Accessible Christmas gift ideas for 2014

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Friday, 19 December 2014 12:33pm

Looking for that special something for that special someone—a Christmas present that is both accessible and awesome? Look no further than Media Access Australia’s guide on accessible Christmas gift ideas for 2014.

iTunes gift card

iTunes $30, $20 and $50 gift cards

An iTunes gift card is a great way to download e-books or captioned video on demand. Currently iTunes offers about 10 per cent of its video content with captions. You can also shop around for discounted iTunes gift cards at major retail outlets such as OfficeWorks and Target, with offers of up to 20 per cent off being available.

Talking TV Set Top Box

Bush Talking Television HD Set Top Box

The Bush Talking Set Top Box is the ideal Christmas gift for the blind or vision-impaired TV viewer. Simply connect it to your TV and the talking function will read out on-screen text such as menus and program information. We’ve got one in our office and it’s great. The recommended retail price is $199.

Android tablets

Android-based tablet

If you’re looking to buy a gift which is both accessible and value for money, there are a number of affordable Android tablets available from discount retailers and online websites such as DealExtreme, DealsDirect and eBay.  Provided the tablet runs Android version 4.2 (Jelly Bean), 4.4 (KitKat) or 5.0 (Lollipop) there will be a number of great accessibility features built-in or available from the Google Play Store. Accessibility features include the TalkBack screen reader, a full-screen magnifier and caption video playback. Android devices also have the benefit of having a number of different on-screen keyboards to choose form for people with a mobility impairment and additional launchers can be purchased such as BIG Launcher to simply how the device works. Prices for generic tablets can be found for less than $100. For people seeking a faster and more polished experience, the second generation Motorola Moto G is available for around the $300 price point while for the $600-800 mark you can purchase devices such as the new Google Nexus range of tablets and smartphones, or products such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Note 4.

Discovery Kids on FOXTEL

Discovery Kids logo

How about sitting the kids down in front of Discovery Kids, the 100 per cent captioned FOXTEL TV channel, while you read a book with a cup of coffee (or something stronger)? Engaging educational TV that is 100 per cent captioned is a boon for students with diverse learning needs. Discovery Kids on FOXTEL, launched in November 2014, delivers on the promise of accessibility and fun educational programming for children—a great way to combine education and entertainment for the kids this Christmas.

Real Thing RealSAM

Real Thing's RealSAM with 'press then talk' text on screen

At Media Access Australia we love a good product that, funnily enough, provides improved media access. And that is exactly what Real Thing's RealSAM (Simple Accessible Media) does. RealSAM is a small handheld device, about the size of a small mobile phone, which allows users to browse a wide array of media content using voice controls. For example, users can ask RealSAM to read out articles from different newspapers, play radio podcasts, or give information on the weather, the time or your location. All content is gathered online via 3G or Wi-Fi. With the device, users can easily browse through a huge amount of content, listen to favourites, or choose something completely new on a whim.

iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 Plus resting on top of a MacBook

While up towards the pricey end of the Christmas wish list (Santa has no budget, right?), the iPhone 6 Plus is a tech gadget that can’t be passed up. Dubbed as a ‘phablet’ (a phone and a tablet in a single device), its large screen, improved battery life and integration with the suite of Apple products makes it one of the premium smartphones in today’s market. The latest iPhone also comes with many accessibility inclusions, including enhanced VoiceOver and predictive text, a grayscale feature as well as the ability to play videos with captions. For users of zoom, the larger 5.5 inch screen will allow content to be viewed more easily.

Large print/big button TV remote

Big Button Universal Remote Control

If you have close friends or family members who are vision impaired or losing their sight, a universal big button remote control is a great gift for TV watchers. With larger buttons that are easier to press they also feature large numbers that are easy to read and offer good contrast. Once programmed, these infrared universal remotes can operate a TV, VCR, DVD player, set top boxes and satellite or cable boxes and replace the need for multiple remote controls. Some models feature buttons that light up when pressed.

Ultimate accessible gift idea

Emirates Airbus A380-800 mid-flight

From CEO Alex Varley, here’s the ultimate accessible gift for the very special vision impaired person in your life. Tickets to a West End show in London, described, of course, by VocalEyes. Take your pick from what’s on. Sure it’s a 24-hour flight away, but do it in accessible style with Emirates and pick from the in-flight audio described movies.

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