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Keeping Pace with Live Sports by Automating Captioning

Since few TV shows have the allure and draw of live major league sports, broadcasters consider it worthwhile to pay large sums of money to obtain the exclusive rights to carry major league sporting events. In attracting large audiences, they generate ad revenues, along with fees from selling highlight footage, which make their efforts profitable.    

 As with all programming they broadcast, these live sports telecasts must be closed captioned accurately from start to finish, with captions placed properly on screen for easier reading.

The FCC mandates captioning to make shows accessible to deaf and hard of hearing viewers; although, it also benefits those watching with the sound off.

 Meeting these quality standards during live sporting events is especially difficult for human captioners, even if they’re using stenography machines for shorthand, because fast-paced game action typically involves the following kinds of challenges:

  • Different announcers giving game analysis, color commentary, and play-by-play detail
  • Lingo and expressions unique to each sport
  • Commentary that intensifies with key plays or scoring
  • Mentions of players’ names, places, statistics, and other game-specific jargon

With its ability to convert speech into text within two to four seconds of the spoken word, ENCO’s enCaption automated live captioning system can keep pace with spirited game commentary. It also achieves 99%accuracy because it learns the correct spellings of local names, places, and terms that users input to its custom library.

As a compact, Windows-driven device situated in the broadcast chain or machine room, enCaption takes audio from any SDI or NDI signal, and creates the captioning text file. It then passes that text file to a closed captioning encoder, which embeds the captions into the video stream. The encoder can be a third-party device or ENCO card solution. With automation, accuracy, and speed, enCaption can generate better, more cost-efficient captions than human stenographers, even when games run long or into overtime.

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