Video

Californian DVD kiosks to be accessible after court settlement

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The DVD supplier Redbox has agreed to makes its kiosks in California accessible for blind and vision impaired consumers after several advocates for the blind launched a class action against the company in 2012.

In settling the class action, Redbox has agreed to incorporate audio guidance, tactile keyboards and other accessibility features into its kiosks. One kiosk at each location will have the features within 18 months, and they will be extended to all of its kiosks within 30 months. There will also be 24-hour phone assistance available at each kiosk.

In addition to this, Redbox will pay US$1.2 million to the class of aggrieved persons in California, and US$10,000 to each of the individuals who made the complaint. It will also pay court costs.


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Audio description takes to the sky

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Emirates airline has announced the introduction of audio description to its in-flight entertainment system, making it the first airline to provide both captioned and audio described content for passengers to enjoy.

Emirates has worked closed with Walt Disney Studios to supply closed captioned content since 2007. In the month of August alone, there will be over 50 movies with closed captions for the Deaf and hearing impaired. To continue Emirates’ commitment to exceptional customer service, audio description will be introduced on 16 Disney movies, allowing people with vision impairment to listen to the visual narration soundtrack.


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Developments in audio described video on demand

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Canadian company Zagga TV is the latest initiative to provide blind and vision impaired viewers with a comprehensive, audio described video on demand service.  

Zagga TV, which is based in Toronto, was founded by Kevin Shaw, who has been blind since the age of 19. According to its website, it will be offering “a fully accessible video on demand subscription service with first-rate movies and TV shows featuring high-quality described video, uncut and commercial free”.


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Top captioned shows on Plus7

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Last week we reported on Seven becoming the first commercial network in Australia to make its catch-up TV service accessible to viewers who are Deaf or hearing impaired. This week, we share our favourite shows available on the platform with captions. 

Some of Seven’s most popular programs including Winners and Losers and A Place to Call Home remain uncaptioned online. My Kitchen Rules and Home and Away are currently the only Australian programs that have captions available on Plus7.


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Accessible media and the autism spectrum

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Today is World Autism Awareness Day. While many may be familiar with issues facing people with autism spectrum disorders, few are aware of the difference accessible media can make. 

Judith Garman, a researcher in the UK has done extensive work in this area. “Captions and audio description are a metaphorical ramp and provide a different kind of value to people on the autistic spectrum,” wrote Garman in 2011.


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Qantas improves in-flight accessibility

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Australia’s national airline has drastically improved the experience of flying for blind and vision impaired passengers by making the devices used on domestic flights to view in-flight entertainment accessible.

Qantas uses Apple iPads for its Q-Streaming system on 17 domestic routes. Until recently, the iPad’s extensive accessibility features were unable to be turned on. This meant that although iPads include screen readers and other assistive technologies, passengers with disabilities were unable to use them.

Following feedback from customers and potential customers, Qantas has now unlocked the iPad’s VoiceOver screen reader.


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Captions now available on Plus7

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The Seven network’s Plus7 has become the first commercial TV catch-up service to provide closed captions.

Captioning was launched on the service to coincide with the beginning of the 2014 rating season in February. All of the major shows on Seven now have captions on Plus7, including Home and Away, Revenge, Downton Abbey, Resurrection and My Kitchen Rules. Yahoo7, which manages the service, is planning further improvements to it in the future.

To turn on captions on Plus7:


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ABC iview on the road to accessibility

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The ABC is working on Australia’s most accessible catch-up TV service as it rolls out improvements to iview.


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Latest DVDs released in February 2014

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Since our last report in November, at least 24 movies have been released on DVD with both closed captions and audio description. Of the 61 titles we researched, 37 were captioned (61%) and 23 described and captioned (38%).

Distributors Accent, Eagle, Jigsaw, Paramount and Pinnacle all had titles released internationally with either captions or subtitles that were not released in Region 4, a market which includes Australia, New Zealand, South America and Oceania.

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