Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
unclebob
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Netflix for the Hearing Impaired

Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:43 pm

http://community.netflix.com/group/deafmovieclub

At the above URL, I'm organizing the hearing-impaired and their advocates to seek improved access to Netflix disks and streams. In order to help our advocacy, can someone from Roku describe precisely the capabilities for captioning overlay of the Player? And what steps are needed by Netflix to provide optional caption overlays? Can the captions be embedded in the stream and turned on/off via software? Is there any appreciable effect on bandwidth?

You may reply here, and I will repost at the Netflix site, or post at the above address.
 
QuantumIguana
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Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:14 am

I'm not hearing impaired, but I used closed captioning sometimes when the room is noisy (people talking, loud fans blowing, baby making baby noises, etc.)

I don't know if we need the Roku box itself to handle the closed captioning, but it would be very useful if the data stream had closed captioning data so that I can select it on my TV.
 
unclebob
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Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:30 pm

Will I have to tell the members of the deaf movie cllub that our Roku friends are not inclined to answer? It's already been stated on this forum that the box is caption-ready.The questions above aren't that tough.
 
West Ham
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Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:23 pm

Why don't you just call them instead of starting these flower threads every other day? As stated in other posts, the Roku staff does not really look at the forums anymore cause of constant complaints over the same thing.

PICK UP THE PHONE OR WRITE A CERTIFIED LETTER
 
Mark Knecht
Posts: 55
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Re: Netflix for the Hearing Impaired

Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:37 am

unclebob wrote:
http://community.netflix.com/group/deafmovieclub

At the above URL, I'm organizing the hearing-impaired and their advocates to seek improved access to Netflix disks and streams. In order to help our advocacy, can someone from Roku describe precisely the capabilities for captioning overlay of the Player? And what steps are needed by Netflix to provide optional caption overlays? Can the captions be embedded in the stream and turned on/off via software? Is there any appreciable effect on bandwidth?

You may reply here, and I will repost at the Netflix site, or post at the above address.


My wife is asking for this feature.
 
JeffD
Posts: 7
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Settle Down..

Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:20 pm

unclebob wrote:
Will I have to tell the members of the deaf movie cllub that our Roku friends are not inclined to answer? It's already been stated on this forum that the box is caption-ready.The questions above aren't that tough.



It seems that you are under the impression that you are in some way "entitled" to CC support. Why is that?

While there are features I would like to see for the Roku box, like streaming content from my Media PC, making me breakfast in the morning, printing money so I can quit my job, etc .. up to and including making sweet, sweet love to me in a steamy shower ... I in no way EXPECT much less feel inclined to harass the Roku people on a forum about it.

And adding CC support will PROBABLY be addressed much sooner than anything on my personal wish list.



So settle the F'k down please.
 
unclebob
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:36 am

West Ham wrote:
Why don't you just call them instead of starting these flower threads every other day? As stated in other posts, the Roku staff does not really look at the forums anymore cause of constant complaints over the same thing.

PICK UP THE PHONE OR WRITE A CERTIFIED LETTER


????

Show me the threads that I started "every other day." Link?

You seem to have me confused with someone else. Who else has asked the specific questions I posed above?

Your belligerence has no reasonable cause.

I have not seen any posts indicating that Roku staff have abandoned this forum. Link, please? At any rate, if they find the section of the website that they call "community" to be worthless, they should just pack it in. If your attitude is typical of the "community," perhaps thats not a bad idea.

Whatever's been posted, if you think Roku management does absolutely no monitoring of this forum, you are quite naive.

And if Roku chooses not to answer the questions asked on behalf of families with deaf members of household, that is Roku's choice to make. I'm not hostile about it, and have no sense of entitlement.

I'm just curious that they would make such a choice.

I've done telephone tech support, and I have great respect for what these workers put up with, but I know Roku's tech support staff are not going to have the answers to such questions, unless Roku is wasting a shotload of money putting engineers on the phones.

Take a chill pill and get back to me.
Last edited by unclebob on Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
unclebob
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Re: Settle Down..

Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:44 am

JeffD wrote:
unclebob wrote:
Will I have to tell the members of the deaf movie cllub that our Roku friends are not inclined to answer? It's already been stated on this forum that the box is caption-ready.The questions above aren't that tough.



It seems that you are under the impression that you are in some way "entitled" to CC support. Why is that?



Why all the hostility? If you had a deaf teenager in your household, would you be so quick to jump down my throat?

Many people do have hearing-impaired family members. I am only trying to facilitate communication between Netflix/Roku and their customers that might help to unlock the usefulness of the device for these family members. Is that so frigging awful? What is so awful about expecting people to make a small token effort that might bring some pleasure into the lives of a large minority?

Did a wheelchair passenger make your bus late to work today? Awwww...

I asked a few simple questions, and I am hoping that Roku staff cares enough about the few who care about this issue to provide a more in-depth answer regarding the box's capabilities.

Questions about closed captions have been deflected back to Netflix by Roku, I am only requesting this information so I have a better idea of what it is that I am asking Netflix to do, and how difficult or unreasonable it may be to ask.
 
West Ham
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 7:40 am

Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:23 am

unclebob wrote:
You seem to have me confused with someone else. Who else has asked the specific questions I posed above?


You even posted in some of these threads

http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=captions
http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=captions
http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=captions

RokuLydon wrote:
"Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:40 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This really is a question for Netflix. The roku is already capable of playing back closed captioning if it were present in the stream.
_________________
Lyndon
Roku Customer Care



unclebob wrote:
I have not seen any posts indicating that Roku staff have abandoned this forum. Link, please? "

Whatever's been posted, if you think Roku management does absolutely no monitoring of this forum, you are quite naive.


