|Date Published||News headline and description|
|30 May 2012||
SKY NZ to provide more captions
New Zealand subscription TV provider SKY has extended captioning to a further four channels – History, BBC Knowledge, MTV and TVNZ Heartland. This follows the introduction of captioning on an initial 13 channels in February.
|29 May 2012||
US Government sets assistive app challenge
A challenge announced last week by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) could see a suite of apps developed to help boost employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
|28 May 2012||
Apple registers patent for accessible TV features
A patent registered by Apple earlier this month will make Apple TV more accessible by incorporating an audible menu. This will allow blind or vision impaired users to access content and media by following audio prompts instead of using a remote control.
|25 May 2012||
Get nominations ready for the Advancement in Accessibility Awards
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA has called for nominations for the Chairman’s Advancement in Accessibility Awards 2012, in recognition of innovation in technologies that are accessible to people who have a disability.
|25 May 2012||
Foxtel and Xbox 360 gesture towards accessibility
Foxtel has teamed up with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect to provide voice and gesture based commands on the Foxtel subscription TV service. By using voice and gesture commands, people who are vision impaired can now access television shows and movies without using a remote control.
|24 May 2012||
How to get your free talking set-top box
Blind or vision impaired people who receive the Disability Support Pension will now be given a free talking set-top box as part of the switchover to digital TV. These devices assist viewers in navigating through menus, program guides and settings, and will be able to receive audio description once the trial on the ABC commences in August.
|24 May 2012||
Access rules for UK broadcasters to be extended to international channels
The UK communications regulator, Ofcom, is proposing a change of rules so that UK broadcasters whose services are intended for other European countries would have to provide the same levels of captioning, audio description and signing as domestic channels.
|23 May 2012||
Spotify’s accessibility: so close but so far
Apps that are accessible to people who have a disability are few and far between. So when an app qualifies as accessible, it’s a cause for celebration. The music streaming service Spotify launched in Australia yesterday, and while it has been commended by many in the accessibility world for its consideration of the needs of disabled users, its integration with Facebook still presents a significant barrier for potential users.
|23 May 2012||
May sees record high for audio described DVDs
The month of May sees a new record for audio described rental DVDs. 40% of the 68 new release titles researched recently were audio described, the first time this figure has hit the 40s. Of the same titles, 65% were captioned, which is on par with previous searches.
|21 May 2012||
Behind the scenes: audio description at the theatre
For something different, Media Access Australia’s Eliza Cussen takes readers behind the scenes at one of Sydney’s most beloved theatres to reveal how audio description has become a vital part of what they do.
|18 May 2012||
Cinemas across Australia add captions and audio description
Accessible cinema in Australia has received a boost to the number of sessions available to people with hearing or vision impairments with both the Hoyts and Village Cinema chains announcing new captioned and audio described screens.
|17 May 2012||
Google maps app takes accessibility indoors
Update: Google made its Indoor Maps feature available in Australia on 13 March 2013. Indoor maps can be viewed once a user zooms in on a building. The Sydney Morning Herald has published a list of 200 locations in Australia where Google’s indoor maps is available.
An upgrade to the Google Maps app for Android smartphones has the potential to increase mobility for blind and vision impaired users through the introduction of navigation for indoor environments. The app combines global positioning system (GPS) technology with voice-guided directions to help people find their way around indoor spaces.
|16 May 2012||
Outcry as Irish TV reduces captioning
TV Access, a coalition of organisations in the disability and ageing sector, has strongly condemned new Access Rules released by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) which will see reduced levels of captioning on television and no increase in the already low levels of sign language and audio description.
|15 May 2012||
Accessible Cinema Advisory Group’s latest communique
The Accessible Cinema Advisory Group (ACAG) is a body convened by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to oversee and advise on the implementation of captioning and audio description in Australian cinemas. The group has released a fourth report to the public from its meeting held in March.
|10 May 2012||
Free screen reader released for BlackBerry smartphones
The company behind the popular smartphone BlackBerry, Research in Motion, has released its first screen reader application for the BlackBerry operating system.
|10 May 2012||
Exhibition celebrates the art of audio description
An art gallery in Poland has shown an exhibition featuring only audio description of artworks. The exhibition is intended to reveal how visual art is made accessible for people who are blind or vision impaired and celebrate audio description as an art form in its own right.
|09 May 2012||
9 May marks the first Global Accessibility Awareness Day
What started as a simple blog post calling for developers to raise awareness about the importance of creating accessible websites for people with a disability, has turned into the first ever Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). A community of web professionals has formed to take part in raising awareness of the importance of making the web usable for everyone, regardless of ability.
|08 May 2012||
More captioning on pay TV
An agreement reached between the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) will see captioning levels on FOXTEL and AUSTAR increase over the next three years.
|03 May 2012||
Closed caption movies not an option on Google Play
Google’s new multimedia content platform, Google Play, has failed to include closed caption facilities on its movie rental service, which was launched in Australia last week. While they are available on the platform, users are unable to easily search for closed captioned movies through its current interface, presenting accessibility barriers for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired.
|02 May 2012||
Government releases draft changes to caption legislation
Yesterday the Federal Government released a draft bill to amend the Broadcasting Services Act to include caption quotas and caption quality requirements. These are changes that deafness organisations and advocates have long been calling for.