DVD Pet Peeve #4

Unleashed (region 4) - Not for deaf people
Unleashed (region 4) – Not for deaf people

English is not my first language, so while watching DVD movies, I prefer to have the English subtitles on. Obviously, subtitles are essential for people with hearing difficulties.

This week’s pet peeve is DVDs that don’t have subtitles. Back in the old days, when buying a DVD player would mean a week’s wage, many region 1 DVDs would not have subtitles, and only closed captioning support. CC support is completely useless to people outside of region 1, as we don’t have CC decoders in our TVs. But this is perhaps understandable, since these DVDs were never intended for sale outside of the US and Canada.

However, I’ve noticed that even today, several high profile releases do not have subtitles. The most recent one I’ve encountered is the region 4 copy of Unleashed (released by Universal Pictures in region 4). This DVD has a DTS track, extra features, but no subtitles. The region 2 version has English subtitles for the hearing impaired, while the region 1 version has at least closed captioning support. While I would be able to live with having no subtitles once in a while, but what about people with hearing impairment? Are they not entitled to watch this movie?


3 Responses to “DVD Pet Peeve #4”

  1. JakeBlues Says:

    You are VERY keen on the events at hand.
    First of all.. my wife IS DEAF… (not hard of hearing.. but DEAF ir she hears NOTHING!) The one thing as an American I should say: NOT all countries have rights for the Deaf (or hard of hearing) and so MOSTLY they don’t include them in the configuration of MOST region 1 DVDs.
    Also I’d like to say this… MOST OLDER televisions do NOT have the CC chip in them (most of the 90s and early part of the 2000s TVs DO have this feature) PLEASE read the following:
    Does the FCC mandate captioning on everything now?
    On Thursday, August 7th, 1997, the FCC unanimously approved new regulations which will mandate captioning on virtually all television programming in the United States. Section 305 of the Telecommunication Act of 1996 is being implemented as a new section (Section 713) of the existing Communications Act. On Thursday, September 17, 1998, the FCC modified their rules, in what can be considered a victory for caption viewers.
    The ruling took effect on January 1st, 1998, and it phases in requirements separately for “old” and “new” programming.
    For programming that first aired prior to the effective date of the law, the FCC is allowing a ten-year transition period, after which 75% of the “old” programming must be captioned. This decision (the choice of 75% as a benchmark value) will be reevaluated in four years by the FCC.
    For “new” programming, airing for the first time after the effective date of the law, the FCC is allowing an eight-year transition period with milestones along the way. At the end of that eight-year period (as of January 1, 2006), all new programming must be captioned (the original ruling said 95%, but it was updated to 100% in September 1998).
    The FCC allowed quite a few exemptions to the rules, including:
    No video programmer will be required to spend more than 2% of its annual gross revenues on captioning.
    All non-English programming is exempted.
    The Sept 1998 update makes Spanish required by 2010 (new programs) or 2012 (old programs). “Non vocal” programming is exempted.
    Commercials and public service announcements are exempted.
    Programming from “new networks” is exempted.
    All programs aired between 2:00am and 6:00am are exempted. (what BS!)
    What is the Television Decoder Circuitry Act?
    The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-431) mandates the addition of decoder chips in U.S. televisions. It is a remarkably short piece of legislation – the key part is less than a page long. The law adds the following paragraph to the Communications Act of 1934:

