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Customer Discussions > Amazon Instant Video forum

Where are the closed captions?

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Showing 1-25 of 42 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 15, 2012, 10:45:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012, 10:52:48 AM PDT
I have been requesting this, including here on this forum, since approx. 2007-2008. Others have been doing so also. I have always guessed that it was more or less a wasted effort politely to request something like this from Amazon and I have apparently been right. Even so, occasionally you would get the fellow poster who would suggest or admonish you to contact Amazon directly or the like. And so, even knowing that it was likely an abject waste of paying user time, once or twice I did this.

Likewise, I have posted on the roku forums about this and you would get the admonishment to post here. And so even knowing that it was likely a waste of time, I did this also.

In the end, the "likely" waste of time became a "confirmed" waste of time.

And so if there are any readers tempted to admonish me with:

"There are other threads", I'd say: I know, so what? Amazon isn't listening to two and probably won't listen to three, but maybe (outside chance) there will be a threshold level of number of threads that will add to the point where they will actually bother to think about this.

"Sign the petition thread". I did.

"Not everyone wants this, it is a business issue to Amazon". Actually I don't fully buy that argument. I think it is also possibly a corporate laziness issue. Amazon is just not "that" great in terms of corporate principles, and it is most definitely *not* true, in my view, that all corporations always listen carefully to customers and make excellent decisions as to what will make them money in the long run or even in the short run. Sometimes, or even quite often, they do not listen well and-or they do not exercise good judgment.

"Go use someone else, such as Netflix". I'm thinking about it. I stopped using Netflix a couple of years ago and started upping the amount I pay Amazon for videos (about $50-$100 per month I'd estimate) when it became clear that Netflix's library ease-in of CC's was taking too long and I wasn't sure if it covered enough of a percent of their library, and they broke their promise or indication of making it compatible with older Roku tech, so I would have to go spend more money. So, I stopped using Netflix over this particular issue and others financial conservation) and at some point this particular issue could become make-or-break with Amazon.

"Does this really directly affect you?" I am not deaf or hard of hearing for my age, but many people have pointed out, quite rightly, that many people make use of cc and subtitles for various reasons. It affects me in that sometimes I like to have CC, such as if there is a passage of speech I just couldn't understand, but also in that my S.O. has significant difficulty hearing (wears hearing aids) and we like to watch movies together.

Anyway, given Amazon's obvious somewhat capable tech and business efforts in other areas, I'm pretty disgusted that a manager or managers appear to have incompetently taken this issue, put it on the back burner and to heck with it.

I prefer Amazon's Video-on-demand combined with an all-you-can-eat buffet format for some videos, to Netflix's all-you-can-eat buffet format, but this issue may cause me to leave Amazon for Netflix (or one of the others), just as I left Netflix for Amazon for increased Amazon use, over this issue.

For that matter, it is not just about closed-caption, but about making all DVD bonus features available by streaming. That includes multiple foreign language translations, Director's commentary, English Subtitles or CC: etc. It will happen someday. The question is: When.

Yes, Amazon has made some good improvements recently that I see on Roku (the watchlist was badly overdue and I like it, and now we can finally watch real trailers) but the (apparent) lack of progress on broadening of CC and subtitle capability so that it is in-line or approaches being in-line with DVD capabilities, is inexcusable I think to the point of signalling some real disrespect for more than a few paying customers.

Posted on Jul 15, 2012, 6:19:25 PM PDT
I learned about this from a poster in the Roku forums:

FCC Adopts Closed Captioning Rules for Online Video Programming
By Maria T. Browne, Brendan Holland, Brian J. Hurh, and Ronald G. London

so, I guess not much choice now for Amazon.

Posted on Aug 2, 2012, 4:57:17 PM PDT
Eostek says:
Not having Closed Caption is really offensive to us hearing impaired customers. Might even be discrimination now. Amazon needs to fix this sooner rather than later.

Posted on Aug 4, 2012, 6:37:00 PM PDT
FrugalFreak says:
too late may be coming too soon for Amazon

Posted on Aug 31, 2012, 11:11:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 31, 2012, 11:12:54 PM PDT
So if the FCC adopted closed captioning rules for online video on 01-17-2012, why is still dragging its heels 9 months later?????? I am extremely disappointed with this issue and though I am not wearing hearing aids yet, I am almost there -- which means that I get only about half of the spoken text or otherwise I would be waking up my neighbors at all hours if I had to set the TV at its highest level... And though no one seems to say it directly, please let me say it: THIS IS PURE AND SIMPLE DISCRIMINATION. I know it's not going to help our little cause, but I am writing a letter to the FCC this weekend with a copy to the CEO of Amazon (for all the good that is going to do), but at least it's one more voice added to the rest.

Posted on Oct 1, 2012, 10:50:52 AM PDT
My recent email from amazon re CC

Thanks so much for your feedback for our Instant Video service. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

Amazon understands the importance of closed captions for customers with hearing impairments, customers with English as a second language, and for watching with lowered volume, and our development team is working on it.

