CEA-608 Closed Captions Pave Way for CEA-708 Closed Captions

CEA 608 Closed Captions Pave Way for CEA-708 Closed Captions

CEA-608 and CEA-708 captions are the two closed caption standards for broadcast television. CEA-608 captions are the old standard used in analog television while CEA-708 captions are the new standard format used in current digital television broadcasts. (CEA – Consumer Electronics Association)

In the US, with the signing of DTV Delay Act in 2009, analog television was officially replaced by digital television. This required the captioning providers to switch from CEA-608 captions to CEA-708 captions. Although CEA-608 captions are still supported by digital television, CEA-708 captions are considered to be the preferred choice as CEA-708 caption standard complies with the FCC closed caption regulations.

With the DTV Delay Act, analog television slowly moved out from modern use; CEA-608 captions will also wean away from use.

CEA-608 Closed Captions (Line 21 Captions)

Analog broadcast television used to use 608-captions as their standard; however, 608-standard can also be embedded in digital television. These closed captions are displayed in conventional uppercase with black-box background. 608 captions can be viewed only if you have a decoder as they are concealed in the Line 21 data area of the analog television signal. This is the reason why 608 captions are also known as Line-21 Captions. There are two fields in Line-21; first field is normally used to transmit English captions while the second field is used for Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German and Dutch closed captions. The main problem with 608-caption standard is that it does not adhere to many of the FCC closed caption regulations.

CEA-708 Closed Captions

708 captions are low bandwidth textual, and it is the standard used by all digital television broadcasts. 708-caption standard is much more advanced than CEA-608 captions. This captions standard is used in both standard-definition and high-definition digital broadcasts; it is a misconception that 708-captions are only used in high-definition channels. With 708 caption standard, viewers can control appearance of the captions. This standard allows viewers to select font options, text sizes, text colors and background colors. In CEA-708 captions there are 8 options for font, 3 for text sizes, 64 for text colors and 64 for background colors. CEA-708 caption does not work in analog television broadcasts. 708 captions support almost all languages used across the world. This standard also supports any special character or symbol. 708 captions have multilingual competence, which allows the broadcasters to reach out to a wider audience across the world.

The following article was written by Digital Nirvana CEO Hiren Hindocha, and published on TV Technology here

Captioning for television has come a long way since it was first introduced in 1972 when the most popular cooking show of the time,“The French Chef” with Julia Child, was captioned.

The idea of captioning was quickly embraced by deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and grew in popularity with general audiences as well since it helped viewers clearly interpret their favorite programs. Closed captioning steadily evolved from conventional methods to voice writing, to what is currently a far more automated process. The application of closed captioning has also evolved as it now improves the discoverability of video content and cognitive modeling (simulating human problem solving in a computerized model) for automated analysis of broadcast content.

Creators of news and sports content face new challenges with the latest FCC regulations, which designate video clips of live and near-live TV programming published online have up to 12-hour and 8-hour delays in posting closed captioning after the programming has appeared on TV, respectively. Existing FCC closed-captioning quality rules also require non-live programming captions to be accurate, complete and in-sync with the dialogues. While content producers may view it as a challenge to stream video content that’s in compliance with this law, there are multiple captioning services that can be used to ensure regulatory compliance while simultaneously improving user experience.


5 quick Facts on Commercial Advertisement Loudness mitigation Act

What is Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM ) Act? If you are a broadcaster, you have to keep your commercial audio level at about the same level as your actual programming audio level. For example, you can’t have the programming audio at some level and then have your commercial screaming at the audience. Earlier days, this was something that used to happen all the time, the programming audio used to be at certain level and then the commercials come up right on your face. The regulation act to monitor this is called CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act in the United States. Lot of other countries, like Canada and EU, also have very similar laws. However, there are differences as far as permitted decibel (Db) levels are concerned, but the rule is very similar.

