Sony's Entertainment Access Glasses provide private closed captions for deaf people


July 19, 2012

With Sony's Entertainment Access Glasses, the hearing impaired can see private closed captions projected right in front of their eyes in movie theaters

With Sony's Entertainment Access Glasses, the hearing impaired can see private closed captions projected right in front of their eyes in movie theaters

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We're smack in the middle of summer, which means there are plenty of blockbuster movies to choose from in theaters right now. If you're deaf, though, a trip to the movies can be frustrating. Not many theaters screen movies with closed captions, since most people without hearing problems would rather not see them. The only other option is usually to have a special ear piece on, but that only works if a person has any of their hearing left. Fortunately, Sony is outfitting certain theaters with its new Entertainment Access Glasses, which can display captions right in front of the wearer's eye that no one else can see.

The lightweight glasses are outfitted with small projectors on each side that display green text as an overlay that seems to float in front of the big screen. That way, viewers can see a perfectly clear caption no matter how or where they sit in the theater. Users can also change the brightness of the captions, how far away they appear to be, and even their angle to get the best view possible.

The attached receiver even has audio jacks that can transmit either assistive audio (like the ear pieces many theaters already have) or an audio description of the on-screen action for the blind - though unfortunately, the audio and the caption glasses cannot be used at the same time. Users can also choose from six different languages, depending on which ones are available for the movie. On top of that, the glasses support 3D as well, so a person won't have to somehow fit two or more pairs of glasses on their face. Both the audio and closed captions are broadcast from a radio transmitter attached to the theater's digital cinema server.

Sony has currently begun providing the Entertainment Access Glasses to some of its 4K Digital Cinemas, and recently inked a deal to bring them to Regal Cinemas across the United States.

Check out the video below to hear more about Sony's new closed caption glasses.

Source: Sony

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

Wayda get innovative Sony, they need to do more stuff like this, a little outside the box thinking


THANK YOU. I'm not deaf, but I am hearing impaired, and I really get annoyed when I can't make out what some characters are saying in theaters. It's enough that I only go to theater movies when all my friends want to.

Joel Detrow

A solution such as the Sony Access Glasses would be very useful for people with hearing loss in the UK. Although most cinemas now have facilities to screen the latest films with English-language subtitles & audio description for people with hearing or sight loss, there are only around 1,000 subtitled shows every week around the UK. That may sound a lot but it’s only around 1% of cinema shows. In the UK, subtitles are on the cinema screen, for all to see, so require separate screenings - inconvenient for cinemas as well as audiences.

Subtitle glasses would increase the choice of subtitled films and shows tenfold, which people with hearing loss would very much appreciate. Take a look at this page of feedback from the cinema-going public:

In fact a multi-language/caption/narration solution such as subtitle glasses or a caption display would enable under-served, untapped audiences Europe-wide to enjoy the cinema experience. Not only people with hearing or sight loss, but also people whose first language is not the local language.

The content is ready - film distributors already ensure that most popular cinema releases are routinely captioned, audio described and subtitled in many European languages. Large-capacity DCP hard drives can easily accommodate a digital film and multi-language text/audio tracks.

With ageing, loss of some hearing or sight is inevitable. Access to film via captions/subtitles and audio description/narration is something that we may all appreciate eventually.

Derek Brandon Twitter:

Subtitlesat Yourlocalcinema
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