The content we offer through Amazon Instant Video depends on our agreements with content owners. We're constantly working to establish and improve these agreements so we can offer the largest selection of movies and TV shows possible with closed captioning/subtitles.

I appreciate that you wrote about this so that I can point out increased demand for subtitles and I've forwarded your comments to our concerned Instant Video team to let them know that you are interested in watching videos with closed captioning/subtitles. The Amazon Instant Video team will carefully review your comments and work hard to implement your suggestions as we plan our future improvements.

Customer feedback like yours is very important in helping us continue to improve the experience of watching our digital videos.

Though the option of subtitles is not available for most of the videos on Amazon, there are a few videos that include subtitles. To find Amazon Instant Videos that include subtitles follow these steps:

1. Visit
2. Select Amazon Instant Video from the Search dropdown menu.
3. Type "subtitles" in the search field and click on "Go." A list of all the videos available with closed captioning/subtitles is displayed.
4. Choose the desired video.

Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best Regards,

Noel S
Your feedback is helping us build Earths Most Customer-Centric Company.

Posted on Oct 4, 2012, 6:48:22 PM PDT
Amazon said 10 movies has closed captioned. I did check all of them. No closed captioned. I use roku xs. I got 30 day free trail. Now 2nd day. I am not expected to join membership of amazon prime instant video. NAD is not pay attention to amazon. What going?

Posted on Oct 5, 2012, 10:13:46 AM PDT
I called and request a refund for my recent purchase of Instant Video. About $2. I am trying to track this.
Please submit my request and this feedback on this important issue.
Thank you for any refund due to lack of CC on the movie you offered. I could not get most of the words due to this chronic Amazon problem. Please let me know when you will provide CC or subtitles for this movie. I will buy again with CC.
Also please read and respond to this DIScussion forum, your site.

Thanks, go get to work on this. Many years?? Why? Brogan in Seattle

Posted on Nov 7, 2012, 10:17:28 AM PST
Nika Tinova says:
How do I contact Amazon to let them know I am very dissatisfied about the CC not being available? I'd like to partake in the # of complaints, so they can get to this issue faster.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 2:58:34 PM PST
Susan says:
It would appear this is an AMAZON ISSUE. The DVD's are issued WITH the cc encoded. Amazon just chooses not to make available from what I've been able to find.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012, 5:13:00 PM PST
NAD is paying attention. They just do things carefully.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012, 9:35:53 AM PST
Techhead, thanks for pointing this out. Great to see a formal complaint initiated against Amazon. I think it's great because I think it's by a combination of discussion forum shaming, private communication, shareholder comments, legal action and perhaps other means that Amazon will be compelled to act.

Everyone, I think from an overly-quick look at developments and a bigger discussion thread here:

that things are moving along. There was apparently some sort of legal deadline reached (December 1st?) and there were reports in Q4 that Amazon was slowly moving to add closed captions (well, this took several years, and they only started when they reached a legal deadline, so I guess it is permanently clear that this was not a top priority for them).

A year or two ago I did view a workout videon on Amazon that had closed captions, so I think the capability has been there, but my impression was that in order to get this done, the creator of the video had to jump through x number of hoops, so the real issue would be more that Amazon has not taken action on their end to make closed captions (or English Subtitles) available on their entire video library, and not demanding that video creators make an extra effort.

Posted on Dec 30, 2012, 9:39:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2012, 9:47:41 AM PST
As of this date there are supposedly 2,741 videos available with closed captions:

Are these closed captions available on Roku? I tried one, and it appears not. I'll go ask over on Roku forums what's going on.

Posted on Jan 1, 2013, 10:02:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2013, 10:13:00 AM PST
None of the videos that I have watched, on Amazon, have had captioning. And this includes videos that are available on Netflix (such as Arrested Development) WITH captions. I watch my Amazon content on the Kindle Fire along with Netflix and HBOGO. Both Netflix and HBOGO provide captions. That Amazon does NOT is absolutely ridiculous. I like being able to rent Amazon videos on demand and watch them on the crisp, clear kindle (vs my outdated TV) but Amazon REALLY needs to get on the ball with the captions. That they do not have them at this point in the game is absolutely ridiculous and inexcusable.

ETA: I stand corrected. I picked one of the videos from the link above and they do have CC on the Kindle Fire HD. I'm not sure about the SD since I no longer have one and, as I said, none of the videos I watched on that device had CC.

What I find interesting is that videos that have captioning on other services do not have CC on Amazon, like Arrested Development. Isn't that something that's determined by the production company?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2013, 10:50:12 AM PST
HI Jill:

My quick impression, perhaps wrong, is that this is a situation where we saw little or no change for years, but now in the span of a few short weeks and months we are seeing a lot of movement. I'm thinking that the legal deadline mentioned in other areas has forced Amazon to get their act in gear, but that in their rush to comply they may be glossing over getting captions to roll through to all devices, and they are far from providing them in all cases.

