FCC defines four non-technical quality standards as the components necessary to ensure that closed captions provided by Video Programming Distributors (VPDs) — “defined as all entities who provide video programming directly to customers’ homes, regardless of distribution technology used” — to fully and effectively convey the content of television programming to people who cannot hear to the same extent that the audio track conveys this content to people who are able to hear:
1. Accuracy: To be accurate, captions must reflect the dialogue and other sounds and music in the audio track to the fullest extent possible based on the type of the programming, and must identify the speakers.
2. Synchronicity: In order to be synchronous, captions must coincide with their corresponding dialogue and other sounds to the fullest extent possible based on the type of the programming, and must appear at a speed that can be read by viewers.
3. Program Completeness: For a program’s captions to be complete, they must run from the beginning to the end of the program, to the fullest extent possible, based on the type of the programming.
4. Placement: For proper placement, captions may not cover up other important on-screen information, such as character faces, featured text, graphics, or other information essential to the understanding or accessing of a program’s content.