SMPTE Standard a Safe Harbor Interchange & Delivery Format

In a ruling that promises to accelerate the transition of broadcast content to the Internet and make it more easily accessible to tens of millions of people with disabilities, the U.S Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has declared the closed-captioning standard for online video content developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to be a safe harbor interchange and delivery format.

The ruling means that captioned video content distributed via the Internet that uses the SMPTE standard – known officially as SMPTE Timed Text – will comply with the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), a landmark U.S. law designed to ensure the accessibility, usability, and affordability of broadband, wireless, and Internet technologies for people with disabilities.

“The ruling by the FCC ensures that all people, including people with disabilities, have access to and can enjoy online and Web-enabled programming,” said Ann Marie Rohaly, who chaired the Society’s standards effort.  “It also provides an unambiguous roadmap for broadcasters and other content providers who want to put more content online, or accelerate efforts already underway, and ensure they meet CVAA requirements.”