I do think you are right about the content producer having a role in the lack of equivalency of streaming products and DVD products (not just closed captions and English titles, but all so-called DVD bonus features). So, there is some further mystery there. However, as to the immediate issue, cc's on amazon streaming video, it seems like it's being addressed but imperfectly-at-best. I still can't see them myself since I pay for and watch amazon videos only on Roku. I can't quite recall offhand - I think the cc logo was there on the one movie I checked, on the Roku menu, but cc's themselves were not coming through?

Posted on Jan 11, 2013, 6:55:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 11, 2013, 6:57:28 PM PST
There are some things Amazon does very well like getting you the items quickly and normally at the best price. Their call you back feature as part of customer service is pretty cool.

Why then have they left those of us with CHS (can't hear $#^*) out in the cold?

Posted on Jan 16, 2013, 10:43:27 PM PST
I can see closed captions on Roku, on some of my regular TV shows, from Amazon, over the last few days. Thanks Amazon. It took way too long, but thanks.

Posted on Jan 30, 2013, 11:50:00 AM PST
I went with Netflix as soon as their CC was in place. Deeply regret paying for Prime. What a waste. I expected better from Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2013, 2:00:42 PM PST
as of lastnight i was having the opposite problem. i was unable to get CC *off* of my freshly purchased movie (JamesBond Skyfall) turns out that if you go into the options "Watch Trailer, Captions & More ..." that you can turn them on and off. I have noticed that not all movies available are listed as having CC content but i do believe that they are adding more and more as they increase the number of titles available. I hope that they listen to your concerns and respond/react to them in kind. Hoping the discovery i came across might still help however. Good Luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2013, 2:03:23 PM PST
i use Roku and found that specific titles are available with CC. However they will list CC if they do specifically. The new James Bond flick is one example. I use roku to access the Amazon Prime channel as well as other subscription services as well.

Posted on Feb 23, 2013, 4:40:34 PM PST
Can someone please list one or two English language television shows or movies with closed captions or subtitles available from Amazon Prime?

Posted on Feb 24, 2013, 2:44:26 PM PST
Hi W. A. Robinson:

I can't speak to drawing the line between Amazon Prime and other Amazon. It looks to me that if I go into the latest episodes area in the non-Prime filter on Roku that many or all of the *latest* TV episodes come with Captions. So, the theory is that Amazon is indeed making captions available, but only from a certain time-point, ... perhaps as a compliance measure. Hard to say what broke the log jam.... maybe Amazon was up against some industry issue, but even then, why not say something.... why give us years of mealy-mouthed waste-of-our-time non-answers?

When I got into TV shows where I have paid for prior to Q4 2012 and then after Q4 2012 (approximately when the log-jam was fixed) then the only ones where I see CC: are after.

I went into the prime area prior to responding, but it's a bit harder to identify which prime TV episodes were made available after a few months ago when Amazon finally started making CC: available on TV episodes. So, my theory is that if you can identify such an episode, then it might have CC: but perhaps Amazon does not make TV episodes part of Prime until they have been out for a few months or quarters or years. Example: I see Glee, but only through season 3.

So, I think to some extent this is a matter of timing. Perhaps as TV episodes come into the prime area that were put forth in late Q4 2012 or after, then they will have cc:? I haven't thoroughly looked through things before responding, so perhaps someone else can correct if I got something wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2013, 2:50:54 PM PST
@ljsoaz: Yes, the increased availability of captions is a compliance issue. As of September 30, 2012, content that has been shown after that date on TV with captions must also be captioned on the Internet. I should add, though, that Amazon's compliance with this deadline has been none too good, and they have found themselves in hot water with the FCC over this.

Posted on Feb 27, 2013, 2:57:18 PM PST
C. P. says:
I feel in some ways that Amazon offers better streaming content than Netflix, also get newer movies out sooner than Netflix.
However, if you don't care about the millions of hard of hearing subscribers who need closed caption for their streaming & will sooner or later start to lose your data base of happy customers for your service! Please up your priority on fixing this issue. Thanks

Posted on Mar 14, 2013, 2:24:41 PM PDT
Copy of my e-mail to customer service:

The continued lack of closed captioning (or, alternatively, subtitles) for video programming which requires it per FCC rules is baffling.

One of the reasons I subscribe to Amazon Prime is access to Amazon Instant Video. Non-compliance with FCC rules by Amazon as the distributor and/or by the content owners impacts my ability to view videos on your site.

I can only assume that non-compliance is not a monetary issue, as a modest investment in this area should or will provide sufficient returns to cover expenses.

Your contractual agreements with content owners are modified because of FCC requirements such that they are now legally obligated to provide your company with available closed captioning for inclusion with redistributed video programming. The issue then becomes the pass-through by you to the end user of included closed captioning content.

As there is some programming on your site which does include closed captioning, the question then becomes not one of hardware or software, but of effort. As your company could not have been ignorant of future FCC requirements, compliance efforts should have begun long ago. Your lack of progress apparently shows either disregard for your customers interests and needs, or lack of interest in complying with federal laws, or a surprising lack of competence by the Amazon Instant Video team employees or supervisors. The continuation of that lack of progress speaks more to a problem at the upper levels of your corporation.

I look forward to a reply.
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