The BBC is aiming to improve the live captioning service on its programme output by reducing the delay between a show’s audio and the appearance of the related on-screen text.

Based on research completed by BBC R&D and Ericsson, the corporation will later this summer adopt a new approach to live captioning that reduces latency by making better use of the time it takes for a broadcast encoder to convert video for transmission.

The move follows a live subtitle re-timing proof-of-concept project that saw BBC and Ericsson working with Atos and Screen Subtitling Systems.

Ericsson head of technology, access services Matt Simpson, said: “As captions take less time to encode, a compensating delay is used to ensure pre-prepared, accurately authored captions are synchronised with the audio. During programmes with live captions, this compensating delay can be decreased, in turn reducing the apparent delay of the live captions.”

The new approach will be rolled out in a phased fashion across the BBC’s channels from this summer. Ericsson will also offer it to other broadcast customers.