Last week I went to a movie theater to test another type of closed captioning equipment. Previously, I had tested the Sony Entertainment Access Glasses available at Regal Cinemas. You place the glasses on your head (of course) and captions appear in the lenses. The captions move as your head moves.
This system was different. The CCR-100 from USL, Inc. looks somewhat like a ViewMaster on a stick. It’s designed to fit inside the cup holders in movie theater seats. A long stem leads up to a viewing box where the subtitles appear. The stem is sturdy but flexible, so that the viewer box can be adjusted to the proper angle, location, and height in front of the viewer.
This type of system had some advantages as compared to the glasses. I found the CCR-100 easier to use, in that I didn’t accidentally switch it off, as I did with the Sony glasses, which I had difficulty powering up again. The captions also appeared to be brighter and clearer when viewed at the proper angle. There were fewer cables, buttons, and connections to deal with on this device as well. I prefer the simplicity.
There are some things that I didn’t like, though. I found it quite difficult to position the device so that I was able to read the captions and see the screen at the same time. When I placed the caption receiver directly in my line of sight between myself and the screen, a portion of the screen was blocked. When I moved the receiver outside of the line of sight between myself and the screen, I had to move my head, or at least my eyes, back and forth between the movie screen and the caption receiver. In both cases, it was difficult for me to focus on the captions and the movie screen at the same time.
USL also offers a system that is based on glasses.
Remember, too, the advice from the DC Deaf Moviegoers group that words directly on the screen – open captions – are also an option at theaters if requested, and can be better for some people.