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Still no closed captions on downloaded movies?

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Showing 1-25 of 342 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 25, 2008 6:47:51 AM PDT
It seems there are still no closed captions on downloaded movies. All DVDs now come with closed captions, why can't Amazon require these.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2008 9:43:56 AM PDT
I really really want the closed caption feature although I do not have a hearing problem. I would have bought many more shows had the captions been there. It is a pity.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2008 5:51:46 PM PDT
Yes! We need closed captions!!! I have an auditory-related learning disability -- I can read fine, but I can't always understand what I hear. And even though I can watch TV without captioning, being able to *read* what the people on TV are saying helps me enjoy the program that much more....

Not to mention, enabling closed captions can reach the audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing -- more people who can buy these downloads, and therefore, more $ for Amazon (and everyone else involved)!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2008 4:13:54 PM PDT
Major feature hole. We have three small children, which means the house is loud if they're awake or the TV is soft if they're asleep. CC is the parents' savior. Please correct this major omission.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2008 10:26:58 AM PDT
David K. says:
I am also concerned about this as well. I would have thought this feature (CC) was mandatory based on ADA laws? I am surprised that no one with a disability has filed a class action suit against Amazon yet for not have CC on any videos. It seems a major misstep seeing as how all of the major movies have already close captioned the movies anyway. It seems at a bare minimum that any movie that gets sold as a DVD w/ close captioning should also have it available on Amazon Unbox downloads.

Whenever I record a TV show w/ my TiVo, it also records the Close Caption information... so I know that Tivo units are capable of showing the Close Caption feature.

It is a shame that this has not been made more of a major issue yet. I guess it takes someone suing to get something like this higher priority for disabled people. That's sad.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2008 11:42:28 AM PDT
C. Vertz says:
I agree with all the reasons presented here. Closed captioning is essential to some, and is widely used outside the hearing impaired community. Technical problems are no excuse, CC has been standardized for decades and leaving it out of this format is just poor planning.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2008 1:54:54 PM PDT
Thank you for initiating this discussion. I need closed captions so that I can watch while others sleep. By alerting me that the closed captions won't show, you've saved me (brand new to looking into "unbox") time and energy I would have spent looking for the movies I wanted to buy.

Off to buy my movies in another form.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2008 11:20:12 PM PDT
Rose says:
I definitely would be more open to downloading more if there were closed captioning.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2008 1:13:35 PM PDT
I am glad there are other people out there that agree. I dont have a hearing problem, but CC gives you a better idea of what's going on in the show --- news broadcasts or radio broadcasts in the background, sound effects, etc. I rarely download movies and shows from Amazon and Xbox 360 because they dont have CC!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 4:26:46 PM PDT
Beartrap88 says:
I don't understand why closed captions would be stripped from the Unbox versions when every VCR and DVR is capable of recording them. Is the problem with the technology or with intellectual property rights?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2008 9:59:17 AM PDT
Tom Corbin says:
seems to me that if youtube can do closed captions, amazon could too.

If they at least *say* that they are working on it, that would be something.

Captions are very important to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2008 7:20:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 23, 2008 7:23:40 PM PDT
"I am surprised that no one with a disability has filed a class action suit against Amazon yet for not have CC on any videos."

I think only broadcast television content is required to have CC.
I have significant hearing loss and Amazon Unbox content can often be a waste of money for lack of closed captioning.
Whatever their reasons for removing or not supporting closed captioning, they've lost me as a customer.
I'm done with Unbox. It hasn't improved since it started and I doubt it will.

Perhaps Amazon doesn't make enough money on Unbox to consider it worth spending a buck to improve it.
A shame really. It's a great concept.
Perhaps someone else will get it right.

Posted on Nov 14, 2009 1:02:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2009 1:13:42 PM PST
Although this thread was started in 2008, about 1.5 years ago, I think it is worth updating ourselves on this matter. Has moved to do anything about their lack of closed captioning? This year Netflix has endured a bit of a scandal in which their CEO seemed to indicate he really didn't care that much about the captioning issue and finally their Chief Product Officer responded in a blog that they were working on it but the due date was a year away (June 2010).

Here is the blog:

Here is one blog which discusses the outing of the Netflix CEO as someone who actually really didn't care.

referencing this:

"[...] I mentioned that did indeed offer captions, and I said (paraphrased), "It sounds like you're not planning to do anything to add captions to your site. Am I correct in understanding that you don't plan on making your online videos accessible to the disabled?" Mr. Hastings said he would check out, but essentially agreed that adding captions wasn't an active agenda item. Now, I don't want to go Kanye West on anyone, but it didn't feel like Mr. Hastings or Netflix cares about deaf people."


Anyway, for those of us keen to see closed captions, increased subtitles and additional features available online just as with DVDs, as best I can tell the difference between our treatment of Netflix and Amazon is that Netflix is a fixed price all-you-can-watch buffet and is perceived as a bit more of a pay-for-individual-premium-viewing site. I'm not sure whether any of these perceived differences should cause us to treat differently. They deserve harsh criticism on these matters, as does Netflix. Also, Netflix has discussion forums that are there but it's not really clear if they are netflix's and it seems kind of clear that Netflix ignores points like this. Amazon's forums strike me subjectively (without having used them much or at all) as very difficult to find, or at least to find what I want to discuss. It took me awhile.

