Television

Subscription TV industry lodges new captioning exemption application with the Human Rights Commission

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The Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) has applied to the Australian Human Rights Commission for a temporary exemption under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 with regard to closed captioning on its members' channels. This replaces a previous application lodged with the Commission in June 2009.

Under the first exemption granted to ASTRA by the Commission in June 2004, ASTRA agreed to implement a number of proposals, including the enabling of 40 channels for captioning in two stages, with these channels captioning 5% of total programs in the first year, followed by 5% increases in each subsequent year. In its latest application, ASTRA submits that these targets have been exceeded.

The new exemption application breaks channels down into six groups. These are:

Group 1: Broadly viewed movie, children’s and entertainment channels

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American blind left behind in digital TV transition

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American Council of the Blind board member, Ray Campbell, claims that people with vision disabilities have been left behind due to 'idiots in Washington' who did not include accessibility issues in transition legislation and regulations for digital TV.'

American Council of the Blind board member, Ray Campbell, claims that people with vision disabilities have been left behind due to 'idiots in Washington' who did not include accessibility issues in transition legislation and regulations for digital TV.'

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Captions on Washington DC mobile TV service confirmed

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The mobile TV service for the Washington DC area is in late stages of setting up, with a service expected to start in April 2010.  This is where the stations will broadcast television services to mobile devices. 

The standard for mobile television standard used does support closed captioning, but this does not guarantee that broadcasts will be captioned.  In a response to the story, 'Mobile Local Digital TV is Here.

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British firm develops the first accessible set-top box

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The British firm Ocean Blue Software, in collaboration with ST Microelectronics, TW Electronics and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), has developed the world’s first ‘talking’ digital set-top box, called the Chatterbox.

When a channel is changed on the box, a voice reads out the title of the new program that has been turned on, the duration, and whether it has captions or audio description. A demonstration video is available for viewing on the Ocean Blue website.

The Chatterbox was demonstrated earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. It is expected to go on sale in the UK soon, while Ocean Blue is currently looking for a partner to bring it to the US arket.

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