Communications regulator Ofcom wants to know whether TV manufacturers should do more to make TVs accessible to blind and partially sighted people. If it finds that they should, Ofcom can help make that happen.
Many blind and partially sighted people tell us that they have difficulty using, or find it impossible to use, their television’s on-screen electronic programme guides (“EPGs”). Ofcom has now decided to consult on whether TV manufacturers should make their EPGs “talk”. They have opened a consultation and want to hear your views.
How to respond to the consultation
You can respond online, by email, post, fax or even telephone, and Ofcom will provide alternative formats of the consultation itself upon request.
If you are unable to respond in other ways, and would like to phone in your response, you can call Jacopo Genovese from Ofcom on 020 7981 3725.
The consultation closes on 8th September 2014, so all responses need to be in by this point.
When responding to the consultation, you do not have to answer all the questions, go into technical detail, or be a technology wizard. You simply need to be someone who has an interest in this matter, and to explain how you use/ cannot use EPGs, (you might own a TV with a talking EPG already) and what you would like to be able to use in terms of TV equipment.
EPGs contain lots of written, and therefore visual, information. This includes details about when programmes are on, if audio description is available, as well as EPGs allowing viewers to select what they want to watch.
For a long time, RNIB has urged TV manufacturers and digital TV providers, such as Sky and Virgin Media, to ensure that their EPGs “talk”. We want EPGs to read out the on-screen information, using text-to-speech technology.
Panasonic and Samsung have now gone ahead and included this technology in some of their televisions. However, none of the other manufacturers have joined them in taking this step.
If you have any questions about this consultation, you can contact Ofcom at the number above or RNIB Campaigns on 0207 391 2123 or email: [email protected]