Inc. develops Detection/Deletion Parental Control device
to block profanity on television by muting audio and blanking captions when
swear words appear in the dialogue. CFV introduces open captioned CD-ROMs
and other multimedia software, and changes its name once again to Captioned
Media Program (CMP). Direct-studio distribution of open-captioned movie
prints began. Activision releases first closed captioned video game Zork
Grand Inquisitor.

(1999) The Caption Center at WGBH closed captioned five feature movies,
which premiered that year in 10 Rear Window-equipped theaters throughout
the country. In collaboration with the Caption Center, Lucent Digital
Video creates open interface specifications for digital television
captioning. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia CD-ROMs include multi-media
video captioning. VITAC expands national presence in local news captioning
with MetroCaption services in San Francisco and Atlanta. MultiMedia
Designs, Inc. develop captioning glasses in which captions appear on a
screen inside the lens of one eye. $AVE_ON_TV.COM, a media ad placement
service offers closed captioning sponsorships to help producers offset
captioning costs. People for Better Television poll reveals that most
television viewers support broadcasters licensing obligations to the
community, including closed captioning and video descriptive services, in
exchange for use of public airwaves. Italy experiments with realtime
captioning. BBC commits to full captioning service by 2010.

(2000) FCC launches beta version of in-house real-time Internet captioning
to make Open Meetings and public forums accessible to Internet users with
hearing disabilities. AbleTV.net, a web-based global TV network for the
disabled, brings ADA 10th anniversary torch events and political
conventions with “webcaptioning” technology on the Internet. Air Force
News becomes the first military funded regular programming to use
captioning. Kaleidoscope Television shuts down. The Weather Channel
begins 20 hours of captioning on its all-weather cable network. VITAC
joins Legalink to form WordWave. Two class-action lawsuits were filed in
Portland, Oregon and Washington, DC against movie theaters for not
accommodating patrons who request captioning. The Coalition for Movie
Captioning (CMC) emerges as a force for access at local cinemas. FCC
establishes phase-in schedule for captioning of digital television

(2001) Several captioning providers start streaming video captioning on the
Internet. WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media publishes guidelines
for making software accessible to deaf or blind users. WGBH and VITAC
expand their services to include video description for viewers with visual
impairments. Digital Theater Systems, an established theatrical sound
system vendor inaugurates its Cinema Subtitling System (DTS-CSS) with a
pilot showing of Pearl Harbor during the TDI Conference in Sioux Falls.
Connecticut attempts to introduce legislation requiring captioned movies,
which failed to pass. CMP joins forces with MovieFlix.com, an Internet
website, to bring classic feature films and television programs online with
open captioning. New laws mandate increased captioning in Canada and
Australia. BBC experiments with using revoicing through automatic speech
recognition for live captioning. NHK in Japan starts revoicing for an
entertainment program, Kohaku Utagassen.


(2002) Digital television sets now display the next generation of closed
captioning under EIA 708-B standards. NCI opens new facility in Dallas,
Texas to handle Spanish captioning. Real-time voice-to-text captioning and
CART using automatic speech recognition comes to the market place. Walt
Disney World offers breakthrough technology of mobile captioning through
handheld receivers on certain attractions. Microvision offers new “helmet”
type display for captioning in movies or live theater. Father of deaf
child launches third class action lawsuit for movie captioning in Houston,
Texas but the case was dismissed. CMC conducted Theater Watch on Memorial
Day weekend – 30 states with no captioned movies. CMP provides more than
400 educational open-captioned videos on its website. Insight Cinema
formed to carry on the mission of Tripod Captioned Films. About 40 Rear
Window® systems were installed nationwide. NHK tries live revoicing during
a musical variety show during the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

(2003) More than 20 captioning and video description providers form
industry trade association, Accessible Media Industry Coalition, or AMIC.
America Online debuts regular online captioning of its help tutorials,
animation series and CNN’s thrice-daily QuickCast news briefs. Regular
Spanish captioning on CC2 channel begins on 60 Minutes I & II and The
Tonight Show with Jay Leno. National Court Reporters Association develops
new certifications for CART and Captioning. The Speech-to-Text Services
Network (STSN) is formed as an information system resource and to promote
quality relating to court reporter verbatim stenography systems,
nonverbatim meaning-based systems, and automatic speech recognition
systems. BBC develops K-Live, a network of both steno and voice captioners
who revoice the dialogue on the program to help them fulfill their
captioning obligations. DTS on-screen cinema captioning systems now
appearing in America after successful run in England. Judge in DC movie
captioning lawsuit case decides ADA could require movie theaters to offer
closed-captioned movies. Sign City Television, LLC is launched as a
broadcast syndication company in Texas following the same mission as Silent
Network with offices in Los Angeles and Carson City, Nevada.

