After a couple of posts on Netflix, our reader email is starting to look like Netflix’s customer service complaint line (although I gather Netflix doesn’t offer customer service via email anymore). But there’s one complaint about the streaming video service that jumped out: the limited availability of closed captioning for the hearing impaired.
TPM Reader DG:
As a hard of hearing person who relies on closed captioning, Netflix streaming is a non-starter. While they apparently added the technical capability to their service last spring, there is a marked lack of commitment on both Netflix and the content providers to actually provide captioned material.
Last I heard, there were fewer than 100 titles available with closed captions. Just as importantly, there does not appear to be any way to search or filter for closed captioned titles.
Apple’s service isn’t much better in the number of titles, but it does provide a CC search filter.
TPM Reader GR:
It is frustrating for those of us with some hearing impairment (about 50% in my case, mostly at the higher end) to strain to hear, sometimes in vain, what we’re paying to watch. Earlier this year Netflix rolled out some closed-captioning on some titles, notably LOST. It is a vastly inferior substitute for the subtitles that already come packaged into every DVD.
If my family history is any indication, I’ll soon be in need of closed captioning, too. (What do you mean “soon,” my wife would interject.) How about it Netflix?
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.