Captions on Popular Online Video Sites

Online videos have grown in number and importance to the point where deaf, hard of hearing, and other people who need captions are seriously disadvantaged if those captions are not available. For example, some educational institutions offer online training that includes videos, but these are often not available. And of course most informal videos, such as family reunions or school plays, are hardly ever captioned.

Adding to this problem is the fact that there are many different video formats, and the most popular online video sites use different interfaces to control playback.

However, there are some improvements in online captioning, and more progress is on the way. This article covers how to find and view captioned videos online.

Captioning of video websites varies since there is no legal requirement to caption "consumer-generated" videos.  Federal government agencies do have to caption their online videos under Section 508, and a new law will require captioning of regular television programs that appear online.


YouTube has a ‘CC’ button if captions are available for that video.  You can search for captioned videos:

  1. Type in the subject in YouTube's search form as usual. 
  2. On the results page, select "Search options". 
  3. In the last column, under "Features", select "Closed captions".

YouTube has its own page on captions.


Hulu also displays a "CC" button if a video has captions.  Here's how to search Hulu for captioned videos:

  1. From the Hulu home page, select "Most popular" or "Recently added"
  2. Near the top of the page, under "Filters", check "Captions"

Hulu has a captioning page. It explains how to change the font, size, and color of the caption text.


If you are creating a video, see our article on adding captions to your video.

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