Solving the challenges of close captioning on the web is not optional anymore, but a requirement as part of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.

Without getting into the specific government requirements (it’s a mandate soon in the US), what are the options on the online video player side? Adobe’s Andrew Kirkpatrick highlights some of the initiatives in this blog post.

Adobe has helped those delivering video via Flash deliver closed captioning for several years. Flash CS3 included support for TTML (then known as DFXP) back in 2007 and has provided similar support for TTML in the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF). [via Adobe Accessibility blog]

He also highlights the efforts around SMPTE-TT and WebVTT. WebVTT enables CC for HTML5 video, as described on the Adobe Web Platform Team Blog.

WebVTT support within browsers is growing in part due to Adobe’s contributions to WebKit.  Here’s some of the work coming out of this effort and how you can try it out yourself. Support for more advanced display features is an on-going effort and in this blog post I will highlight how developers will be able to use the element to position text anywhere on top of a video. [via Adobe Web Platform Team Blog].

Victor Carbune further explains how to use WebVTT in webkit browsers, specifically the track element. To learn more about WebVTT, visit the Web Media Text Tracks Community Group.

Andrew Kirkpatrick summarizes Adobe’s efforts.

The bottom line for Adobe is that end users who depend on captions need complete information to provide access to video and audio content and developers and video providers need efficient solutions that fit into their overall video workflow. Whether providing implementations for a developed standard or engaging in a standards development activity, we will work to ensure that both end user and video provider needs are met. [via Adobe Accessibility blog]

Close captioning is a challenge and requires an investment, but thankfully there are multiple options to efficiently enable it. There also appears to be a public Request for Exemption from FCC’s Closed Captioning Rules form on the FCC website.