NATAS Honors SMPTE, Chuck Pagano

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Wed, 01/13/2016 - 13:34 -- Nick Dager

From left to right, Ann Marie Rohaly, Peter Symes, Mike Dolan, Barbara LangeThe National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has awarded SMPTE an Emmy Award for Technology and Engineering for its work on Standardization and Pioneering Development of Non-Live Broadband Captioning. The award was presented to SMPTE, Netflix, Home Box Office, Telestream, and the World Wide Web Consortium during the 67th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards ceremony, which was held January 8 in Las Vegas in conjunction with the international Consumer Electronics Show.

Additionally, SMPTE Member Chuck Pagano, a pioneer with ESPN and the 2013 winner of SMPTE's prestigious David Sarnoff Medal, was recognized with a NATAS Lifetime Achievement Award.

"I congratulate all the partner organizations that share in this honor, and I thank the Academy for its recognition of SMPTE's contribution to this important work," said SMPTE executive director Barbara Lange. "I also wish to congratulate Chuck for receiving his well-deserved NATAS Lifetime Achievement Award."

Determined by the National Awards Committee's Technology & Engineering Achievement Committee, the Emmy Award recognizes SMPTE as an organization whose innovation and vision have materially affected the way the audience views television, and one that has set the standard for technological excellence in the industry. The award honors the work that SMPTE and its members have done in developing and publishing the SMPTE Timed Text profile, which enables content that is closed-captioned when on television to be closed-captioned when offered via the Internet.

Largely based on the Timed Text Markup Language 1.0 of W3C, SMPTE-TT is used in production environments to repurpose television content for Internet use and is employed by a growing number of video services and Internet video players. SMPTE-TT is the basis for subtitles and captions in the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem's UltraViolet format for commercial movie and television content, and it shares a common base with subtitles for Internet-delivered television in the U.K. and other European countries.

In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission has declared SMPTE-TT a safe harbor interchange and delivery format. This means that captioned video content distributed via the Internet using the SMPTE-TT standard is compliant with the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which was enacted to ensure the accessibility, usability, and affordability of broadband, wireless, and Internet technologies for people with disabilities.

In developing SMPTE-TT, SMPTE established a liaison with the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology to ensure that it understood and met the requirements of the disabled community. The Society has made the complete set of standards freely available to the public, removing any barriers for access to this vital information, which ultimately enables the hearing-impaired to enjoy entertaining and informative video delivered via the Internet.

"A SMPTE committee of more than 60 experts from many industry sectors developed the set of standards that provide for authoring captions and for carriage of captions already created for conventional television transmission," said Peter Symes, SMPTE director of standards and engineering. "SMPTE Members Ann Marie Rohaly, Craig Cuttner, and Mike Dolan, and many other volunteers, have dedicated hours of service to make our work on captioning standards useful to the industry, and their remarkable efforts are deserving of this prestigious award."

SMPTE and its members featured prominently throughout the awards ceremony. Emmy Awards were garnered by a variety of organizations that are Sustaining Members of the Society, with wins by Nexidia, Nielsen, Civolution, MACON, BCS (Imagine Communications), Ross Video, DirecTV, Ericsson, Harmonic, and Turner.