« Netflix Q3 2011 Earnings & Investor Webcast October 24th | Main | Studios Still Using Fake Bonus Features Menu to Upsell the DVD or Blu-ray »

Comments

twitter.com/Tom

I just think the inability to contact support without making a voice phone call is the real issue. Unless they've reimplemented the online support option and I'm just missing it?

Jason

I'm not aware of any online version of support either. Also I understand that the hearing impared want to enjoy the content as much as everyone else but do they expect it to happen by magic? They do realize it takes a long time to get every studio that provides them content to provide new encodes that include a CC option. With an estimated 20,000 instant watch titles not counting individual tv episodes, I concervatively estimate 60,000 viewing hours of content. In turn concervatably 240,000 man hours to encode with CC. So probably concervativly a year or more for all parties involved to get the whole current catalog CC not counting anything new added.

Btoy

I can hear just fine, but sometimes when I watch movies from the UK or Ireland I wish I could turn on CC. I can't always understand everything in movies when the accents are real strong and have many times found myself not understanding what was going on because I couldn't understand the English that was being spoken. I still haven't seen the third movie in the Red Riding Trilogy because I had such trouble understanding what was being said in the first too.

al

america is all about law suites

moviegeek

"america is all about law suites"

Sadly this is true, we have more lawyers than doctors.

I'm sorry some people have hearing problems but I wouldn't say captions/subtitles is a "human right".


Logger

"america is all about law suites"

I agree, but it seems more and more that it's the only way to get things done and to get companies to do the right thing. Most DVD movies have subtitles and most TV shows have CC ... it would seem to be a minor technical issue to include them on Instant View. But Netflix has been delaying implementing this for years instead of doing the right thing ... maybe a lawsuit will speed things up.

rjm

John Banzhaf needs to be waterboarded.

These kind of suits are just ABSURD.

Cant hear ? Read a book.

No business has any obligation to make up for your hearing problems.

Booger Bender

That's an unbelievable proof of apathy from hearing people to perceive that it's not a human right to have closed captions for the deaf. What would all of you hearing people do if there was no such thing as audio tracks in movies? If we had silent films to this day i have no doubt in my mind all of you also would be suing for human rights to hear. So screw all of you people who are ignorant of equality.

Fardog

Why does Netflix keep promising to do it and then it never happen? I say the courts should shut Netflix and all of these services down until they CC all content for all devices.

moviegeek

"Why does Netflix keep promising to do it and then it never happen? I say the courts should shut Netflix and all of these services down until they CC all content for all devices."

Yeah that makes sense, let's ruin it for 90% of the people because 10% can't get their way. Do you want some cheese with that whine?

Here's the facts:
1. There are hundreds of devices that use different software, Netflix has to find a way to have soft-subtitles/CC work on all of them. You can't have hard-subtitles because most people would complain about them being on the screen.
2. There are millions of movies and TV shows that don't have subtitles, someone has to type the words and that takes time.


If you don't like streaming then rent the DVD, problem solved.

Anonymous

People whose first language is not English (that's my case) would be glad if every single movie comes with subtitles. :)

Mr. Nethead

Netflix's lackluster support for captions on their instant watch titles was the main reason I decided not to pay for a streaming subscription.

Every time this topic comes up on this blog, there are always insensitive jackasses who chime in about how the deaf and hard of hearing are whiners who should just get over it. Maybe you clods will all lose your hearing someday. Believe me, it's no fun.

There are laws in place that require television programming to be captioned. The law needs to be expanded to force all content providers on the Internet to offer captions too.

By the way, getting captions for programming isn't that difficult. In fact, there are websites where you can download subtitles/captions for movies and shows. If Netflix would give us a way to overlay the captions ourselves, we could actually bring our own.

Deaf Lyfe

There's a lot of Deaf bashing from people on this comment thread. Why do hearing people feel they believe they should get better treatment over others. "Elitism". This goes to show how much IQ general bashers have against those who require subtitles to understand content online. There's going to be a day each hearing person loses their hearing. What would those hearing people think if Deaf people pointed their fingers and laughed at all the hearing people struggling to understand content?

