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BBC trials live iPlayer subtitles

BBC_iPlayerThe BBC is trialling subtitles for live channels on BBC iPlayer, in what the UK broadcaster claims is a “first for any major video on-demand service in the world”.

The trial is currently available on PC and Mac computers and will allow deaf and hearing-impaired viewers to watch more BBC TV programmes, with subtitles previously only available for on-demand programmes.

The BBC said that it will test and improve the feature over the coming months before it is rolled out to the BBC iPlayer app for mobiles and tablets. Over time it will also be available on connected TVs.

“The BBC is already a world-leading provider of accessible services – but we know there is always more to do. We want to ensure our content and services are accessible to everyone,” said the BBC’s head of accessibility, Gareth Ford Williams.

According to the BBC, almost 2 million programmes a day, or 20% of all on-demand programmes, are currently watched using subtitles on BBC iPlayer, indicating “huge demand” for the feature to be extended to live content.

The news comes after Ericsson announced last month that it had partnered with BBC Research & Development on a proof of concept that the companies claim, “significantly reduces latency” in live captioning.