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Milestones

2010
WGBH's Descriptive Video Service® celebrates 20th anniversary.

The Media Access Group Wins The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts LEAD Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership, bestowed to "an individual or organization that addresses the needs of the disability community as a whole over a significant period of time, and recognizes the emergence of the organization as a role model and leader within the cultural arts community."

The Media Access Group establishes a Web page, describedmovies.org which lists DVD and Blu-ray releases of major films that include an optional DVS® track. A separate page provides the full list of PBS programs available with DVS on DVD. Each site enables quick "click through" to Amazon.com to purchase titles.

Disney unveils first-of-its-kind outdoor audio description for parks produced by the Media Access Group at WGBH. Guests who are blind or have low vision can now explore Disney World and listen to rich description of moving rides and outdoor environments. This collaboration is the latest between Walt Disney Theme Parks and Resorts and WGBH, a collaboration which dates back to 1996 with the installation of Rear Window Captioning in theater-based attractions, and was followed by audio description of more than 30 attractions.

2009
Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures commit to include the Descriptive Video Service/DVS tracks created for theatrical release on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of their films. And Disney-Pixar releases "Up" for sale on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes with DVS.

The Media Access Group collaborates with designers and technology developers to make the interactive exhibits and theater at the Hall at Patriot Place by Raytheon-- jewel of the New England Patriots sports and educational complex in Foxborough, MA--fully accessible to visitors with disabilities.

The Media Access Group at WGBH produced the content for Disney's Audio Description service in select attractions at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Select Disney attractions utilize a Reflective Captioning system, pioneered by WGBH. WGBH is now collaborating with Disney on Audio Description in outdoor areas utilizing Disney's Handheld Device technology.

The Media Access Group provides full access to the 2009 Presidential Inaugural, including providing live description and captioning for Lehrer NewHour coverage on PBS and, for the first time ever, streaming of that description simultaneously online at the Web site of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

2008
The Media Access Group provides the first live radio captioning in history-- coverage of Election Night 2008 on National Public Radio. Partners on the effort include NPR, Harris Corporation and Towson University.

The Media Access Group begins real-time captioning online coverage of Massachusetts State House and Senate proceedings.

The Media Access Group works with CBS to expand Spanish captioning of CBS programming beyond 60 Minutes to series of primetime Price is Right broadcasts.

WGBH facilitates, with Disney and Regal Cinemas, the first successful playout of caption files from a digital cinema server in a movie theater.

2007
November 2007 marks the 10-year anniversary of the debut of WGBH's Motion Picture Access®, or MoPix®, technologies in first-run theaters. This month also marks the 500th film to be captioned for its debut in theaters, and the installation of the 350th system.

AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! ask WGBH to establish and manager the Internet Captioning Forum (ICF). The ICF will initially address the technical challenges presented by online video repurposed from broadcast or other previously captioned sources, as well as video created specifically for the Web.

WGBH convenes a DTV Closed Captioning Summit in Washington, D.C. in an effort to address-- with members of the consumer community, television equipment manufacturers, and the broadcast and cable industry-- a plethora of problems that exist in correct delivery and reception of captions (and video descriptions) in today's digital television service.

2006
AOL announced it is testing closed captions for CNN streaming video content that enhances the online media experience for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Media Access Group-captioned CNN video content is available throughout the AOL network, including the AOL service, the free AOL.com Web portal and the AOL Video portal.

A&E Network and the Media Access Group at WGBH announce availability of a descriptive narration track on the A&E Web site for Touch the Top of the World, a film based on the life of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind climber to summit Mt. Everest.

The Media Access Group collaborates with National Public Radio (NPR) to provide live captioning for a two-hour special on deaf culture and education airing on NPR's Talk of the Nation.

WGBH's Motion Picture Access®, or MoPix®, technologies, are named a daVinci Award winner for 2006. The daVinci Awards, bestowed annually by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Michigan, honor exceptional design and engineering achievements in accessibility and universal design that empowers people of all abilities. Major sponsors of the award ceremony include Microsoft, DaimlerChrysler and Ford.

WGBH publishes "Accessible Digital Media: Design Guidelines for Electronic Publications, Multimedia and the Web." The guidelines, available free of charge from WGBH, provide step-by-step solutions for making a variety of electronic media accessible to users with sensory disabilities.

WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability Research and Rehabilitation (NIDRR) to make airline travel more accessible to passengers with sensory disabilities.

2005
The Media Access Group at WGBH provides both closed captioning and live description of George W. Bush's second presidential inauguration for the PBS presentation of Inauguration 2005 a NewsHour special. In 1993, PBS's coverage of the Clinton inauguration was the first live television program that was made fully accessible to deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind and visually impaired viewers. Funding for closed captioning and live description of this event is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Media Access Group collaborates with Stevie Wonder, a founding member of our Advisory Board, to make his latest music video accessible via descriptive narration. So What The Fuss, with descriptions written by WGBH and voiced by rap star Busta Rhymes, became the first described music video in history.

The DVS-enhanced DVD version of the Oscar-nominated film Ray, the biopic of the late, great Ray Charles, is released by Universal Home Entertainment for US and Canadian distribution.