It's so sad that it takes a special type of ignorance to feel better than the rest of the world and to feel entitled superior over the rest. You ever wonder why Deaf/HOH and foreign people "HATE" Apathetic losers who demand attention to their perfection. FU-Q Deaf Bashers.

kryptin

Netflix screwed up because they should have thought about CC back when putting their streaming system in place instead of letting it get so big and bloated using multiple devices to the point that they no longer have a quick fix when facing a lawsuit such as this.

I'm surprised nothing like this lawsuit are happening with rental discs too as I've found a lot of them don't offer subtitles by stripping them out with the other special features. Subtitles are not a special feature.

kryptin

Netflix screwed up because they should have thought about CC back when putting their streaming system in place instead of letting it get so big and bloated using multiple devices to the point that they no longer have a quick fix when facing a lawsuit such as this.

I'm surprised nothing like this lawsuit are happening with rental discs too as I've found a lot of them don't offer subtitles by stripping them out with the other special features. Subtitles are not a special feature.

j

I use CC and subtitles late at night when my wife is sleeping.

Jonathan

While my hearing is fine, I'm a big proponent of CC/subs. If anything, I love having the option of understanding what is said when I can't have the audio up loud. Sometimes, it's just nice to be able to turn it on when you can't understand a few words spoken in certain areas of movies/tv shows, or, like some others mentioned, when the English is spoken in heavy accent. I'm not so sure about a lawsuit, but I do find Netflix's slow implementation of cc/subs to be very frustrating.

I've found several tv shows that claim to offer cc but then find that they option simply doesn't work. On other shows, I'll watch several episodes in a row, finding that occasionally an episode is just randomly missing the cc. Even more upsetting, there is no way to notify Netflix of the missing captions. The only option is for missing english captions on a foreign language film. I've actually reported several tv episodes using that option, but I don't know if it ever actually worked. Very frustrating, indeed...

michellescully

I do not mind if the movies have closed captions but I do not think it is right for us to be tying up the court system with yet ANOTHER lawsuit we do not need. I can think of much better things to take to court, if it is an option great if not I do not think suing is going to help the matter.

Holly

My problem with this is that the cost to do it will be shifted onto us the consumer. If you think Netflix will be willing to bear the cost and not make us pay, you are fooling yourself. A company that increases your plan to $7 would be willing to bring it up higher any chance they can get.

Kimberly

I know it's not a super simple thing to add into the encoding, but closed captioning isn't a new thing. I know that my parents cancelled Netflix because my dad has a hearing handicap that required cc.

Big deal, right? ...They lost one customer. But geez, think how much it must suck to not be able to enjoy a simple movie, and so much media is moving to streaming.

Netflix had plenty of warning, and I'm amazed there isn't movement on this yet.

RJM35126

the issue is the expense. why should the masses pay for the few ?

Wonder if tall people can get short people to pay their way ?

Isnt it a human right for tall people to not have to pay extra for tall clothing ?

What?

Shouldn't it be the responsibility of the ones providing the content to Netflix to ensure that it includes cc data?

If this lawsuit succeeds, Netflix won't be able to "magically" make cc appear on all titles. They will have to pull all content from streaming that isn't already encoded with cc.

Adoption of new titles will slow to a crawl because they will have to make sure cc is in place before they can add it.

Meanwhile, they will still be losing content to attrition as licenses expire.

Netflix will crash and burn as subscribers jump ship due to lack of content and the stock price bottoms out. In the end, both the hearing and the deaf will have lost yet another avenue for consuming content.

How is this a good thing again?

Eye Roll

Talk about first world problems. If you, deaf or hearing, think movies are a human right you are a soft, coddled, fool.

ssj

lol

considering watching movies the way you want to a "human right" only in America

jheartney

I think the expense involved in doing captioning is minimal; nearly all the content under discussion already has captions created for it, and (finally) most of the devices for showing it have the option of displaying those captions. It's really just a matter of having content providers bother to implement.

