BBC iPlayer adds subtitles for live channels
James R | On 29, Jul 2016
BBC iPlayer has begun trialling subtitles for live-streaming.
Subtitles are an oft-overlooked part of a streaming service. To date, subtitles have only been available for on-demand programmes from the Beeb. With almost 2m programmes a day or 20 per cent of all on-demand programmes watched using subtitles on BBC iPlayer, though, there is already huge demand for live content to made accessible to all UK audiences.
Now, in what is (tellingly) a world-first for any major video on-demand service, the broadcaster has begun trialling subtitles for live channels.
The trial, currently available on PC and Mac computers will allow deaf and hearing-impaired viewers to watch more BBC TV programmes wherever and whenever they want. The BBC will test and improve the feature over the coming months before it is rolled out to BBC iPlayer’s app for mobiles and tablets – and, over time, to Connected TVs.
Gareth Ford Williams, head of accessibility for the BBC says: “The BBC is already a world-leading provider of accessible services, but we know there is always more to do. We want to ensure our content and services are accessible to everyone – and this trial will give viewers who are deaf or hearing-impaired access to even more programming than ever before.”
Dr. Roger Wicks from Action on Hearing Loss adds: “We welcome this breakthrough from the BBC, which is a huge step in the right direction for full accessibility for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Our Subtitle It! campaign has been working towards increasing online broadcasters’ use of subtitles on online content and we’re delighted that the BBC is leading the way by trialling this new feature.”
The trial subtitles are available on BBC One HD, BBC One Northern Ireland (HD), BBC One Scotland (HD), BBC One Wales (HD), BBC Two (HD), BBC Four (HD), CBBC (HD), CBeebies (HD), and BBC News (HD).