Monday, September 29, 2008

Digital Age Closed Captioning Revolution

The variety of electronic appliances using electronic signal, of which the television wave lengths are a part, in America is increasing at an enormous pace. These wavelengths that can be used and cannot physically be exceeded. Cellular telephones, garage door openers, blue tooth, wireless routers, and remote control, as well police, fire fighter and aviation radio signals are the few examples that fight for wave length along with analog broadcasting television channels. The current Analog broadcasting signals that used in America are called National Television System Committee (NTSC) signals. NTSC signals can bring the limits of the resolution, or picture/display size, quality due to the radio signal uses up much as electronic spectrum.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been approved to disable the analog broadcasting TV by February 17th 2009. In the past several years, the TV and broadcasting have been switching slowly to the digital. The FFC’s mandate to convert to digital is a good thing, and actually has to happen in order to free up the electronic spectrum. Without this federal mandate, it just won’t happen in timely or effective way. And, with digital signals, the amount of wavelength, or bandwidth, used in broadcasting will be much less and free up a very congested electronic spectrum. The new wavelength of digital broadcasting is known as Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) signals, which will be replaced over the NTSC. Digital TVs also can bring up to the maximum resolution quality through ATSC compare to analog TV due use the binary a computer language that can generate over trillion of encoded display/color within under nanosecond, unit of time representing .000000001th second.

The digital TV in the market provided different quality levels of TV: The Standard Definition TV (SDTV), The Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV), and The High Definition TV (HDTV). The SDTV is the basic level of quality display and resolution for both of analog and digital that can be in either the traditional or widescreen format by automatic depend upon on the transmission. The EDTV is the next step up from the Analog TV that comes in 480p widescreen or traditional format but both of them can be provided better picture quality than the SDTV. Currently, Digital TV products have been sold rapidly in the America market in the past several years. The next Generation of Television may be found issues to the deaf consumers.


Closed captioning (CC) provides for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to have access to television programming by displaying the audio portion of a television program as text on the television screen. The purpose of CC is not only for hard-of-hearing, it can be useful for anyone who does not use English as his/her first language. It also improves the English language comprehension and fluency via captions. The FCC passed the CC law in July 1993 that requires every analog television receiver over 13” manufactured in the United States must provides with CC decoder. When the decoder is turned on, then the analog TV CC will be allowed to receive the text via NTSC signals. The analog Tv CC text will also show the standard white fonts with black background.

The FCC rules have been updated for closed captioning in the next generation digital TV. However, companies have been complaining about challenges of complying regulations and a lack of consumer awareness; for example, many viewers still feel chained to their traditional analog set. Therefore, not many of the other new generation high definition TV products have been installed with closed captioning decoders. The high definition TV’s closed captioning text can be adjusted vary of size, color, background, and position to order to bring the deaf or Spanish consumer maximum satisfaction. Also, not many high definition digital cable and satellite HDTV supports the closed captioning. Another problem is that HDTV companies’ manufacturers didn’t provide any closed captioning supports for HDTV products upcoverting/downcoverting inputs known as High definition Multimedia Interface (HMDI), COMPOSITE, COMPONET. These are digital video input/output where can be used digital DVD player and/or digital video player.

There are tricky technological problems with the closed captioning on the HD broadcasts. The closed captioning that uses the traditional analog broadcast has been embedded in the signals that are decoded by the analog TV set. However, the captions for HDTV are separated data stream decoded by a set-top box. Deaf consumers find themselves having bug trouble view with the closed captioning with the digital broadcasting such as closed captioning texts’ position offset or trashing full of letters separately all over the HDTV screen.


Since the HI-DVD or any upcoverting/downcoverting high-definition devices that inputs to the HITV are not available due to some companies taking it a step further and having a subtitle option for the hearing impaired which output the same information as a Closed Captioning option would but in a subtitle form. Unfortunately, HDMI connections do not currently have any way to transmit the closed captioning as the standard called for it. Majority of televisions available today do not support the second standard over the HDMI connect. Deaf consumers shall call content operators, stations or device manufacturers tends to pinpoint the support personnel unfamiliar with captioning issues on the HDTV produces’ upcoverting/downcoverting inputs.

As for traditional analog TV, if deaf consumers prefers keep the traditional analog TV, there are digital-to-analog convertor boxes available. After February 17th 2009, all traditional analog TVs will be required to use the digital-to-analog broadcasting converter box to avoid being damaged. FCC rules have been appears to DTV equipment known as converter boxes to able to passing through closed captioning. The digital-to-analog converter box should receive the closed captioning signals and pass those signals to the traditional analog TV automatically. Do not be shocked to see a sheer absence of Closed Caption and deaf consumers shall contact the manufacturer of the converter box.

