[BCAB] accessible telly

Graham portset1 at portset.co.uk
Thu Jul 27 18:36:45 BST 2017


Sean,

John is the front line so gets all the flack but he is not in a position 
to move the RNIB. He interfaces with broadcast bodies but from reading 
some of the meeting minutes he get little chance to put or even force 
issues.

As one who offered a STB FreeView for less than £200 the decider (email 
Later) spent a consultant as a accessibility rep and than did a due 
diligence on us with a London accountant. After spending over £3K in our 
development to not even be responded to is normal for the course for the 
RNIB.

Alba's Smart Talk was prior to all this which was a stitch up during my 
monthly visits to DTG and DCMS Digital Television meetings switch over.

AD for FreeView was a BBC development and was withheld from public 
detail of access unless you paid £10k as a DTG member, but no one was 
interested. We demonstrated to DTG when it was in its early stages 
(2005) a fulling working accessible FreeView receiver with Talking 
Teletext. Unfortunately my several meeting with Ofcom to get a 
specification for Digital Text was not supported and since the BBC are 
the only providers with a statement to us as we are providing an 
artistic presentation so unable to meet your text options as previous, 
we gave up support for teletext.

If you want to get to the front of the RNIB  try including 
steve.tyler at rnib.org.uk in your mails

Don't blame me if you do get the response you are looking for.

Regards

Graham

Portset.
www.talkingtablet.com, www.portset.co.uk.

On 26/07/2017 14:13, Sean Randall wrote:
> John,
>
> Whilst I appreciate the financial commitment isn't your area I feel the policy of focusing exclusively on mainstream access is
> foolish.  To expect every mainstream product to become accessible is clearly too much.  To force us into a limited subset of devices
> because of good will is ridiculous, and to expect sighted engineers and developers to fully grasp the nuances of our needs without a
> path to follow is of course unwise as well. Hence Smart Talk, but that doesn't work if you don't follow it with a new product
> afterward.
>
> Smart Talk was a good product, but as usual, when it came to market it was already on the way out.  This is why the investment from
> the RNIB needs to be in software; any physical product you make in this market is obsolete before it leaves your designers.  I just
> fail to understand, after the success of smart talk and the TVOnics box and with lacklustre responses from satellite and cable
> providers, how something like Freeview Play came onto the market without you being there to either hold them to account for
> accessibility - or seeing that p***ing into the wind was having no result, putting a product out there that did what you wanted.
> Smart Talk is  nearly 8 years old, but that itself launched 8 years post-Freeview. I'm pretty damn sure that if there was a move to
> replace touch-tone phones with touchscreen devices in a similar way to the replacement of analogue TV to digital, the RNIB would be
> up in arms about it.  How is the TV ecosystem different?
>
> 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: Wednesday 26 July 2017 01:49 PM
> To: BCAB Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [BCAB] accessible telly
>
> 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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