[BCAB] accessible telly

John Paton John.Paton at rnib.org.uk
Wed Jul 26 13:49:05 BST 2017


Hi Sean,

The last device we built ourselves was the Smart Talk box. It was important that we did that because it disproved the industry's assertion that a talking TV device couldn't be made but that way of working, ie RNIB driving the development makes it an inefficient route to produce a device. Apart from the accessibility it had it was a pretty expensive device for the features built in to it. It is also now out of date so it didn't solve the problem long term. You may still be able to buy a second hand Smart Talk box though if you want an accessible set-top box.

RNIB is a large organisation which can make us look like a rich organisation. I've worked in the charity sector for 10 years and there is a truism that a charity can never afford to do everything that they want to. Yes, we could cut back on our community connectors and the facilitators but we need those links to help inform our work and to tell people about the goods and services that can help them. The biggest cause of sight loss is old age and part of our challenge is getting help and services to older generations who are harder to reach. 

The decisions of what gets funded and what doesn't are above my pay-grade but please believe me that we don't have a stash of spare cash to spend on projects. Even if more budget was freed up in some way almost every team could think of four or five great ways to spend it. We need to make sure the money we receive is spent as efficiently as possible and our current understanding is that the best way to do that is to encourage mainstream accessibility wherever possible. 

Best regards,

John


-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Sean Randall
Sent: 26 July 2017 12:19
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] accessible telly

John,

I do appreciate the work RNIB are doing, but it really seems that there are unexplored angles. RNIB have a lot of power, why aren't
you designing and selling a Freeview box of your own to replace the TVOnics and take it into the future rather than just hounding
those who don't? The last RNIB meeting I attended had a table of "community connectors" (5-10 unpaid volunteers) and more than that
in terms of management and paid RNIB personnel to "Facilitate". Even one of their annual salaries would go a long, long way to
designing some firmware for existing hardware which the RNIB could market and have complete control over.  There are small,
blind-friendly companies on this very list such as Portset and ViTech who could doubtless commit to assisting  in such an attempt.
The market is flooded with cheap Freeview receivers from China as well as bigger well-known brands. Is there not one of them who
would commit to custom software as TVOnics did? Why does the impetus always have to be on the companies to change, why cannot the
people who represent blind people do some changing as well? I'm not for a moment suspending advocating for inclusivity. But is it
not about time the people with the money and the power, that is the RNIB, did some development in this arena once again?

To take Simons points, I don't think I'm out of order and I don't think the RNIB were out of order to focus on Freeview either.  The
RNIB is a charity and, to be blunt, if you can afford VM and Sky, I'm not saying you're less deserving of help but that any changes
made to these platforms would benefit the few, rather than the many.  Equally these are 2 big companies, where success has obviously
been limited - the Free-to-air market is much wider in terms of smaller companies who surely, with some financial input could do as
much good for us in the long term.

S. 

__
Sean Randall
IT and Accessibility Specialist
Email Contact at SeanRandall.me
Phone +44 (0) 1905 692280 
Or visit My LinkedIn Profile for my blog posts, areas of interest and qualifications at http://UK.LinkedIn.com/in/AccessibleSean


-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of John Paton
Sent: Monday 24 July 2017 01:31 PM 
To: BCAB Discussion List
Subject: Re: [BCAB] accessible telly

Hi Sean,

Freeview and Freeview Play are both accessed via standard TVs such as the Samsung and Panasonic TVs. We work with manufacturers to
help them make TVs accessible. We work with the DTG (Digital Television Group) to create advice on accessibility. We put pressure on
Ofcom to put pressure on the industry. We suggested to Ofcom that service providers such as Freeview could place accessibility as a
prerequisite for being allowed to access the EPG services. 

Almost all of the industry responses to Ofcom's consultation on accessible EPGs were marked as confidential but those that we could
see were vehemently against Ofcom's proposal for mandated accessibility (and the proposal was only for receivers that had recording
capability). The Equality Act doesn't apply to TVs so we cannot force manufacturers to make them accessible. Ofcom does however have
some leverage with their EPG code and we'll continue to work with them in their next consultation to try to bring that leverage to
bear on the industry. 

This is not be an easy problem to solve but we'll continue to work on it because we know it is important. It was by chipping away at
the problem that we convinced Panasonic and TVonics to create talking TV equipment and it will likely be by chipping away that we
get the next talking TVs on the market. 

Best regards,

John

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Sean Randall
Sent: 24 July 2017 12:40
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] accessible telly

I'd like to know why the RNIB aren't pushing for better Freeview and Freeview play access, though? Why go for Sky and VM, both of
whom are the higher end of the spectrum in terms of cost? I'm not saying miss them out, but where's the focus on the lowest common
denominator? Why should those of us who just want to record normal, free-to-air TV be forced into using expensive large-screen TVs
or defunct boxes. It's 2017 now, why aren't we seeing built-in TTS in all the new Freeview and Freesat receivers as we do high
contrast?

S.

__
Sean Randall
IT and Accessibility Specialist
Email Contact at SeanRandall.me
Phone +44 (0) 1905 692280 
Or visit My LinkedIn Profile for my blog posts, areas of interest and qualifications at http://UK.LinkedIn.com/in/AccessibleSean

-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Tom Reid
Sent: Monday 24 July 2017 12:33 PM 
To: 'BCAB Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [BCAB] accessible telly

Hi folks, thanks for views. John, thanks for your more detailed comments on
accessibility. It's clearly a general problem, Tom

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RNIB endeavours to ensure that emails and any attachments generated by its staff are free from viruses or other contaminants.  However, it cannot accept any responsibility for any  such which are transmitted.

We therefore recommend you scan all attachments.

Please note that the statements and views expressed in this email and any attachments are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RNIB.

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