Subscription TV

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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More captioning on pay TV

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An agreement reached between the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) will see captioning levels on FOXTEL and AUSTAR increase over the next three years.

Under the agreement, which was reached in consultation with Media Access Australia, minimum captioning levels on movie channels will increase from 55% to 75%, on some general entertainment channels from 35% to 55%, and on sports channels from 5% to 15%. Subscription TV providers which adhere to these minimum levels will be exempt from complaints about caption levels under the Disability Discrimination Act until 2015.


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US cable TV provider agrees to address captioning problems

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Cable TV provider Comcast will review and improve its captioning testing procedures after reaching a compliance agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the captioning capabilities of their set-top boxes.

In 2010 the FCC launched an investigation into the cable TV provider Comcast, following complaints that the company’s set-top boxes were not passing through closed captions. This investigation has now been terminated, with Comcast agreeing to take steps to rectify the problems, and to make a voluntary contribution of US$500,000 to the United States Treasury.


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