WGBH introduces CaptionKeeper(TM), a tool which extracts captioning data from television broadcasts or videotapes, and reinserts the captions into streamed content for the web. This tool ensures limited resources for making entertainment, educational and informational program content accessiblity can be spent efficiently.

Five current and former members of WGBH's Media Access Group were honored by the Accessible Media Industry Coalition for their pioneering efforts in developing captioning for television programming. Those honored included Phil Collyer, the first director of The Caption Center at WGBH; Annette Posell, currently a director of the PBS Sponsorship Group and manager of Corporate Development, Media Access Group at WGBH; Carol Osterer, former director of The Caption Center; Barry Cronin, former director of Access and Interactive, WGBH; and Mardi Loeterman, former director of The Caption Center and director of Research, CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media.

2004
Movie theaters in the Greater Washington, D.C. area become more accessible to moviegoers who are deaf and blind due to the settlement of a class action lawsuit, the court announced on Friday April 30, 2004. Closed-caption and described movie technology (MoPix) invented by the Media Access Group at WGBH has been designated as the accepted solution by all parties to the case.

2003
Road to Perdition (DreamWorks Home Entertainment), American Experience's Chicago: City of the Century and Partners of the Heart (PBS Home Video) have become the latest DVD titles to include descriptive narration for users who are blind or have low vision as well as captioning for users who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Media Access Group joins with America Online to enable movie fans to more easily find closed captioned and described films in their area. Finding Nemo, a Walt Disney Pictures Presentation of a Pixar Animated Studios film, is the inaugural film on the AOL Keyword MoPix site.

Viewers of all ages who are blind or visually impaired are to more fully enjoy several classic holiday TV specials along with their sighted family members and friends. For the first time, CBS airs Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with video description, provided by the Media Access Group at WGBH.

Version 2.01 of the Media Access Generator (MAGpie) is released. This free, do-it-yourself captioning, subtitling and audio-description software for digital multimedia was developed by the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM).

2002
The Caption Center celebrates its 30th anniversary, marking the birth of accessible media for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The Media Access Group at WGBH demonstrates the first high-definition televisions to display advanced closed-captioning features at two international conventions for consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.

The Media Access Group at WGBH creates its first MAG Guide, a series of one-sheets to be used as tools, strategies, and helpful hints for making media accessible to all audiences. The premiere MAG Guide instructs teachers on how to record video description by using their VCR for use in the classroom.

An FCC mandate for video description begins April 1 and states that all four broadcast networks and the top five cable networks must air 50 hours per quarter of programming with description. CBS, FOX, TNT, TBS, and Lifetime join PBS, TCM (Turner Classic Movies), and Nickelodeon in offering programming with DVS.

The Media Access Group's director is appointed to the FCC's Technological Advisory Council.

Through WGBH's ongoing description efforts, blind and visually impaired viewers have access NOVA's "Why the Towers Fell." This scientific look at the American Society of Civil Engineer's report on why the World Trade Center collapsed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack was one of the most-watched episodes ever. When this program aired in April 2002, it became the first televison program to include descriptive narration of the visual images of the attack, destruction and recovery efforts experienced repeatedly by sighted viewers since September 11, 2001.

2001
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, to become the highest grossing picture of the year, is released with Motion Picture Access (MoPix®) technology in many equipped MoPix® locations.

The Media Access Group at WGBH works with the Fox Broadcasting Corporation to provide the first video-described broadcast on a commercial broadcast network, Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

The Nickelodeon series Rugrats premieres with description for young viewers who are blind or visually impaired.

A second set of closed captions called Edited Captions, for younger viewers, is available on the PBS series Arthur.

The Media Access Group collaborates with WGBH Interactive and American Experience on the first fully accessible DVD, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided. The film's companion DVD contains captioning, descriptive narration, and audio (or "talking") menus for blind/low-vision audiences.

WGBH forms the Media Access Group, the only organization in the world that offers both captioning and description.

DVS West opens, joining The Caption Center's Los Angeles office in serving the West Coast television, home entertainment, and film industries.

2000
NCAM publishes the results of a three-year research initiative, "Making Educational Software Accessible: Guidelines Including Math and Science Solutions." Guidelines are available free of charge, with requests for copies received from software developers, educational institutions, consumers, and parents all over the world.

DVS Home Video® Catalogue now offers 200-plus titles, and sales have reached more than 100,000 units. DVS Home Videos are carried in more than 1,200 libraries in all 50 states.

Descriptive Video Service celebrates its 10th anniversary providing description for viewers who are blind or visually impaired.

1999
The first DVS digital broadcast airs: PBS's Lost in the Grand Canyon, an episode of American Experience.

Working with WebTV and NBC's broadcast and online divisions, The Caption Center becomes the first captioning agency to embed WebTV Crossover Links live, during NBC's broadcast of the 50th Annual Emmy Awards. The Caption Center developed a software utility that allows its Real Time staff to send simultaneous data streams for closed captioning and Web site URLs for the benefit of WebTV users.

1998
CBS's 60 Minutes becomes the first television program to be broadcast with both English and Spanish closed captions, provided by The Caption Center.

