Government mandating digital television
Words Worth Watching On March 16, 1980, NCI broke through barriers of silence with the first closed-captioned television series.
Households that acquired the first generation of closed caption decoders enjoyed a front-row seat to a new world.
NCI had truly brought them “words worth watching.” Television viewers looked forward to even more accessible programming, including prime-time series, soap operas, talk shows, game shows, sports, children’s programming, cartoons, and home videos–the same rich and wide variety of programming that hearing people take for granted.
They wanted instant access to live programs such as national and local newscasts.
ABC and the National Bureau of Standards presented closed captions embedded within the normal broadcast of “Mod Squad.” This fantastic achievement proved the technical viability of closed captioning.
Today, you can turn on any TV channel, press a button, and instantaneously access closed captioning for virtually any program or commercial advertisement you can imagine.
Closed captioning not only includes deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers as full participants in the information age, but its practical value and its audience extends far beyond its historical origins.
In 1972, “The French Chef” made history as the first television program accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.
ABC also began rebroadcasting its national news program on PBS five hours after its broadcast on ABC-TV.