Apple recently released the newest version of Apple TV, its digital media player and microconsole, with some exciting new features, including universal search and Siri voice integration. Not only can viewers use Siri to control video playback (pause, rewind, fast forward), they can instantly rewind 15 seconds and temporarily turn on closed captions if they’re having trouble hearing the dialogue simply by asking, “What did s/he say?”
This advancement in technology affirms what a lot of people already know: many, MANY hearing people also use closed captions. Whispered speech, people talking over each other, and blockbuster sound effects can all make determining exactly what is being said extremely challenging. Offline caption editors–and I say this with years of personal experience–sometimes have to hit rewind over and over (AND OVER) again to be able to hear the correct transcription. Another common reason hearing people choose to use closed captions is because of heavy accents. In Netflix’s new hit show, Master of None, Dev and his friends are binge-watching Sherlock together, and Arnold points out that, while he’s still enjoying the artfulness of the show, he can hardly make out a word Benedict Cumberbatch is saying:
This feature is a great step for providing viewers with a better user experience when it comes to closed captioning. People who want them on the entire program still have that option, and for those who only want them in a pinch, all they have to do is ask.