Failure to follow up with the captioning issues with the HD then deaf consumers can able to file a complaint with the FCC. Even through, if the program or channels lack the captions, it still can file a complaint with the FCC because the companies are in violation of the Television Decoder Circuitry ACT and the FCC’s implementing rules. All deaf consumers need to push the FCC to establish a standard digital HDTV to support Closed Captioning. The more we fill the complaint; FCC will make sure every company to follow-up and meet deaf consumers’ need. The more complaints submitted to the FCC, FCC can follow-up with the violations of the Television Decoder Circuitry ACT as companies/programs made.
Filing the complaint with the FCC can be either online or mailing:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

Online complaint Form 2000C

Phone: 1-888-225-5322 (Voice), 1-888-835-5322 (TTY)

Without FCC mandate, it just won’t happen in timely or effective way because companies and/or manufactures wouldn’t take any complaints about the closed captioning. The very first time experiences with the closed captioning when I was age of 8 by receiving new closed captioning device for my birthday. My parent has high expect to make sure that I am understanding what the TV shows all about and avoid from begging them to tell me what was going on with the shows. I have tasted most of the next generation HDTV and some of them have no supports of closed caption and some does. The big problem has been impacted me big was recent superbowl football shows on the HDTV broadcasting weren’t provides any closed captioning which traditional analog broadcasting TV does. So I am expecting that any companies are well-known that closed captioning is very important for any consumer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life as Bionic - part 2

On the July 14th, which it a month passed since I've received cochlear implant surgery, was the day of cochlear activation. In the waiting room, I have been thoughts from time by time thought what I have been questioned these people's experiences through the cochlear activation. These experiences were variable such as feel or headaches or etc. It made me wonder what would happen to me compare to these, the moment I been gotten into deeper thoughts at same time I was told by my mother and interpreter that they were called my name. I felt like I see the doorway that is no way to turn back away from the cochlear implant activation because I have came that far. I have been profoundly deaf for 24 years and 7 days since I were born. These hearing aids that I have been worn for many years and I knew these sounds weren't what I expect compare what my mother been gave me the description of sounds what she heard. As soon I entered in the cochlear activation room, for some reason my body's blood started boil up for no reason. At least my heart didn't beat that too fast because I knew everything will be good and I have been kept in my mind that I came that far.

Why did I said that? Alright let's start with it, at the age of 4, my father encouraged me to get cochlear implant but for some reason I have been rejected by my doctor after took exams by audiogram. All the throughout my life to wear the hearing aids and I always wanted to remove my hearing aids because it annoyed me lot. Back in High school, I have stopped wear the hearing aids after joined football team. After graduated from the high school, I got offered a job as welder for metals, I decided to wear my old hearing aids again due for safety reason such as fork lifter or other sounds. After long suffers from trying to understand worker's lip, I am telling you truth, I hate when people has something in their mouth or covered by their own bread were difficult for me to read the lips. Some of workers were willing to shave it off the bread for best communication and some of other pissed me off by ask them removed the snuff tobacco or called crewing tobacco while talk with me. It was pain in the butt for doing that way for about 2 years before I decided to join college since it was best things for me to do that way instead end up blue collar worker. As soon I applied for Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), they requested me to take audiogram first thing before mail these application papers. So, I did it, then I was told that my hearing aids were out dated technology, I received new digital hearing aids. These digital hearing aids device were quite interesting compare to my old known as analog, what's different between them? Analog hearing aids device is measure the sound from range of 0.1-1.5 voltage out of the batteries which it can generate about 14 possible sounds. The digital hearing aids that I heard pretty most new sounds for first time in my life, this device only can do by binary codes known as 0101. So I do have 24 electrical signals, but the cochlear device itself what I had is 22 signals therefore it gives 2^22 (4,194,304) of possible sounds. The future will provide the newer verison of cochlear implant device with 24 channels (that goes to 16,777,216!).

I explained to my audiogram and she never expected that I could have been done of my research. Of course, the science, mathematic, and technology are my things which it made me to do research everything to understand how the things are function. She decided immediately to put me into speech therapy program under National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), which I have been listed on the wait list for therapy like four months after signed up for it since joined RIT. My motivation have been increased rapidly with these speech therapy, my speech skills were still lack but it already strengthen my lips reading skills. Somewhere on my second year of college, I have seen about over 300 cochlear implanted students and counting at RIT. I have been questioned these students throughout the academics year about relates to the CI to see what's the compare of different between digital hearing aids and the CI. That's how it leaded me into CI. I asked my audiogram at NTID for more information after all.

Now you see how my path has been leaded to the cochlear implant activation room. My mother sat behind me and the interpreter was on my side, the audiogram just sat right front of me with her laptop and the cochlear implant device. I could see that and I don't know why my hands were trying to avoid to touch these device. I felt like something inside of my body was trying over protection myself because the cochlear implant surgery was the only first time in my life to receive a surgery. Of course I have been broke several of my bones, deep cuts, wounded alot, and many thing but surgery. As soon the audiogram put the cochlear implant right on my left head. I told her that I would rather to have informed me before they turns it on which it would be easier to have my mind prepared instead of freak entire of my mind out. So she did, I had to twist both of my legs on the each of chair's stand, my hand were tighten up the chair's arm stand. When I tighten the arm stand, I felt like I could able to rip it off the stainless steel arm stander.

