Netflix now lets TV viewers customize text for subtitles and closed captions
Starting today, Netflix is giving TV users the option to customize the size and style of subtitles and closed captions. This update gives subscribers the ability to choose from three sizes — small, medium and large — as well as four styles/colors which include the default white text option, drop shadow (white text with black background), light (black text with white background) and contrast (yellow text with black background). The update will roll out to TV users globally by the end of today.
Netflix members were previously only able to access these subtitle and closed caption sizing and style options via the web. So it’s a welcome update for TV users, especially since streaming on large screens like connected TVs, smart TVs and gaming consoles represented 77% of globally streamed minutes in the first quarter of 2022, per streaming data analytics company Conviva. Notably, 80% of Americans reported that they are more likely to finish a video if it has captions available, according to a 2019 study by Verizon Media and Publicis Media.
While it may seem like a small update, giving TV users more styles, fonts, sizes and colors for subtitles and closed captions can significantly improve the viewing experience. For instance, finding the right size and style of subtitles can make a huge difference for visually impaired, deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. Note that Netflix also already has a select number of titles with Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH). Subtitles and closed captions are also helpful for viewers who may not understand the language.
There are a ton of streaming services that allow users to change the size and style of subtitles, such as Prime Video, Hulu, Disney , HBO Max, Paramount , Peacock and Discovery , among others.
Today’s Netflix update comes nearly a year after the streamer launched badges for audio and subtitle descriptions, as well as expanded to more than 11,000 hours of descriptive audio in over 30 languages.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.