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Media Access Group  Versión en español
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Who we are, who we work with, what we've done, what's next, and how to reach us.


Who We Are

The Media Access Group at WGBH has pioneered and delivered captioned and described media for over 30 years to people in their homes, classrooms, at work and in the community. And the Media Access Group continues to develop new solutions to access challenges as technology, and the way we all consume media, evolves. Members of our group's collective staff represent the leading experts in their fields. The success of our initiatives is exemplified by a history of accomplishments and continuous growth, the integration of our innovative products and services into society at large, and the enthusiastic support we receive from the audiences we serve, including the 35 million people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision.

The Caption Center
Founded in 1972, The Caption Center was the world's first captioning agency -- pioneering access to television for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. It has gone on to set the standard for caption quality, as well as for cutting-edge software and systems development designed to improve the captioning process. The Caption Center maintains an ongoing commitment to conducting outreach among viewers with hearing loss, those learning English as a second language, and people of all ages learning to read.

Each year The Caption Center captions more than 10,000 hours' worth of:
  • broadcast and cable programs
  • web-based media
  • feature films
  • large-format and IMAX films
  • music videos
  • DVDs
  • teleconferences

Descriptive Video Service®
Founded in 1990, DVS® pioneered access to television for viewers who are blind or who have low vision. The service provides descriptive narration of key visual elements, which is then inserted within the natural pauses in dialogue to help low-vision viewers to better understand the story. Key visual elements are those which viewers with vision loss would ordinarily miss and include actions, costumes, gestures, facial expressions, scene changes, and onscreen text.

DVS descriptions are currently available on:
  • PBS stations nationwide
  • Turner Classic Movies cable network
  • selected series on the CBS, Fox, and Nickelodeon networks
  • feature films
  • large-format and IMAX films
  • a growing selection of DVDs

Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM)
Founded in 1993 to build on WGBH's expertise in the field of media access, NCAM is a research, development, and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies in a broad range of media more accessible to all audiences. NCAM's innovative Strategic Partners Program engages the nation's leading technology and telecommunications companies in the development, implementation, and promotion of universal design to benefit all users.

NCAM's projects include:
  • Access to Digital Television
  • Access to Emergency Alerts
  • Access to Locally Televised On-Screen Informtion
  • Access to HD-Radio (collaboration with National Public Radio)
  • Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile Devices
  • Cornerstones Literacy Project
  • Effective Practices for Description of Science Content with Digital Talking Books
  • Making In-Flight Communications and Entertainment Accessible
  • Researching Speech Navigation for Home Media Centers
  • Specifications for Advanced Learning Technologies (SALT): access to distance learning

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Caption Services Description Services NCAM