From the moment when my cochlear implant been turned on, it just like electrical zapping entire of my behind brain. It was zapping for about fewest second, could be nanosecond, then stopped, I could able to hear both of audiogram and my mother said something that I don't even understand but I could tell where the sound directions came from. Both of them had higher pitch voice with different tones of sound. I turned my head to my mother, and I said "Mom, you got yourself higher pitch compare to the audiogram" then she said "It about time for 24 years to get you recognized my voice, your the last person in the family that complained my sound!" We all were cracked up big time together. It was good moment, after all, I took three trips to Nashville, Tenn for CI re-mapping. This Thanksgiving break will be my last CI mapping before transfer these programs to my audiogram at the NTID.

So far, It only month after the cochlear activation, I have been picked up multi-sounds and learned how to sorts it out these sounds. I was so glad to not get annoyed by winds that it been annoyed when I wear the hearing aids.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Life as Bionic

June 22nd, 2008

It has been: 5 days since begin implanted on my left cochlear. I went in for my surgery last Tuesday June 17th 2008. Preparation for the surgery wasn’t easy for me because I never had surgery in entire of my life. At least these nurses and doctor were very friendly, of course, my mother was there for me too.

From the moment I lied on the hospital bed, I kept staring at the digital clock overhead in the operating room. I staring at them for no reason, I remember the time was 7:15am in the morning. Yes, it was early morning but I had to attend to the Baptist Hospital 5:30am in the early morning. At least I did not even earn enough sleep time because I knew I’ll sleep a lot after surgery. As soon my surgeon doctor came to me and signed with his own hand said “Five minutes.” Then the nurse came and gave me sleep shot on my IV line. Right moment before I got shot, he said “here goes to the Happy Shot.” Or something what he tried to speak to me while I was not wearing my eye contacts. They were moved me to the operating table, less than half minute, my entire of my nervous systems were down and even my spring cord was action real funny. I was like “wow, that was the best shot ever I felt.” That’s last thing I ever remember before I slept.

When I woke up thought, it was whole other story like what people said in their Cochlear Implant CI blog. It was not anything like the felt throw up or sick something. I woke up like hungover from last night’s party and drunk. It was piece of cake for me to get up with the dizziness, I could handle the dizziness. But the hard part was is to take a bathroom to pee it because it takes while for me to response entire of my nervous to release the pee. So, I realized that the bandage was wrapped all over my head and it was so low on my forehead which it squishing my eyes and I couldn’t barely to open them very well.

I was in the recovery area, and nurses came to me and see if I able to send home with my mother and grandpa. From the moment I stepped into grandpa’s vehicle, I just couldn’t seem to get comfortable because it was unbearable while riding the car. The city of Nashville has crowded traffics and it made harder for grandpa to get out of the city. I had to point it out for him before I go back to sleep in the car. About several hours later, it felt like I slept for like couple of minute, guessed morphine drug was helpful. Then as soon I arrived home, again, I went to bed while my mother was out to grab the meds for me.

First night after surgery, it was difficult for me to sleep; the painkiller meds didn’t help me to kick it in till 2 or 3 in the morning. What was the painful look alike; the pain goes from my left shoulder all the way up to the top of my left ear. Also, rest of my behind of left ear was pressuring. It feels bruised and tender, like someone actually hit me with a brick. Prehaps, they might be dropped me off the surgery table and hit the floor. If it so, I’ll be damned.

On the third days after surgery, in the early morning as soon I woke. It came to my mind first thing about to remove my head bandage because it was discomforted. It was hardest part to remove it from behind of my head, I had to use scissor to cut some of my hair because it was painful to remove and also it was stuck like it been glued. On that day, I’ve finally walked a lot around the inside and outside of house because I don’t like to sit down and do nothing. Also it needed to stretch my legs and arms. My balance was nonexistent but it was piece of cake since it felt exactly same as hungover from heaviest party. That’s right, that was part of college life! In the last several days after surgery, I found myself unbelievable what I have seen in the TV channels, these programs really bored me to death already! Ever since I graduated from High School back in 2003, I started spend less amount of time with the TV program. Only thing it would be kept myself interesting into TV by buy or rent something coolest movie.

So, all in all, I was look like redneck after all since not begin shaved or washed my hair for a least two days. Shaved it out, washed ¾ of my hair due cannot touch the scars and let water in my left ear for more than a week as following doctor’s order.

People kept asking me if I have able to hear anything, I explained to all of them because some of them don’t know how cochlear implant work. My cochlear implant device won’t be active as following July 14th. It also makes me to look forward to being able to hear. I have been deaf for nearly 23 years since born. I am into full of curious what would sounds look alike. Without it, I could able to hear low frequency such as rumble or higher vibration, I can not hear anything such as human voice known as high frequency at all.