Blind/vision impaired TV, DVD, Cinema & the Arts news

Highlights of 2013: Talking TVs released in Australia

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Over the past few years, the increasing availability of text-to-speech technology in PCs, tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices has made them much more accessible for blind and vision impaired consumers. In April this year, the technology reached the Australian television market with the release of several models in Panasonic’s Viera smart TV range which have a text-to-speech function called Voice Guidance.

Voice Guidance was originally developed by Panasonic’s UK division, in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of the Blind, and the first TVs with it went on sale there in 2012. When activated by the user, it reads out onscreen text including channel names and program information. Prior to the release of these models, the only TV receivers available in Australia with a text-to-speech function were two set top boxes manufactured by Hills and Bush.


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Highlights of 2013: cinema access advances

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Throughout December Media Access Australia will bring you a summary of the biggest developments in access to media and technology seen in 2013. The first looks at developments in cinema both in Australia and internationally.

New technologies

In Europe three separate companies are introducing captioning or captioning and audio description to Italy and Spain through innovative devices.


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New access company launched in New Zealand

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Able is the new company which will be supplying captioning for channels TV One, TV2, TV3 and FOUR in New Zealand, as well as audio description for TVC One and TV2.

The staff at Able were formerly located in the studios of TVNZ, which owns TV One and TV2. However, as TV3 and FOUR are owned by another company, MediaWorks New Zealand, it was decided earlier this year to transfer them to an independent company. The CEO of Able, Wendy Youens, was formerly Access Services Manager at TVNZ.


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Jodi Awards acknowledge digital media access

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The tenth anniversary Jodi Awards were held this week at the UK’s annual Museums Conference, celebrating high quality projects that contribute to accessible digital culture.

Highlighting the best use of technology to widen access to information, learning, collections and creativity for people in museums, libraries, archives and heritage, the award categories were updated in this significant anniversary year to acknowledge the role digital media plays in everyday society.


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