Video

New tool adds audio description to YouTube videos

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Blind or vision impaired people will have an additional way to access audio description services on YouTube videos through a new experimental online software program, YouDescribe.

Audio description is an additional audio track that provides a description on the visual elements of a video, TV broadcast or performance. Unlike closed captions, which are becoming widespread across the web, audio described videos are rarely available online.


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Vimeo enhances accessibility

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The video sharing website Vimeo has introduced several new features, including support for closed captions and foreign language subtitles on its video player.

Until now, YouTube was the only social video sharing service which allowed videos to be made accessible to Deaf and hearing impaired viewers. As reported by the Drum, with this added function, Vimeo will be more competitive and viewers will have access to a larger amount of content.


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Highlights of 2013: Foxtel’s On Demand movies captioned

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Deaf and hearing impaired viewers have seen large increases in caption levels on television in recent years, but at the same time have been frustrated by a lack of captions on video on demand and catch-up TV services. That makes Foxtel’s decision to provide captions on 14 of its On Demand services from 1 October all the more welcome.

As well as captioning the majority of new releases on the On Demand channels (which are released on the same day as the DVD),  Foxtel is also providing half of the free on demand content that subscribers can access through the iQ section of their iQ or MyStar set top boxes.

Benjamin Cox, Foxtel’s Head of Channel Production, told Media Access Australia that “We’ve received a lot of customer feedback over the years and closed captioning for on demand content is something that has always been requested, particularly since video on demand has grown in usage over the recent years.”


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British online video provider improves accessibility

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The video on demand provider YouView has announced a range of improvements to make its services easier to use for blind and vision impaired people, as well as those with a motor skill or cognitive impairment.

The changes include a new zoom function that works with all aspects of the program guide, and which the company described as a UK first. The free YouView app for iOS and Android now has text-to-speech navigation of the program guide, while the app is also now available in a high-contrast version.


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US air travel access rules will affect Australian airlines

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In a ruling issued last week by the US Department of Transportation, airlines servicing the US will need to improve access to core travel information and services on their websites and airport kiosks.

The new rule is part of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 and will come into effect on 12 December 2013. Airline website pages for booking and changing reservations will need to be accessible. Within two years, these pages must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA, with entire website compliance required within three years.


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