[BCAB] Accessible TV Guide

Agent Orange agentorange at talktalk.net
Thu Oct 17 09:36:01 BST 2019


Thanks for letting us know about this consultation.  My thoughts on this
proposal, as far as I understand it, and  for what they are worth:

-  The provision of an accessible Freeview and Freeview Play EPG using a
dedicated Freeview Channel has the advantage that the high contrast text and
rendering of text into speech is provided as part of the EPG service, from
the server as it were.  So high contrast text and speech should be available
to all users of Freeview irrespective of whether they are using a TV or set
top box that has accessibility built in.

-  This does not preclude manufacturers from also building access features
into their Freeview TV and set top boxes such as speech and text
enhancement.  It may of course act as a disincentive for them to do so if
the EPG is accessible to blind users on all Freeview receivers, but then
there are lots of other reasons why blind users need these access features
on equipment, for instance to use settings menus.

-  Freeview Play brings together all the main on demand and catch up
services such as BBC iPlayer, and those from ITV, Channel 4 and others.  I
wonder whether this proposal would provide a way of us accessing catch up
and on demand content from Freeview Play via the Freeview accessible TV
guide, if for example, having navigated to content in the EPG listing, it is
possible to play it directly from there.   This would presumably avoid the
need to use an app?  Whether this is possible may depend on whether there is
an accessible and useable interface as part of the accessible Freeview EPG
that enables users to search for and filter content.  It is hard to imagine
what that could look like or quite how it would work without being clunky.  

-  Although the consultation document states that users will be able to
customise the accessible Freeview TV guide to their own access needs, I
doubt it will allow as much user customisation as we have been used to with
dedicated equipment such as the TVonics set top box or the more recent range
of talking TVs from Samsung, LG etc.  For instance, I doubt it will be
possible to adjust the speech rate given that the speech is to be delivered
from the EPG server and not generated on the user's own equipment.  This
could be very frustrating.

It is worth noting that the consultation question is not on the merits of
the proposal itself, but only on which channel (LCN) it should be made
available on, either 555, 258 or another.  In other words they are
consulting not on the EPG itself but on the allocation of channel resources.

I wonder what others think, particularly those who watch TV and catchup more
than I do.

-----Original Message-----
From: RNIB [mailto:media.and.culture.rnib at gmail.com] 
Sent: 10 October 2019 16:08
To: BCAB Discussion List
Subject: [BCAB] Accessible TV Guide

Hi there,

Digital UK has today published a consultation on an Accessible TV Guide
that will work across all Freeview Play TVs by acting as a channel.

The consultation document is available at https://tinyurl.com/DigiUKConDoc
It's a pdf and although I haven't tried the accessibility I'm about to be
out of contact for a bit and want to make sure people get the chance to


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