Anyone remember how much more expensive TV got back around 1990 when CC for broadcast started? Me neither. That's because it's a tiny expense in the larger scheme of things.

Anyway, it's legally mandated. The discussion of whether video content providers need to do this has already happened, and is settled.

Mek

People do not choose to have a hearing loss. It chooses you. People with a hearing loss have a right to participate in society. All of you people who have an issue with this will be singing a very different tune when you either give birth to a deaf child, have a family member who loses their hearing due to old age or you yourself lose your hearing.
Lawsuits are a hassle but the fact is the limited captioning and empty promises of 80 percent only came about due to a lawsuit. Netflix did not do it because it was right. Netflix has used all kinds of empty promises of it's coming as a delay tactic and it is backfiring on them.
Now on to the argument that it takes time and money to provide captions. I am sorry but that is just a load of" ______" Netlfix nor any other company has yet to demonstrate that it is cost prohibitive to offer equal and full access. As for the rent the DVD statement, so you are saying that a Deaf person does not have the right to enjoy a streaming movie ? The whole benefit to a streaming movies is that you do not have to wait for the DVD to arrive or that you can watch it on your laptop as opposed to carrying a DVD and TV around with you.
Providing captions for streamingis readably achievable and can be done as Netflix itself has shown with it's limited captioning streaming. We still have a ways to go but the fact is in the not so far future nearly all media will be viewed via the internet and the future Deaf and Hard of Hearing have every right to enjoy the same access that they had when physical media was dominant.

Andy

I think people are getting too focused on the name "Human Rights Act". The lawsuit is actually about “full and equal enjoyment”... if you want to argue that deaf people dont deserve that right then feel free. I think its a small accommodation that the hearing world should make for my deaf daughter.

Add me to those who say Netflix should never have accepted digital content without CC. The information already existed, so how did it benefit them to launch without?

Bryan

This upsets me, and with the comments of others.. self righteous about equal rights.. pathetic.. It's not like netflix doesn't let people watch movies if they're deaf. How is it a violation of equal rights when you get the same thing as everyone else.

Can blind people sue because they don't have an audio track describing what's going on in the movies?

If i'm dyslexic should they dub foreign movies for me? because i can't read subtitles.

Oh right, netflix should also offer morse code for those who are deaf and blind..

You should be thankful for what you have. And stop trying to take things away from the people who are more fortunate than yourself.

All you're saying is "If we can't get CC on these movies, we don't want anyone watching them!!!!"

Muh

It's not about deaf-bashing, but about that it's not a "human right" to have subtitles on a streaming service. To say that is to shit on actual human rights.

If you don't like it, vote with your money. I hope I never get sued for not knowing sign language.

Mek

Bryan in answer to your questions

Q: How is it a violation of equal rights when you get the same thing as everyone else?

A: Everyone else got a movie they could understand and follow. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing got a movie they could not follow and understand due to a condition beyond their control. They did not get the same thing. By adding captions to the stream it allows the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to get the same thing as everyone else

Q: Can Blind People sue because they don't have an audio track describing what's going on in the movie?

A: Technically yes but fortunately due to the fact that they can hear what is going in the movie many of those who are blind or low vision do not need any additional description to follow the movie.Also it's widely assumed that most blind people see nothing. Not true many can see something and have special screen enlargers that allow them to view various types of media and print. There is such a thing as descriptive audio service that is available with some media but that is a separate issue that may or may not be addressed in the future.

Q: If I am dyslexic. Should they dub foreign movies for me ?

A: Dyslexics can read. There are many forms of dyslexia but the bottom line it they can learn to read but it takes longer and it's more challenging. Since the vast majority of Foreign films have an option for dubbed audio track it is not likely to be an issue.

Q: Should Morse Code be used for the Deaf and Blind?

