The United States is a culturally diverse nation. Over the past 30 years we have seen tremendous growth in the kinds and numbers of cultures as immigrants from many nations continue to seek freedom and opportunity in the U.S. However, there is one group of people with their own culture and language who have been here from the beginning – America’s deaf and hard of hearing community and has largely been ignored by visual mediums like television.
With more than 30 million people in this community, providing accessible information and entertainment has been a difficult challenge at best. Now, as technology makes great strides, The Silent Network is poised to open the door to a whole new world of exciting programs produced in sign language, open captions and full sound, and featuring some of the top deaf and hearing talent in the country. The Silent Network, with its long history of providing award-winning programming to deaf and hard of hearing audiences, has embraced Over-The-Top TV (OTT) as the most logical way to reach its viewers. In addition, it has expanded its reach with its Facebook pages, its viewer blogs and its user-generated program opportunities.
Sign language is one of the most used languages in America. More and more individuals are taking sign language in schools and colleges now that it has been accepted as a “foreign” language for credit. With the expansion of videophones, mainstreamed classes in the educational arenas and other service centers, the need for interpreters and service individuals who know sign language has escalated. The Silent Network provides a window into the possibilities of interpreting as a career and plays an important part in helping people learn sign language or maintaining their sign language skills.
The Silent Network is owned and operated by deaf and hard of hearing television professionals who work with deaf and hard of hearing actors, producers and writers. It is a catalyst for change. The Silent Network is available for deaf people to voice their concerns, their opinions, their suggestions and their critiques on how to make their lives better in a hearing world.
SILENT NETWORK’S MISSION
The Silent Network provides America’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing citizens with a platform for expressing opinion, and as an entertainment vehicle to display the diversified talents of Deaf artists, as well as serving as an educational outlet that will enable hearing people to better understand the needs, desires and attitudes of individuals in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
The Silent Network, at all times, produces and features programming by individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, about their lives and experiences. In addition, The Silent Network continually encourages Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals to become a part of its operation and will offer training in all aspects of programming production.
The Silent Network always presents its programming in sign language and/or subtitles, and full sound for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing audiences.
Some people have told us that the word “Silent” in our name is not exactly accurate. Deaf people are just as noisy as hearing people, they say. Well, obviously they weren’t aware that the word “Silent” in our name is actually an acronym. It stands for: “SI” for ˜SIgn”,”L” for “Language”, and “ENT” for “ENTertainment.” Put it all together and you have the word ‘SILENT.”
PRESERVING DEAF TELEVISION & FILM HISTORY
The Silent Network, the nation’s first national Deaf/Hard of Hearing television network, which started in 1979, has been hard at work on its major preservation efforts of thousands of hours of past Deaf/HOH broadcast TV shows for the benefit of today’s viewers. Viewers can now enjoy watching the digitally re-mastered shows as well as brand new shows on Access Network. Shows are added regularly. Viewers can watch on their TV, tablet, mobile device, or computer. Watch the shows on Access Network on Roku players, Roku televisions, and the mobile network at www.accessnetwork.tv. Join and support this major historical undertaking!
SILENT NETWORK’S STUDIO FACILITIES
The Silent Network studio is at the historical Palace Theatre in Seguin, Texas. This art deco style theater, which was built in the late forties, has 2 screens available with 35mm platter movie projectors. The large theatre has 350 seats with a 40 foot silver movie screen and a stage. The smaller theatre has 160 seats with a 25 foot screen on the second floor. A concession stand and bar complement the lobby area. Silent Network’s new programming is shot here!