RNIB enhances Freeview+ for the blind

The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has unveiled new technology that will help blind people to record programs and pause live television using their Freeview+ set top box.

Freeview+ set top boxes have been given new functionality from the RNIB that will help blind and partially sighted people to record programs and pause live television using their Freeview+ digital television equipment.

The RNIB has launched new technology for the TVOnics Freeview+ DTR-HD500 set top box

The new text to speech functionality is built into the TVonics DTR-HD500 set top box

The new technology incorporates a brand new text to speech service which has been developed by the RNIB in conjunction with another company called IVONA.  The new feature will be available on the TVonics DTR-HD500 Freeview+ set top box.

The new feature gives blind and partially sighted users the ability to navigate around the Freeview electronic program guide (EPG), and can also be used for channel selection, recording, pausing and rewinding of live television.

Users can also benefit from existing accessibility features such as audio description, and the text to speech service can also learn about the users ability to interact with it as it can reduce the amount of guidance that it offers.

The new software will be available to users as a free download, but it is also preinstalled in the TVonics DTR-HD500 Freeview+ set top box, the box can be purchased from the RNIB website and costs £179.95.

Andy Carr of the set top box manufacturer TVonics said “The ease of use of our products has provided a great platform for IVONA and RNIB to build the text-to-speech technology and it’s a project that we are proud to be part of.”

While Fazilet Hadi of the RNIB said “We were delighted to work with TVonics and IVONA to create a mainstream set top box, which is fully accessible,”

Before adding “This is the first box which will allow blind people to independently record programmes and pause live TV. This box will enable people with sight loss to get a great digital TV experience without paying a premium.”

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