A: Maybe you were joking but just in case you were serious. The answer is no. Morse code is either in light flashes or clicks both require sight and sound. So I am not sure how this would ever work. Even if the blind person could see lights and shadows morse code is cumbersome and not an effective way to communicate large amounts of information.

and finally while not a question this demands a response
You said:
"You should be thankful for what you have. And stop trying to take things away from the people who are more fortunate than yourself.
All you're saying is "If we can't get CC on these movies, we don't want anyone watching them!!!!"

My response:
No one said that. Name one TV Network, Movie Studio or theatre chain that shut down because they were required to provide access ? No where in the post or description of the law suit does it say Either provide full captions or shut down and take it away from the rest!

If indeed the addition of captions is too expensive or cumbersome Netflix should have no trouble demonstrating that in court and they will be cleared. Netflix has yet to demonstrate that or even make that argument they simply keep saying "Its coming" and it has been YEARS!

paul

Here's my worry: Say there's a movie (called Movie) that a small number of Netflix customers are interested in seeing. Netflix can get the rights to Movie for $, and the bean-counters say the price is fair based on demand (or however it's done). But with the additional cost of captioning the movie, the total cost is too high given the level of demand. So Netflix decides not to offer Movie. That is, the needs of a tiny minority of people prevent anyone from being able to see Movie on Netflix. That doesn't seem fair, and (hopefully?) isn't what the deaf community really wants to say to the world: if I can't have it, nobody can.

Mek

Do not worry. Netflix was never sued for renting out DVDs that never had captions in the first place. It falls on the studios to provide a captioned product. The argument is that Netflix is not providing the captions that are readably available. They can stream the same captions and subtitles that were on the DVD. No one is asking Netflix to develop an in-house captioning department for content they receive without captions. Netflix has never said it was a financial issue they just keep saying "It's coming"
Furthermore Netflix does not even stock movies that have a limited demand captions or not!

Bryan

all my scenarios were jokes.. but the point remains the same...

Lets take the dyslexia one again.. if i had a learning disability, and was never able to learn to read.. would i be able to sue netflix because of the foreign movies that weren't dubbed? and yell "DISCRIMINATION!!! EITHER TAKE THEM DOWN FOR EVERYONE, OR GIVE ME A DUBBED VERSION!!!"

But seriously, where does it end? If shit like this is allowed to happen, then equal rights means nothing. They didn't take away the CC they simply never had it... so... They are paying for a service KNOWING what to get out of it..

another joke example.. If i didn't have legs, i wouldn't buy a treadmill and then sue them for discrimination because i couldn't use it.

In response to : "No where in the post or description of the law suit does it say Either provide full captions or shut down and take it away from the rest!"

They did say that they would HAVE to add CC to all the streaming movies.. which would mean they'd have to instantly add CC to all the current streaming movies (unlikely).. OR take down the streaming movies without CC and add them back as they get CC... it was just a logical conclusion.

Deaf Lyfe

Bryan,

what would you do if Netflix only had audio only and not video? you'd complain?

Mek

When you need to use joke scenarios that will never occur to make a point, one would conclude your point is pointless.

Hope you never lose your hearing and if you do hopefully the future will contain less people like yourself so you will be allowed to enjoy the rest of the media everyone else gets to enjoy

Bryan

To Deaf Lyfe: If netflix took away the video, I'd complain.. if they never offered video, i'd probably have never heard of them, and i wouldn't have an account with them, so i wouldn't care.

Why don't deaf people sue spotify, pandora too.. savages delivering media that deaf people can't enjoy.. BLAH!


To Mek: Joke scenarios; as in humorous. Please explain to me why they shouldn't happen? Are they not the same thing? would the person that couldn't read not have the SAME EXACT plight as the deaf people?

But you're saying the deaf people are more important? That the illiterate people don't matter?

I just want to know where the line is for equal rights? and why place the line there. If you want true equal rights, then netflix would be free, because some people can't afford it... They'd have CC, they'd have audio descriptions of what's going on, they'd have versions of the movie where they talk slower so people can understand it.. they'd have every movie dubed in every language.. so on so on so forth..

