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05/15/2013

Sony Caption Glasses for the Movies

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Arlene Romoff, author and advocate for people with hearing loss, reviews Sony's new Caption Glasses for cinema goers who are blind, deaf or hard of hearing.

Do you need captioning to enjoy movies? If so, then aside from open captioning, you’re probably familiar with Rear Window Captioning (RWC), which has been available for many years, and creates the illusion of captions appearing onscreen through reflective panels. Now there’s a new technology, Sony Caption Glasses, which also delivers the illusion of captions appearing on-screen. A third technology, CaptiView, has seat-based captions.  

The Sony glasses consist of eyeglass frames attached by wire to a control box. A signal is beamed to the glasses and the captions appear on the lenses as a hologram, creating the illusion of being on the movie screen. Adjustments on the nosepiece and sides of the frame control the placement of the captions up or down.  

Sony's Caption Glasses come with a small attached box that has two additional adjustments: Distance and Brightness

Image: Sony's Caption Glasses come with a small attached box that has two additional adjustments: distance and brightness

The small attached box has two additional adjustments: Distance and Brightness. When pressing the center button, the word “Distance” appears, with three options – Near, Regular, Far. When the center button is pushed twice, the word “Brightness” appears, with five levels to choose from. The glasses can fit over regular glasses, and since the captions appear to be on the movie screen, no reading glasses for close vision are needed. For 3D movies, a special filter fits over the lenses. You can sit anywhere in the theater.  

Request the glasses at the box office, and the staff will input the correct theater number. Once in the theater, you can check if the glasses are working by adjusting the Distance/Brightness controls. Check each lens separately, to ensure that both sides are working. The captions can be positioned anywhere on the screen by moving your head. You can place the captions across the screen, above or below. Although the captions do move when you move your head, it is actually easy to get used to and is sort of empowering.

The glasses can feel heavy on the nose, especially after more than an hour’s use. With a limited number of devices at the theater, it’s also possible one won’t be available when you need it. They can also malfunction, so it’s important to check the device before the movie begins.

To find movies with captioning, www.captionfish.com, lists all captioned movies available by location and includes the type of captioning provided. There’s sure to be a captioned movie in your area, and now there are new options to try!

For additional information go to: pro.sony.com and type "Caption Glasses" in the Search Site box.

Author Arlene RomoffAbout the Author:

Arlene Romoff is the author of “Listening Closely” and “Hear Again,” and is the Past-President of HLA-NJ. Visit her website at http://www.arleneromoff.com and follow her on Twitter

This article has been reprinted with permission from the author. It was first published in the March 2013 issue of 'Monthly Communicator,' Volume 34, No. 3., NJ Department of Human Services - Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Read the full issue.  

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