    “(u) Require that apparatus designed to receive television pictures broadcast simultaneously with sound be equipped with built-in decoder circuitry designed to display closed-captioned television transmissions when such apparatus is manufactured in the United States or imported for use in the United States, and its television picture screen is 13 inches or greater in size.” It specifies that the decoder capabilities in these sets must meet the specifications set by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), as described under “technical stuff” later in this FAQ.
    GOOD THING PORN ISN’T included in the at least 13 inches act)
    This law took effect on July 1, 1993.
    What does the ADA say about captioning?
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically mandates that all government-funded public service announcements must be captioned. That is about the end of the specific mention of captioning. There are a lot of implied requirements, however, which are yet to be tested in court, despite the fact that the ADA was enacted in 1993. There is some question regarding captioning of things like City Council meetings. (CRAP..umm yeah)
    OK OK…
    I grew UP on a Deaf school campus ( I am heaing and the son of a hearing maintance man at the DEAF school)
    I personally think THAT EVERY region one disk sold in the US and Canada (and an other place that is included in the region 1 unbrella SHOULD HAVE the ENGLISH language incoded on them .. WHY?
    NOT all televisons included the CC chip.. computers are NOT include in the law.. SO why not HAVE the English sub-titles already included for what ever the situation maybe? ALMOST ALL DVDs to date will play the english subtitles but not all the Televisons will de-code the imbeded CC titles.
    IT’S CRAP. JUST IN BED ALL the ENGLISH subtitles for ALL THE PEOPLE… Deaf, Hard of Hearing… kids learning english.. people from other countries here learning English or jus PLAIN old Dumb Azzes like me that think I know what the people in the movie said, BUT were surprised when reading the captions years later, were dumbfounded when all the quote I’ve grown use to were not EXACTLY were quoted in the movies ( I bet most of you would be surprised if you read the captions of your fav movies and see what was the Orginal words used and NOT what you THINK they were!!!!)
    OK.. kicks soap box under my couch!!!

  2. DVDGuy Says:

    I agree. English subtitles should be mandatory on all DVDs sold in region 1 and 4 (and region 2 UK at the very least). It costs studios next to nothing to do this, and the only reason they don’t do it is because I suppose they don’t care. The Unleashed DVD I referred to had the usual anti-piracy and movie trailers at the start – it has come to a point where preaching a message about anti-piracy has become more important than allowing large groups of people from enjoying movies.

    I also agree on the misquote thing – I had several movies on VHS and quotes that I couldn’t make out and as English wasn’t my first language, lots of phrases I wasn’t familiar with (“as stupid as a stupid dove?”). DVD subtitles helped to clear up a lot of things for me (“century moon” or “sentry moon”?).

  3. Duncan Says:

    A few peeves w/ subtitles before I go with my all time dvd pet peeve:

    -Subtitles that obscure the film. The film should be letterboxed and subtitles occuring below.

    -White subtitles. Very often white subtitles are lost when the film itself is white (see above complaint).

    -Lack of subtitles in English for movies in English. As a native speaker of English, I still prefer to be able to switch on subtitles in case something is unintelligible. And as for English films, i.e. those made in England, it’s utterly required. I’m thinking specifically of Hot Fuzz, a reasonably good flick that’s about 20% impossible to understand.

    Finally, the rant that I really wanted to express, which is why I just hit pause on Apocalypto and raced to the interned to find a forum to vent:

    Why on Earth do we need to see a preview of the movie we’re about to see? Do they really think that we are so stupid that even though we have purchased/rented a movie, popped it in the dvd player, sat ourselves down with our popcorn, soda, greased pork rinds etc., hit “play”, do they suppose we still might decide to not actually watch the film? Perhaps they fear we’ll be distracted by, um…, the walls?

    I hate, hate, hate, hate, seeing footage of the movie I’m about to see before I see the movie I’m about to see. I hate it. It’s gotten so bad my wife has to start the movies now, and believe me she’s sick of hearing this rant. I think it mostly has to do with the no-talent losers who, instead of finding themselves in the movie business, find themselves directing menus for other people’s movies. So they exorcise their creative demons by chopping up someone else’s creative work into a jazzy presentation at the menu screen. Only problem is…it spoils the movie! A notable example is Barton Fink, wherein before you get to see the movie you are treated to an entire scene of John Goodman’s mass murdering…even though for 2/3 of the movie you aren’t supposed to know he’s a mass murderer.

    Okay, I’m going to calmly go upstairs now and hit play with my eyes closed. Thanks for the therapy.

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