RokuLydon wrote:
Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:54 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why do you think the staff stopped reading the forum? I still read it.

The forum is a good resource, but you should always use the support number as your first option if you have questions or need help.
_________________
Lyndon
Roku Customer Care


Huh, any more brain busters?
 
unclebob
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:02 am

West Ham wrote:
unclebob wrote:
You seem to have me confused with someone else. Who else has asked the specific questions I posed above?


You even posted in some of these threads

http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=captions
http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=captions
http://forums.rokulabs.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=captions

RokuLydon wrote:
"Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:40 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This really is a question for Netflix. The roku is already capable of playing back closed captioning if it were present in the stream.
_________________
Lyndon
Roku Customer Care



unclebob wrote:
I have not seen any posts indicating that Roku staff have abandoned this forum. Link, please? "

Whatever's been posted, if you think Roku management does absolutely no monitoring of this forum, you are quite naive.


RokuLydon wrote:
Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:54 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why do you think the staff stopped reading the forum? I still read it.

The forum is a good resource, but you should always use the support number as your first option if you have questions or need help.
_________________
Lyndon
Roku Customer Care


Huh, any more brain busters?


Lyndon, thank you for your reply. I was certainly aware of those other threads, I've read them all. Where I did post, you will see that I referred the original posters to Netflix's Community website. That is not the same thing as "starting a thread every other day."

However, the questions I asked up top were never asked in those threads, and these qurstions concern the Player's capabilities. If I can get the answers, we will be in a better position to request that Netflix implement captioning. The questions, again, are:

Are any extraordinary steps required by Netflix to provide caption overlays? (in other words, is transcoding the caption stream from DVD and then embedding that data in a STB-compatible stream a complicated or difficult process?)
Can captions be embedded in the stream and made selectable via software? (so that people who don't want them won't see them?)

I have no doubt that there are people at both Netflix and Roku who know the answers to these questions.

My problem is that, at this moment, and for whatever reason, Netflix has not placed priority on accessibility for the hearing impaired.

If someone from Netflix customer relations were to tell me that "adding captions would be as easy as pie," that puts management in a bad light, so of course they are not anxious to discuss anything about it.

Roku, similarly, has no reason to make its partner appear unsympathetic to the hearing impaired.

That is why I am simply asking you straightforwardly about the technical aspects of implementing captions. I'm not out to make anybody look bad or to play "he said/she said" with the two companies. I just want to better understand how a provider -- any provider -- would supply user-selectable captions in a stream compatible with Roku's STB. (Which I love, by the way, it's a fine product!)
 
unclebob
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:24 am

To avoid people duplicating others' efforts, I just want to add that I've also posted my questions at Netflix's Community Forum:

http://community.netflix.com/forum/topi ... c%3A245499
 
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RokuJamesL
Roku Engineering
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:26 am

This is the last thing we are going to say on this subject because it's been answered multiple times previously.

From a technical standpoint, closed caption technology is pretty much standardized across the vast majority of consumer electronics devices, whether it be a DVD player, TiVo, generic DVR, satellite receivers, etc. The Roku player would function pretty much the same way. I don't know the gory technical details, but I am sure a Google search on how DVD players do closed captions would sufficiently explain the process. If Netflix encoded the movie streams with CC data, from our standpoint, that functionality would be enabled in a software fix.

As for the whys and hows Netflix encodes their streams, Roku cannot comment on the technical aspects of this because that is THEIR DOMAIN. How "easy" or "hard" it is for them to do from a technical standpoint is not something we have insight into. We can make an educated guess, but from a partner standpoint, it is not our place to do that.

Again, just to make things as clear as possible, the Roku Netflix Player CAN support standard closed captioning data streams, which we would enable via software. How, why, when streams are encoded are exclusively Netflix's domain, which we are not privy to.
 
West Ham
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:52 am

My great grandmother is blind so can you mail her this explanation in braille?
 
unclebob
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:14 pm

RokuJamesL wrote:
This is the last thing we are going to say on this subject because it's been answered multiple times previously.


If so, a link would have been sufficient. Maybe I'm just dense. Anyway, I'm sorry to have created so much trouble for you.

RokuJamesL wrote:
From a technical standpoint, closed caption technology is pretty much standardized across the vast majority of consumer electronics devices, whether it be a DVD player, TiVo, generic DVR, satellite receivers, etc. The Roku player would function pretty much the same way.


I know how subtitles are stored on DVD (including subs for the hearing impaired); they are generally stored as a series of images -- to get a text file from these images, you have to use OCR software.

Closed captions, on the other hand, are usually text streams interpreted by a character generator. So there's TWO standards involved here

I hope that the STB does not require a series of caption images to be streamed to it, and these overlaid on the video, as occurs with a dvd player; for bandwidth purposes, a text stream channeled to a character generator is much more efficient. Presumably, the STB would pass the text stream through to the user's television, to be interptreted by the TV's captioning feature. (I'm just guessing here.)

Don't feel obligated to clarify anything further, though, I've obviously taxed your patience already, and it's not my intention to be a pest.
 
TaylorH
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:26 pm

Caption data would most likely be stored in the streams or a separated data fie in the form of the text, along with control code data such as when to place it on the screen, for how long, at and what location (etc.) Basically the same or similar to the way Closed Caption caption data stored. The player hardware and base software is capable of supporting this in some form. As James said, Roku would still have to add the feature support to actually handle the exact method of data delivery and make it work on the application software.

The Roku player could interpret the data and render captions on to screen, or it could pass that along to the TV's Closed Caption decoder, or both. It depends on a lot of issues.

I think it's less likely that the captions would be pre-rendered in to alternate video streams, more like some of the DVDs you mentioned.
Former Roku employee

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