Subscription TV

Fetch TV applies for caption exemptions

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Fetch TV, a subscription service which delivers its content over the internet, has applied to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for exemptions to caption requirements for 21 of its channels, and a caption target reduction for one additional channel.

Amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act passed last year introduced captioning requirements for subscription TV services.

Fetch TV has requested exemptions for the following 21 channels:


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Amendments to Broadcast Services Act a win for Deaf viewers

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The Broadcast Services Act (BSA) has been amended to include increased quotas and quality guarantees for captioning on free-to-air and subscription television. These long-awaited amendments are being celebrated by Deaf and hearing impaired viewers who can now expect a greater variety of programs with captions meeting certain basic standards.

The amendments, which were passed by the Senate in June, introduce quotas for subscription TV providers such as FOXTEL. These will increase incrementally and will range from 5% on music channels to 75% for movie channels by 1 July 2014.

Captioning quotas for free-to-air television will also increase incrementally to one hundred per cent of programming between 6 am and midnight by 2014. News and current affairs programs must be captioned no matter what time of day they are broadcast.


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SKY NZ to provide more captions

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New Zealand subscription TV provider SKY has extended captioning to a further four channels – History, BBC Knowledge, MTV and TVNZ Heartland. This follows the introduction of captioning on an initial 13 channels in February.

“It’s another step towards access,” said SKY spokesperson Kirsty Way in a media release. “SKY will continue to work towards launching captioning for even more SKY channels and will apply to NZ ON Air funding to make captioning available on Prime.” (Prime is a free-to-air channel which is also available through SKY.)


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Foxtel and Xbox 360 gesture towards accessibility

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Foxtel has teamed up with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect to provide voice and gesture based commands on the Foxtel subscription TV service.  By using voice and gesture commands, people who are vision impaired can now access television shows and movies without using a remote control.

Kinect is a motion sensor device that is used with the video games console Xbox 360. The motion sensor allows users to interact with video games using their voice and body. As well as a video games console, Xbox 360 provides access to music, television shows, movies and Foxtel programs.

By using Foxtel’s service through Xbox 360 Kinect, users are able to pause, play, rewind and navigate menu items by speaking and using their hands to make gestures, providing those who are vision impaired  with an alternative to using a remote control.

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