NOTE i'm not contesting the fact that Netflix should CC their movies.. I'm simply arguing the lawsuit, and it's ridiculousness.. and people that say: "So screw all of you people who are ignorant of equality."

And i love scenarios because they make awesome comparisons to help understand my point of view..

Do you not think if people can sue netflix for not having CC on all their streaming movies.. then a blind person should be able to sue every library that doesn't offer all of the books in braille?

I would really like someone explain that to me, how equal rights can just be applied to certain areas but not others.. I think it's ridiculous.

Welcome to the grey area.

Mek

Because a joke scenario would not happen. Someone with no legs can not use a treadmill under any circumstances so it has no bearing.

A deaf person can however enjoy streaming content with captions. Captions are in fact very easy to implement and the part you keep missing is the fact that the captions are already there netflix just has to stream it. The captions were prepared when the DVD was made and can be easily ported over. Netflix has proven it can be done and made the promise they would do it for 80 percent of their programing but then never followed through with the promise.

Pandora and Spotify etc those examples do not apply. There is no way to add something to the music that will allow the Deaf to enjoy it.

No the Dyslexia plight is not the same a dyslexic can still learn to read and make use of the subtitles. A Deaf person can never learn to hear.

I am not sure where you got the idea that I was trying to say Deaf people were more important. Did not say that at all

Libraires do generally offer books on tapes and books with braille. If they refused yes indeed a blind person could sue the town. The same way a person with no legs using a wheel chair can sue a library if they have nothing but stairs and no ramps for them to get into it. And before you come back at me with the illiterate example no a library is not obligated to hire someone to read the book to them, simply put being illiterate is not a disability.

This particular lawsuit is about Deaf access if one of the other groups such as dyslexics who never learned to read want to sue over for dubbed as opposed to subtitle options they are free to do so my guess is they would lose that one because technically they can learn to read.

Your netflix being free analogy for people who can not afford it, I don't see the connection. So I can't really respond sorry

All of these lawsuits are happening under the Americans with Disabilities act. Its a huge law that is often seen as giving special rights to people with disabilities but I have read this law and believe me when I tell you it has many things in there that will protect a business entity from unreasonable or unfair demands. Let me go back to the library - lets say they got sued for a wheelchair ramp - the library doesn't even have the money to get new books then most likely the library will be cleared on the undue burden waiver.

If Netflix can not afford to add captioning or if it was simply not possible (lets say for example captions took up too much bandwidth in the streaming process (that is not true but just for the sake of the argument lets say it is) then Netflix could be cleared of its obligation to offer equal access

so to sum up why I support these lawsuits

1) It can be done easily
2) It truly does allow a deaf person to enjoy the content
3) Netflix said they would do it and then hoped we would forget
4) Netflix is not being asked to "type" or "make" the captions just to stream the captions that have already been prepared

As for the argument of multiple types of devices and platforms that is simply the biggest load of ___________ There are many brands of DVD players and TVs and yet every single DVD that has captions or subtitles will work on every DVD/TV set up


Old Timer Too

I dropped streaming because closed captioning is not available. We are getting older and as we age, our hearing can not longer sort out conversations in a noisy room. As a result, we watch most of our entertainment with closed captioning on (when it is available). Because CC is not streamed, we now go with DVDs only.

Mek

Yes I also dropped streaming for the same reason but what do you plan to do when DVDs are no longer made and everything is only avail be via internet streaming ?

gir

That's the right thing to do. A boycott would send a much louder message than a court case, especially right now when NetFlix can ill afford to loose any more customers.

That said, NetFlix was *monumentally* stupid to not establish standards for text and graphic overlay to be implemented in every player from the very beginning (they'll need to support more than just english captions). It isn't like some guy started streaming out of their garage. They should be punished in court for that alone.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Sponsors

Third-Party Netflix Sites