Friday, March 2, 2012
Netflix and Captioning: My Initial Experiences
I hope to write a longer post once I have used Netflix more widely, but I wanted to write about my initial first impressions.
I signed up for Netflix online. They have a 30 day free trial and after that it costs $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming. (You can stream through your computer or through your TV.) There is an additional cost if you want physical discs delivered, which I opted against.
You can queue up TV shows, movies, and documentaries through your PC or TV. In your browser, you can see if a show has captions by going to the show's page and scrolling down. Usually, under "Streaming Details," you can see if a show has subtitles. Some shows have none, some list "English," and some list both "English" and "English (CC)." I actually haven't noticed a difference between "English" and "English (CC)" but I would assume that "CC" captions sounds as well as dialogue.
While the majority of TV shows I want to watch have been captioned, I have been less lucky with movies. It seems that movies added to Netflix's library are more likely to have subtitles vs. older movies. Many documentaries are also not subtitled. I was disappointed to see many Nova/PBS documentaries I was interested in aren't subtitled. That disappointed me because PBS is usually so on-the-ball about captioning.
I did notice one odd thing about a couple of shows I wanted to watch. In both cases the first episode was not captioned but every episode after that was. Strange. (The shows were Star Trek: Voyager and Quantum Leap. Don't judge me!)
Sometimes the captions get badly corrupted. I think this is probably a problem with streaming or buffering, but sometimes it is ridiculously garbled while the picture is fine.
Another annoying thing about captioning on Netflix is that you have to set captions every time you start to watch an episode of a show or a movie. If you accidentally back out of the menu to watch the show, you have to set it again. You also have to set it for every episode of a show. It gets tedious. I wish there were a global preference to always have captions on.
Those are my thoughts so far... has anyone else had experiences with Netflix?