5 Quick Facts:
1.When was CALM Act adopted and came into effect?
This rule was adopted by FCC on 13th December, 2011 and it came into effect one year after its adoption i.e. 13th December 2012. The one-year interval between adoption and effectiveness was given basically for the television stations and pay TV providers to do the adjustments to be in complete compliance with this Act.

2.Does CALM Act require FCC to regulate loud commercials?
Yes. CALM Act requires Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose financial penalties for the broadcasters who fail to meet this responsibility.

3.Does this rule pertain to only commercials?
Yes. The CALM Act only addresses loudness issues on commercials and doesn’t address loudness variations between programs or channels.

4.Does CALM Act apply to radio and internet commercials as well?
No. This Act doesn’t apply for radio and interment commercials; only television commercials fall under this Act.

5.What will the FCC do when they receive customer complaints?
FCC evaluates the commercial facing the question and they would track the commercial to see if there are patterns or trends that recommend a necessity for enforcement action.

How are broadcasters tackling this? With the technological advancements, broadcasters adopt different ways to monitor their content to check if they comply with the regulations. Digital Nirvana’s Monitor IQ is one such broadcast monitoring product that can seamlessly monitor live broadcast content 24*7, do compliance recording and send out alerts. Monitor IQ also helps large broadcasters capture content from multiple sources and publish to multiple digital platforms while monitoring for quality and compliance.

Closed captioning and sports clipping services among booth highlights

Fremont, CA, October 10, 2017 – Digital Nirvana will showcase its full suite of media management products and services at the upcoming NAB Show New York. Booth highlights will include closed captioning solutions, automated sports clipping service, and the newest version of the MonitorIQ media management platform. NAB Show New York takes place October 18-19 at the Javits Convention Center, and Digital Nirvana will exhibit in booth N662.

“We enjoy NAB New York because it gives us a chance to connect with many regional current and potential customers that may not have attended recent international shows, such as IBC,” said Hiren Hindocha, President and CEO, Digital Nirvana. “We create smart media management solutions that streamline workflows, and our newest solutions and services were developed in response to consumer demand in the ever-changing broadcast and content creation landscape. We look forward to showing attendees how our technologies can improve their operations.”


One booth highlight will be the company’s all-in-one automated sports clipping service. Introduced earlier this year, the service enables broadcasters to easily capture and share every fast-paced moment in a game. Offering a state-of-the-art workflow and customization options, the service automatically analyzes sports broadcasts in real-time and generates ready-to-publish clips of those highlights. Digital Nirvana’s sports clipping service is coupled with automated caption synchronization, enabling sports broadcasters to publish sports media content online and via social media without any considerable time delay while complying with all FCC regulations. Watch this video to learn more about the sports clipping service.

Another NAB Show New York highlight will be the company’s cloud-based closed captioning, subtitling, and video logging services. Offering post-production, pop-on, and roll-up captioning services, the company offers high-quality caption generation for all pre-recorded and online video content through an automated process over the cloud. Digital Nirvana’s cloud-based caption synchronization technologies use audio fingerprinting to automate near-live synchronization of live broadcast captions. Automated speech-to-text conversion, coupled with state-of-the-art workflow and experienced captioners, reduces the time and cost to publish, provides better search engine discoverability – while complying with FCC guidelines.


On the product side, Digital Nirvana will showcase its MonitorIQ media management platform, which delivers a full range of multi-channel signal monitoring, repurposing, logging, compliance and archiving functions. The latest version of MonitorIQ, V5.0, features cloud-based recording, OTT stream monitoring functions, and HTML5 and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) support, and incorporates the ability to record from Matrox’s Monarch HDX streaming appliance. Digital Nirvana will also showcase its standalone media management products, including the CAR/TS (Capture, Analyze, Replay – Transport Stream) transport stream recorder, which records and monitors the transport stream, provides alerts of non-compliance, offers time-shifted playout, and allows users to cut segments and export section of the transport stream for more detailed analysis. Other standalone product highlights include AnyStreamIQ for cloud-based OTT monitoring and MediaPro for content repurposing.