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Captions now available on many Channel 9 videos

Hey folks, starting a few years back, Channel 9 has been working to add caption support to our videos. There are two sides needed to make this happen; first we needed support in our code to store the captions, associate them with a video and display them in our primary players (Silverlight and HTML 5). Second, we needed to actually have captions created for our content!

Well, the first was an engineering problem, and we managed that quite a long time ago, but the second took quite a bit longer. At this point though, I feel we can declare some measure of victory. New content published by the Channel 9 team is being professionally captioned in English, then Bing's translation service is used to convert those captions into 13 languages (Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Czech, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish). These captions are available when viewing the content on the site, through either the Silverlight player or the HTML 5 player. Here are some shots of what it should look like:

Silverlight

HTML 5 in IE

HTML 5 in Chrome (note that you don't get a choice of languages here, as of the current version)

 

Our HTML 5 support is limited by whatever the browser provides, so in IE for example, you get a list of languages to pick from, in Chrome you only get one, in FireFox you get no captions at all. As more browsers support the spec though, and the Web VTT format that we are using, captions should just automatically start working.

One note, if you are using an iOS device, is that support does exist for captions on that platform as of iOS 7, but you have to turn it on (and pick your language) via a device wide setting.

Please check out some captioned videos (like this one) and let us know what you think in the comments!

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