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WGBH Receives Mobile Media Access Grant

From: Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 10:36:20 -0400
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <3B186CC5-8B70-4A59-B1EA-77B3AF158685@wgbh.org>

Of interest to list members.

Geoff Freed


August 28, 2007

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WGBH receives $600,000 grant to develop solutions for captioning  
handheld media for deaf and hard of hearing citizens

WGBH has received a $600,000 grant from the Department of Education's  
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (http:// 
www.ed.gov), to support its groundbreaking efforts to make handheld  
media accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing,  
President Henry Becton Jr. announced today.

Titled "Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile  
Devices" (award number H133G070122), the grant provides WGBH's Carl  
and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)  
with $600,000 over three years to research and develop technical  
solutions for delivering captioned content to iPods, cell phones,  
PDAs and other mobile devices.

"From TV programs to school science experiments to corporate training  
presentations, more and more video content is being delivered through  
handheld media," said Larry Goldberg, Director of Media Access for  
WGBH. "Yet the 28 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing  
can't fully benefit from this content because it lacks captions."

Currently, Goldberg said, none of the existing technologies for  
producing and distributing content via mobile devices possesses the  
technical requirements needed to transmit captions. In addition, the  
few video-enabled handheld devices that have the technical capability  
to receive captioned content don't offer any controls that would  
enable deaf or hard of hearing users to access those captions.

Through the grant, WGBH will research ways of embedding captioning  
solutions within handheld devices and develop prototypes that will  
serve as proof-of-concept models for the mobile technology industry  
and public policymakers. WGBH also will explore and develop  
strategies for captioning media that is streamed directly to mobile  
devices via wireless networks, multi-channel DTV distribution or  
downloaded to desktop computers and then transferred to mobile devices.

Technology partners that will provide development platforms for  
WGBH's research include AOL®, Hewlett-Packard Company, the Open Media  
Network and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Content partners MacNeil/ 
Lehrer Productions (producer of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) and  
Hewlett-Packard, meanwhile, will join WGBH in providing a range of  
video content to be viewed on project prototypes during user testing  
by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

WGBH made history in the 1970s when it invented captioning for deaf  
and hard-of-hearing TV viewers. It later pioneered Descriptive Video  
Service® (DVS®)—which provides blind and visually impaired viewers  
with an audio narration of a program's visual elements—before  
developing MoPix®, its patented system that provides captions and  
descriptive video for feature films. More than 300 theaters in the  
U.S. and Canada now offer the MoPix technology, enabling patrons with  
disabilities to enjoy first-run feature films at the same time as  
their sighted and/or hearing family and friends.

This year, WGBH marked the 35th anniversary of the first-ever  
captioned television broadcast: an episode of WGBH's beloved cooking  
series, The French Chef with Julia Child.

"As content continues to migrate from TV to the Web and now to mobile  
devices," Goldberg said, "it's gratifying for WGBH to receive funding  
that will support our continuing efforts to make all media accessible  
to people with disabilities."

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcaster, producing  
such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece Theatre, Antiques  
Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience and more than a dozen  
other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children's series.  
Boston's last remaining independent TV station, WGBH produces local  
TV productions (among them, Greater Boston, Basic Black and Maria  
Hinojosa One-on-One) that focus on the region's diverse community,  
while WGBH 89.7 FM is Boston's NPR Arts & Culture station, offering a  
rich menu of classical, jazz, blues, news programming and more. WGBH  
is the leading producer of online content for pbs.org—one of the most- 
visited dot-org sites on the Internet—a major producer for public  
radio and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new  
technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities.  
For its efforts, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors,  
including Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys and duPont-Columbia Journalism  
Awards. Visit WGBH on the Web at www.wgbh.org.

Received on Friday, 31 August 2007 14:36:36 UTC

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