No, there is nothing good enough. In fact, automated systems got a good, old-fashioned drubbing at the captioning challenge at the ASSETS 2013 conference. Nothing came even close to a human steno captioner.
If you want to make family events accessible and the person in question signs, my recommendation is to hire freelance interpreters. They often charge on a sliding scale, depending on the event and means of the client, and tend to run much cheaper than anyone you can get through referral services. That is what we do at family events, and it works both ways: events by my hearing family for us, and events by us for my hearing friends and family.
If the person does not sign, human captioning is an alternative, but it probably would have to be local rather than remote. Remote does well if there are no overlapping conversations. Otherwise, it has to be local, but that is a lot harder to arrange for, and more expensive.
A note to some of the other commenters: please spare use the patronizing posts of us not missing out on any of the (presumably inane) conversations that take place at such events. *We* make the decision as to what conversation we consider important and what we do not, and nothing is worse than people presuming to speak for us, and presuming to know better about access than we do.
No, not video conferencing, you can't. Not until WebRTC is ready.
Try 55,000 instead of 100,000.
Try the fact that most movies already have been captioned by the content owners and that Netflix is not displaying those captions, rather than having to caption from scratch.
Try 1.5 billion in revenues in 2011 versus substantially less than the $40M figure.
Whether or not something is an essential service is irrelevant under the ADA. The whole point is that you can't get out of discriminating against a group by stating that said group is not your target group. Contrary to your insinuation, the 9th Circuit judges are not stupid - in fact, they have a long history of coming down on the side of businesses.
As for the free services and interpreters, this is a strawman par excellence and not worth replying to. I'll just note two things here:
First, deaf and hard of hearing moviegoers pay for their tickets like everyone else. Second, supporting closed captioning in a movie theater is a ONE TIME cost of $2500 for the equipment. The rest is handled by the fact that digital projection systems already provide all the necessary functionality natively and that most movies are already captioned by the content owners.
And if a theater does not have a digital projection system yet, it is not required to provide closed captions.
So, let's cut the BS already.
Line 21 captions contain 2 characters per vertical blanking interval. That is plenty to maintain real-time text for the fastest speaker, even considering the overhead for positioning, attributes, and control characters.
Yes, they asked nicely many times.
Older DVDs do have textual captions. But HDMI has no provision for carrying closed caption data, and as a result these are not viewable on TVs that are connected to the player via HDMI (*). As a result, newer DVDs and BluRay discs uniformly use subtitles, instead, which are rendered bitmap images, rather than text.
(*) Recent FCC rules require that DVD and BluRay players must render the captions themselves before transmitting them via HDMI, starting in 2014, but this is tangential to the argument.
That is true for TV, but not for DVDs and BluRay discs. The latter could be handled via OCR, though. Unfortunately, DRM frequently stands in the way, unless we can gain an exemption to the DMCA from the Copyright Office. We filed for one, but this matter is still pending, and the Copyright Office told us that their ruling could go either way.
At the moment, they are screwed. However, there are some possibilities, based on the already existing closed captions. The biggest obstacle in moving forward on this problem is DRM, which is illegal to circumvent under the DMCA.
Larry Goldberg from NCAM says that it typically costs $400-$800 to caption a movie from scratch. If you add to that the fact that most Hollywood movies are already captioned by their content owners, it becomes the proverbial drop in the bucket.
The movie theaters tried to make the same argument and were slapped down by the 9th Circuit. The judges essentially told them: "So, does this mean that a courthouse does not have to provide a wheelchair accessible ramp, because it is targeted only at people without a mobility impairment?" The largest three movie theater chains eventually settled because of this. WIth digital projection systems, the cost to equip a theater with closed-caption equipment is less than $2500.
Only content that has been previously shown on TV with captions is covered on YouTube, by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. And unlike Netflix, Google has been very cooperative in complying with the captioning requirements under that law.
The FCC gained the authority to do so with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory