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August 5, 2003

Closed captions universal by '08

From: Hampton Roads Daily Press, VA - Aug 5, 2003

Q:What does the "CC" in parentheses mean in the television show listings in the TV book? - M.R., Suffolk

A: The "CC" designation means a program is broadcast with closed captioning, a feature that allows viewers to see, in writing, text closely following the onscreen dialogue. All TV sets with 13-inch or larger screens sold in the United States after July 1993 must be equipped with built-in decoder circuitry capable of displaying closed captioning.

Federal regulations require that all television programming, with limited exceptions, be closed captioned by January 2008.

Closed captioning came into use in the United States in 1980 and in Canada in 1981. Captions are created by specially trained court reporters who convert the spoken word to text on computerized stenotype machines. The skills to create captions of live TV programming are similar to those used by court reporters creating transcripts in judicial settings.

The ABC Sunday Night Movie, The Wonderful World of Disney, and Masterpiece Theatre were among the first closed captioned television series. The captions were seen in households that had the first generation of closed caption decoders.

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