MILLIONS of TV viewers with visual impairments or hearing loss will be able to find suitably adapted content more easily, thanks to the roll out of Freeview’s award-winning Accessible TV Guide.
Developed with insight from viewers, advocacy groups, and accessibility research agencies, including the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Scope and the Digital Accessibility Centre, the Accessible TV Guide won Gold at this year’s Connected TV Awards for ‘Advancing the User Experience’.
Simon Hunt, at Freeview Play, said: “The new Accessible TV Guide will help millions of viewers with visual impairments, hearing loss and other accessibility needs to get so much more out of their TVs.”
When selecting Channel 555 on a supported device, viewers will be asked for their preferred accessibility settings:
- Use Text to Speech for on screen navigation
- Show only programmes with audio description
- Show only programmes with subtitles
- Show only programmes with sign language
Gary Thomas, at the Digital Accessibility Centre, said: “This is a market-leading product. I know of no other TV platform with this level of accessibility options. Freeview’s Accessible TV Guide is a one stop shop, with the option to filter programmes by subtitles, audio description and sign language.
“It’s easy to follow, and its default text-to-speech feature is a welcome original feature to help blind and visually impaired users. As a blind user, the Accessible TV Guide will allow me to read, plan, and access programmes independently which has not been possible for many years.”
John Paton, at RNIB, said: “This new guide is a truly innovative step forward in TV accessibility for blind and partially sighted people. Once the roll out is complete the guide will be available to anyone with a Freeview Play television or set-top box, and the channel number 555 is easy to find due to the tactile dot. This will make a huge difference in TV viewing for millions of people with sight loss across the UK.”
Kristina Barrick, at Scope, added: “We hope this guide will give disabled people more control over their TV viewing and encourage broadcasters to address the amount of content they make available with access services.”
Available on Freeview Play devices including models from Panasonic, LG and Toshiba, viewers with supported devices may need to retune their TVs to start receiving the Accessible TV Guide. The full list of supported Freeview Play devices is available at https://www.freeview.co.uk/help/accessible-tv-guide.
The Accessible TV Guide will be rolling out across the full range of Freeview Play devices over the coming months.