The Ultimate Guide to Caption and Description Formats for Popular Video Players

October 15, 2021 BY KELLY MAHONEY

Ever wondered what type of caption & audio description formats your video player will require? Here, we’ll break down the most popular video players and the formats they require to make video accessible.

Caption Formats

There are plenty of caption formats out there, which can be categorized in three ways: simple, intermediate, and advanced.

Understandably, simple caption formats are the most popular and widely accepted. Common formats include SRT and WebVTT files, which are also easy to create as a DIY captioning alternative.

Intermediate caption formats are primarily used in broadcast television and include SCC and SMPTE-TT file formats.

Fittingly, advanced caption formats are required by more advanced captioning needs like specific caption placement or stylistic preferences.

The caption format you use will depend largely on which format the video player accepts.

 Learn how 3Play Media does captions 💭 

 

Audio Description Formats

There are two types of audio description formats: text-based and media-based.

Text-based formats are just as they sound: text versions of the audio description, that typically look like transcripts with necessary visual descriptions inserted in between the text of the audio. Text-based formats can be downloaded as WebVTT, TXT, DOC, Merged TXT, Merged DOC, Stamped Doc, and Merger Doc (stamped).

Media-based formats only include the audio description without the original source audio. These formats include MP3, OGG, and WAV. However, it is still possible to download a track that includes both the description and the original source audio. These formats include MP4, MP3, OGG and WAV.

Although more and more video players are accepting audio description tracks, we still have a long way to go. If you use 3Play Media, you can always utilize the 3Play Plugin to add description to video players that don’t accept it.

 Read the Ultimate Guide to Audio Description 📓 

 

Video Players, Caption, and Description Formats, Oh My!

Video Player 📹 Caption Format 📺 Audio Description Format 🎧 Accessibility ⌨️
Amazon Prime Video iTunes Timed Text (ITT)
SRT
DFXP
XML
SCC
Keyboard & screen reader accessible
Brightcove WebVTT
SRT
DFXP
Accepts multiple audio tracks Keyboard & screen reader accessible
Echo360 WebVTT
SRT
DFXP
Ensemble Video DFXP MP3 or M4A audio file Keyboard & screen reader accessible
Facebook SRT Screen reader accessible
JW Player WebVTT
SRT
DFXP
M3U8 files Screen reader & keyboard accessible
Kaltura SRT Screen reader & keyboard accessible, WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant
KnowledgeVision JSON Transcript
Limelight DFXP
MediaAMP DFXP
SAMI
SMPTE-TT
SRT
MediaPlatform WebVTT
TXT
PDF
Mediasite SAMI
SRT
DFXP
You can add description of slides through Mediasite’s Slides Editor Keyboard & screen reader accessible
Netflix TTML
XML
DFXP
Keyboard & screen reader accessible
Ooyala DFXP
SCC
WebVTT
TTML
Allows multiple audio tracks WCAG 2.0 compliant
TechSmith Relay SRT
WebVTT
SBV
SAMI
TTML
MP3 Keyboard & screen reader accessible
Panopto DFXP
SRT
WebVTT
ASHX
Keyboard & screen reader accessible
Tegrity QT (custom)
TXT
thePlatform SRT
Twitter SRT
Vidyard WebVTT
SRT
TXT
Mix Audio Description + Source Media Asset WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant
Viostream SRT
VTT
Transcripts: PDF, HTML, TXT, Word, RTF
MP3
Support multiple audio tracks
WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant
VoiceThread DFXP
SRT
SAMI
SBV
SCC
Screen reader & Keyboard accessible
Warpwire WebVTT
Wistia SRT MP3, OGG, and WAV files Screen reader & Keyboard accessible
YouTube SRT
.sbv or .sub
.mpsub
.lrc
.cap
SAMI
RealText
WebVTT
TTML
DFXP
SCC
Screen reader & Keyboard accessible
YuJa SRT MP3 Screen reader & keyboard accessible

What If Your Video Player Doesn’t Accept Captions or Audio Description?

Sometimes, your video player of choice may not include captions or audio description natively. Here are a couple of workarounds you can try:

📺 If closed captions are not accepted:

  • You can encode your captions directly into the video.
  • Include a link to a transcript or paste the transcript in the description box (Note: transcription alone is not compliant for video content – learn more about the difference between transcription & captioning).
  • Use the 3Play plugin!

🎧 If audio description is not accepted:

  • Publish a secondary video with the description included within the audio.
  • Include a text alternative which includes the audio description.
  • Use the 3Play plugin!

What would be possible if you could publish accessible video anywhere? with link to discover the 3Play plugin

3play media logo in blue

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