1997
DVS begins working with the Advanced Television Implementation Subcommittee, the industry group responsible for creating guidelines for digital television services, to ensure that video description will be available in this new television broadcast format.

Microsoft hires DVS to describe three 30-second commercials, none of which has dialogue.

First-run feature films The Jackal and Titanic are captioned and described for the first time in theaters thanks to WGBH's MoPix® and the coordinated efforts of the Media Access departments at WGBH: The Caption Center, Descriptive Video Service (DVS), and the CPB/WGBH National Center for Access Media.

The Caption Center collaborates with Microsoft to make the world's best selling CD-ROM encyclopedia, Encarta 98, accessible for the first time.

1996
Turner Classic Movies begins airing a regular Sunday evening movie with DVS as part of its DVS Showcase.

1995
The Caption Center works with Nickelodeon to make the network's community service campaign "The Big Help" accessible for the first time. All related programming is captioned, and outreach is conducted to schools, organizations, and parents of children who are deaf and hard of hearing across the country.

1994
Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first DVS Home Video title to be made available to people who are blind and visually impaired on the same day the video becomes available to the general public.

The Caption Center captions more than 50 hours of the Winter Olympic Games for CBS and introduces relocatable roll-up captioning, a feature which ensures that important onscreen action or information during live broadcasts is not covered by captions.

1993
DVS launches the DVS 800 Information Line (1-800-333-1203).

Building on The Caption Center's 20-year tradition of reaching out to under-served audiences, WGBH and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting establish the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), a research and development facility.

July 1 marks the implementation of The Decoder Circuitry Act, federal legislation mandating built-in decoders in most television sets manufactured or imported for sale in the United States.

The Caption Center and DVS join together to make the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton the first live national event to be fully accessible to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and visually impaired. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and National Federation of the Blind.

1992
WGBH describes and captions the first Omnimax film, Mountain Gorilla, for the Boston Museum of Science, thanks to WGBH's MoPix® and the coordinated efforts of the Media Access departments at WGBH: The Caption Center, Descriptive Video Service (DVS), and the Media Access Research and Development Office (MARDO).

DVS reaches 50 percent of U.S. television households as the number of PBS stations offering DVS increases to 62.

Working with the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), The Caption Center develops captioning standards for NTSC closed captioning and produces a daylong technical seminar for North America's entire captioning industry.

1991
The Retinitis International Special Recognition Award is given to WGBH for "providing an innovative service to visually impaired persons."

The Caption Center establishes the Media Access Research and Development Office (MARDO), a pioneering facility dedicated to examining the needs and desires of audiences traditionally denied access to media.

The Caption Center helps design a new decoder display standard for FCC, which updates and enhances the line-21 system.

1990
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presents an Emmy Award to WGBH and Public Television for "outstanding achievement in the science of television engineering."

DVS is launched as a permanent, national service on PBS with the season premiere of American Playhouse, with 32 PBS stations participating.

The Caption Center helps draft and pass the TV Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990.

1989
Network prime-time programs are 100 percent accessible to viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing for the first time.

The Caption Center breaks new ground by captioning music videos for broadcast on the nation's major music channels. The market rapidly swells as recording artists join the effort, delighting an enthusiastic audience of new fans.

1988
WGBH conducts the first national test of DVS on American Playhouse on 10 public television stations across the country in conjunction with the Washington Ear, a Washington, D.C., radio reading service.

The Caption Center establishes a consumer affairs department to conduct comprehensive community outreach to the general audience as well as to viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing about the benefits of captioning.

1987
Encouraged by WGBH's research indicating the blind community's enthusiasm for described television, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides funds to WGBH for the development of a business plan to create a national description service on PBS. This description service is formed and named Descriptive Video Service (DVS).

1986
The Caption Center captions two hours of daily local news and public affairs programming in Boston, marking America's first stenographically captioned local newscasts.

1985
While exploring possible applications of the Second Audio Program (SAP) feature on the new technology of stereo television, WGBH conceives an idea for a descriptive video service that would make television accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired.

The Caption Center New York opens to serve the nation's largest advertising community.

1984
The Caption Center provides CBS's first closed captions with Dallas.

The Caption Center captions PBS's The Voyage of the Mimi, the first dual-language captioned series.

1982
The Caption Center produces the federally funded Caption Kit, a multimedia package that promotes the educational potential of captioning to students, teachers, and parents.

1981
The Caption Center Los Angeles opens to serve the West Coast television industry.

1978-1982
The Caption Center researches and establishes guidelines for children's captioning as part of its federally funded Multi-Level Linguistic Captioning Project.

1976-1980
The Caption Center assists PBS in the development of the line-21 closed-captioning system.

1975-1980
The Caption Center captions Zoom, America's first captioned children's series, and wins an award from Action for Children's Television.

1973-1982
The Caption Center produces The Captioned ABC News, a late-night captioned rebroadcast carried by more than 190 PBS stations with commercial slots replaced with stories of special interest to the nation's deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

1972
The Caption Center is formed and provides captions the first nationally broadcast captioned program, The French Chef for PBS. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.


















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