European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, VOICE Project
Media > Televisions > Harmonization > Exploratory Research July 2001 > ICT Meeting

Development and harmonisation of subtitling
in European television broadcasting
22nd ICT Standards Board meeting
Sophia Antipolis (Nice, France) 3rd July 2001

The presentation by the representative of the Joint Research Centre was an opportunity for discussing of the difficulties encountered by people with hearing impairment in accessing television broadcasts. The group felt that there were some technical aspects that had to be investigated in view of harmonising the standards, while other points were more related to management organisation and political decisions. Nevertheless, even for these more general aspects, a technical recommendation by the group could help as a first fixed reference.

Some points that presented a self-evident need of harmonisation were the different Teletext pages used for subtitling in the different countries (pages 777 or 888 respectively) and the lack of a button on the tele-command for directly addressing such pages. Also the opportunity of a symbol, indicating on the screen that the broadcast is subtitled, appeared as a good suggestion. Several other points indicated in the presented documents (time-code synchronisation, number of lines and use of colours, etc.) were also considered by the group and the representative of Cenelec proposed to further discuss of them in the next meeting of an other committee on the 5th July.

The group agreed on the need of taking some initiative in this field, which could be significant, not only for improving the technical aspects, but also for indirectly supporting other social and political actions, both for television broadcasts and DVD production. It considered that the reference to the 2003 European Year of Disabled People could be a good approach for organising the first activities, in view of further collaboration and convergence of common efforts. It also took note of some ideas on digital television harmonisation, transmitted by DG-INFSO.

The next meeting is foreseen in Geneve and this could be an opportunity for inviting the European Broadcasting Union in Geneve to join the discussion and reinforce collaboration.

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