Actress Marlee Matlin has brought attention to Netflix's shortcomings in this area and to legislation designed I guess to expand access to closed captions. I think in general those of us who discuss this matter should expand the criticism to

We have also been discussing these matters at the roku video player forum which can be accessed here:

This is because many of us access amazon VOD and netflix instant watch only through the roku player, or similar devices I guess.

Posted on Feb 22, 2011 6:43:34 AM PST
Topher says:
so this discussion seems to be almost dead. however, we recently got a Roku and wanted to turn on closed captioning in a movie we watched last night from Amazon VOD, but didn't seem to have the option. is this STILL not supported or am I missing something??

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2011 9:18:02 AM PST
nikeairj says:
I'd like to know this too before I go ahead and pay for Amazon Prime. Not just for Roku, but for streaming on the browser as well.

Posted on Feb 22, 2011 5:38:50 PM PST
Vicki O says:
I was considering Amazon prime until I read here about no CC. I am hearing impaired and TV/movies are useless to me with no closed caption.

Posted on Feb 24, 2011 5:01:50 PM PST
Sprkymrt says:
While getting older seems to make it harder for me to hear some of the dialogue in the movies, I think the problem extends to music also, especially classical music. Since they are able to extend the sound range and volume, the soft sounds and whispers get lower, and the loud parts get louder. I have found myself turning the volume up on music or movies only to jump out of my seat when a sudden increase in loudness comes along. With the movies at least a choice would be reasonable.

Posted on Feb 27, 2011 2:09:20 PM PST
Twelve months ago, we tried to set up video d/l from Amazon to our TV. My query to Amazon regarding CC at that time yielded a rather tepid, negative response. We simply chose to get our movies on DVD and our TV shows from DirecTV, both of which include the very important captioning.

I do not know whether the technology for CC in streaming video or d/l video is something Amazon controls or not. We finally did watch a streaming video from Amazon last night, but it was a foreign language film with English subtitles.

Posting our legitimate concerns on a forum here on Amazon is not likely to do any good, but I do wonder what it will take to get some action? Possibly the aging Baby Boomers will begin losing their hearing in sufficient quantities to provide the needed demand.

If the ability to include CC in videos is something within Amazon's control, and they simply will not do it, shame on them. I love Amazon, but that is hardly consumer centric.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2011 8:11:46 PM PST
Like all the other viewers who are unhappy about the lack of Closed Captions on streaming videos I would like to take the streaming video industry out to the woodshed for a lesson in smart. I have hundreds of old movies with CC no longer in print that I still enjoy. The facts are that CC (as different from Subtitles) are included on a DVD as a separate file from the video data while subtitles are included within the video data. Transmitting Closed Captions would require changes in all the elements of the transmission system. At present the capture equipment and the ROKU streaming hardware simply aren't designed to transmit the extra CC file. I may be guessing here, but with the industry trying to promote the new BluRay system which usually has subtitles included with the video ( and couldn't use the CC file data anyway since the HDMI interpreter feed can't accept them), they are hoping that the old CC system and it's supporters will die off. My solution for my old DVDs was to use two DVD players: one is a BluRay player with an HDMI connector and the other is an older Samsung that reads the closed captions and feeds the TV through the RCA (red,white and yellow) connectors. This doesn't help anybody with the streamed video problem though. In short, Closed Captions are old technology on their way to the graveyard and it probably doesn't make financial sense to revise the streaming video system to transmit them. But we can always hope.

Posted on Mar 4, 2011 1:39:00 PM PST
Many people, save those who watch foreign films, aren't aware there are technological differences between subtitles and closed captions. It is possible to have streaming video with subtitles. I stream Hulu via a media server to my Western Digital Live media player to watch shows with captions on my TV (when captions are available). The underlying problem is that while broadcasters are required to provide captions on live TV, they often don't transcode the captions for internet viewing or digital download. This is not an arduous process.

Posted on Mar 5, 2011 10:26:27 PM PST
I can't believe it is 2011 and Amazon does not have closed captioning for their purchased videos. I hope they rectify this situation soon.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2011 10:13:27 PM PST
Tony Ibrahim says:
decades if you classify 1995 as being decades away

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2011 10:15:57 PM PST
Tony Ibrahim says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 9, 2011 5:13:19 AM PST
Jimmy Changa says:
I am a true believer in the Amazon experience and their business model. I am also severely hearing impaired and even with the latest hearing aid technology with bluetooth connection to my PC/TV combination I miss about one word in four. Closed captions or English subtitles are my data fill-in for satisfactory viewing. Alas these are missing on Amazon downloads except for foreign language films! Australian English is well nigh impossible to understand without some text clues! Amazon, who usually listens to their customers, is deaf to modifying their streaming downloads as witnessed by this long running thread. I can only assume that what gets recorded here is not monitored or worse is evaluated by someone in India who doesn't see the value of increasing the market by 20%, and having lots more customers excited by the Amazon experience. I live in hope!

Posted on Mar 9, 2011 10:48:03 AM PST
Topher says:
Good point about whether this is monitored or not. I just used Amazon's Contact Us feature and ask that someone respond to this thread. I'm an avid Amazon customer as well, and feel that they probably are interested in this lack of functionality, especially in light of the fact that Hulu does offer closed captioning on at least some of their content.
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Participants:  134
Total posts:  342
Initial post:  Mar 25, 2008
Latest post:  Sep 16, 2014

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