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SHORT TAKES : Actors Back Closed-Caption TV

From Times Wire Services

Actors from the “L.A. Law,” “Cosby” and “Sesame Street” TV programs gave their support Wednesday to a bill that would require all standard-sized television sets to be able to display captions for deaf or hearing-impaired viewers.

Witnesses at a House hearing, including TV stars Richard Dysart, Geoffrey Owens and Linda Bove, said millions of Americans are being excluded from access to broad-based communications systems, particularly TV.

Transmitting so-called closed-captioning services on most TV sets would benefit not only the estimated 24 million Americans with hearing disabilities, but some 18 million youngsters learning to read and millions more foreigners and illiterate adults trying to learn English.

A TV manufacturers’ representative, however, said it would be unfair to require that everyone, particularly the poor or low-income senior citizens, be required to bear the costs of sets with closed-captioning capability.

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