(2004) BBC revoices the Olympic Games in Athens. Movie theaters in
Washington, DC and New Jersey agree in separate settlements to increase
their offerings of closed-captioned movies, including during popular
movie-going days and hours. CMC supports federal legislation creating tax
breaks for movie studios and theaters that create and show captioned movies
– did not pass. Internet search engines, Google and Yahoo turn to
captioning as a tool to find online video clips, using words stored within
the text on Line 21. TDI and other organizations file petition to the FCC
addressing technical and non-technical captioning quality issues. About
190 RW systems and 50 DTS projection systems installed.

(2005) TDI and Accessible Media Industry Coalition celebrate 25th
Anniversary of closed captioning on television. TDI and other national
organizations continue to oppose many petitions for captioning waivers.
Like previously for New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the Attorney General
for New York state reached agreement with movie theaters to provide
captioning at selected theaters. Connecticut Association of the Deaf filed
complaints with the Connecticut Human Rights Office against 33 movie
theaters. About 270 RW systems and 150 DTS projection systems installed.

(2006) 100% captioning benchmark arrives for all new non-exempt television
programming. Consumers complain about inaccessible or nonexistent
captioning features on new digital television sets. Regal Theaters commit
to open captioned movies and DTS-CSS projection systems. About 360 RW
systems and 210 DTS projection systems installed. Arizona Attorney General
files lawsuit against movie theater chains in the state. Sign City
Television programming makes its first on-air debut on PBS in Reno, Nevada.
TDI was named as a beneficiary in the Russ Boltz vs. Buena Vista Studios
case. A deaf attorney filed a class action lawsuit against Buena Vista and
four other studios alleging that DVD labels misled customers by implying
that the entire DVD was cap­tioned when the studio only captioned the movie
and not the bonus features. The studios settled with an agree­ment to
caption all the bonus features of DVDs that they release in the next five
years and contribute money to three organizations including TDI to promote
equal access to captioning on DVDs. Captioning fails to keep pace with the
growing diversification of media content on the Internet.

(2007) In May, all analog-only sets must be clearly labeled as having only
an analog tuner. Digital television brings nightmares to many early
adopters who rely on captioning. FCC begins educational campaign to
promote a digital-to-analog converter box coupon program for viewers that
receive programming from over the air through antenna. BBC says revoicing
was used in 60% of their live programming. CMP joins other providers in
adding video description to their services and becomes Described and
Captioned Media Program (DCMP).

(2008) ABC leads as the first major network to caption its entire
prime-time programming online as competitors follow suit with partial
listings. The transition to digital television looms as analog broadcasts
begin to cease. Consumers nationwide experience mixed results with
captioning as they upgrade to digital receivers. DCMP’s Captioning Key for
Educational Media now includes guidelines for Internet captioning. The
number of US broadband households watching premium online content including
movies and TV shows reach 25 million households. BBC attains the 100%
captioning benchmark two years ahead of the regulatory deadline of 2010 in
the United Kingdom. Captioning tools for online user-generated media
proliferate on major video streaming sites such as YouTube.com

(2009) Online captioning appears on many more websites as Google announces
automatic captioning for uploaded YouTube videos using speech recognition.
This solution addressed the massive scale of videos uploaded at a rate of
20 hours per minute. The transition to digital television revealed gaps in
captioning transmission resulting from equipment design flaws and other
lapses in broadcasting CEA-708 captions in a digital format. Local TV news
stations turn to voice captioning as a lower-cost alternative to
steno-captioning. In collaboration with the National Center for Accessible
Media (NCAM), Advanced TV Systems Committee agrees to fully include
captioning solutions in its initial version of technical standards for
broadcasting to handheld media and mobile devices. Televised Presidential
speeches are captioned extensively online thanks to experimentation by NCAM
to repurpose television captioning for online use. Netflix balks at
including captioning for its downloadable media. In response to Netflix,
Jamie Berke revives CaptionAction with Robert Goodwin and shortly shifts
its focus onto the passage of a new Congressional legislation, The
Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.
Professional sports and college stadiums begin to install captioning
systems delivering text to message boards and handheld devices. The FCC
forms a task force with representatives from broadcasters, captioning
providers and consumer groups to work on closed captioning technical
issues for digital television.

(2010) A federal appeals court rejects a class-action lawsuit seeking to
hold Apple, Inc. responsible for hearing losses incurred by iPod music
player users. Deaf community continues to be enraged by Netflix’s slow
progress on captioning for 300 of its vast streaming video library, noting
that competitors have already made greater portions of their offerings
accessible. FCC streamlines captioning complaint procedures and requires
video distributors to post contact information online. The 21st Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) passes, requiring
television programming shown on the Internet to carry captions and makes it
easier for people to access the captioning controls on television remotes.
Kohl’s department store posts closed captioned videos on their job site.
CaptionFish website helps movie patrons know which films are captioned near
them. 22frames.com develops new search engine for captioned and subtitled
videos from sites all over the Internet. Google sees growth in captioned
videos uploaded to YouTube. In a “groundbreaking legal decision,” the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's dismissal of a
lawsuit in which the state of Arizona sought the installation of equipment
needed to display captions and audio descriptions at Harkins Cinema for
patrons with sensory disabilities. Massachusetts settles with AMC, Regal
and Showcase Cinema to have the theater chains to provide captioning and
video description within the state. Regal Cinema hosted symposium where
advocates try out prototypes of new movie captioning technologies.
Association of Late Deafened Adults initiates class action lawsuit against
Cinemark theater chain in California. WGBH’s National Center for
Accessible Media develops prototype system to access accuracy of real-time
captions for live news programming. Coast2Coast expands captioning options
at sports stadiums, entertainment venues and other public places.
SpeechGear launch $795 software that allows users to not only type words
and have them read aloud, but also transcribes other people’s comments.
Vibrating headphone collars and speech-to-text glasses change the way deaf
people hear music and talk with others. NPR demonstrates captioned radio
at the White House as one of technical innovations honoring the 20th
anniversary of the ADA. CSD starts Project Endeavor as a product of a $15
million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce where qualified
deaf and hard of hearing customers can purchase a laptop and one year of
Internet access for $230. The Betty and Leonard Phillips Deaf Action
Center in Shreveport, Louisiana receives $1.3 million grant from U.S.
Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Program.

(2011) The Hearing Access Program prompts the Association of National
Advertisers to support captioning in TV commercials. Harkins Theaters and
Cinemark USA settles respective class action lawsuits by providing a
wireless captioning device to patrons upon request and including video
description systems. Sony announces intention to develop glasses that
produces subtitles in movie theaters. News 10 in Albany, New York
recognized for providing real-time captioning during severe storms and
other major news events. Internet blogger comments on poor captioning
quality and volunteers to be a captioner on a major network. More
universities and colleges turn to CART as a reasonable accommodation for
students. Despite lawsuits from deaf viewers for misleading information on
captioning, Netflix slowly increases its list of accessible popular videos
online. GLAD, Inc. sues Time Warner for lack of captions for video clips
on CNN.com website, which “excludes … from a wealth of critical information
regarding current events.” Minnesota group that posts live political
events online honored for its commitment to caption political ads. Mega
Channel is the first private TV channel in Greece to provide subtitles on a
major series. Fast food restaurant Culver adds more accessible indoor and
drive-thru Order Assist systems to serve deaf customers. Scientists at
Georgia Tech hack into Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect motion control sensor to
read sign language and be able to interpret a limited vocabulary with
greater than 98 percent accuracy. Deaf advocates press online video
producers to include captions, even if not covered by CVAA. Google
continues to work on making YouTube’s auto captioning feature easier to
use. VITAC employees reflect on their efforts to make the news accessible
on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the aftermath.

(2012) FCC regulations for captioning on the Internet begins for new
prerecorded programming shown on the Internet after airing on television.
TDI and consumer groups ask FCC to reconsider their exemption for online
video clips from television shows from captioning. Accessible live theater
options grow as captioning display equipment are installed in more venues.
Computer programmers explore the idea of using Siri to provide captioning
on Apple TV and improving automatic captions on YouTube. Leading online
news network, CNN.com contends with lawsuit from Greater Los Angeles Agency
on Deafness (GLAD) over the network’s refusal to caption online video clips
on its website, citing First Amendment issues. Federal judge deems that ADA
is applicable to online services, which led to a settlement between
National Association of the Deaf and Netflix where the vendor commits to
captioning its entire online library of streaming videos within two years.
Movie theater chains pledge to increase captioned movies as digital cinema
conversions are implemented. Sony creates Entertainment Access Glasses for
movie goers needing captions. Computer Prompting and Captioning debuts new
captioning software for Internet videos. Final Cut Pro X training videos on
movie production now captioned. Consumer Electronics Association, an
industry trade association launches assault on new CVAA law, seeking
exemptions and waivers from regulations governing captioning or advanced
communication services. CaptionMatch.com launches new matching service and
clearinghouse to connect captioning or CART users with a provider. After
years of resistance to provide captions on its internal community TV, The
Villages, a retirement community in Florida, provides captioning for its
deaf and hard of hearing residents. Canada tells TV broadcasters to achieve
95% accuracy in their captioning and that text must not lag behind speech
for more than six seconds. NTID/RIT completes integrated platform for
captioning video course materials. Cardionics ViScope develops visual
amplified stethoscope for medical personnel who are deaf or hard of hearing
by amplifying the audio and providing a visual display of the
phonopnermogram. Apple patents promising technology for smart hearing aids
that could wirelessly connect to devices. One of several patents by Google
to protect its augmented reality glasses, helps deaf and hard of hearing
users detect and interpret nearby sounds. FCC implements the Commercial
Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act or the CALM Act requireing TV
commercials to be no louder than the programs they accompany. Builders
begin to incorporate deaf-friendly features in apartments and other
residential buildings. A company in Germany designs a glove to help
deaf-blind read text messages through tactile feedback using Lorm, a
European sign language alphabet. A University of Houston student develops
mobile device that can translate sign language into spoken words.









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