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US adopts rules to make electronic devices more accessible

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a set of rules which will make a wide range of electronic devices more accessible for the Deaf or hearing impaired and blind or vision impaired.

The rules cover any device which is used to receive or play digital video, including televisions, set-top boxes, computers and smartphones. From now on, these will need to have on-screen text menus and program guides which are audibly accessible (i.e. the user can opt to hear them spoken), and a single button, key or icon to activate accessibility features such as closed captions.


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Network Ten stays with Red Bee Media for captioning services

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Major access supplier Red Bee Media has announced a multi-year arrangement to provide captioning services to Australian broadcaster Network Ten. This covers the network’s three free-to-air channels, Ten, Eleven and One, and is for both live and prerecorded captioning services. 

Red Bee Media is a significant international supplier of access and related services, and the Australian service utilises new innovations in captioning delivery, including the Subito system. Subito is a system for captioning news and other live or near-live programs. It uses speech recognition technology to align pre-prepared captions with the audio of a program.


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Foxtel launches captions on its movies on demand

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People who are Deaf or hearing impaired will have greater access to Foxtel’s content after the subscription service launched closed captioning for selected on demand movie services from 1 October this year. This move will see Foxtel provide closed captioning for the vast majority of new release movies aired across its 14 On Demand movie channels, plus instant access On Demand movies to iQ subscribers.

Head of Channel Partnerships Benjamin Cox told Media Access Australia that the introduction of closed captioned content was a response to the increasing popularity of its rental movies and TV shows.

“We’ve received a lot of customer feedback over the years and closed captioning for on demand content is something that has always been requested, particularly since video on demand has grown in usage over the recent years,” Cox said.

 “We’re heavily investing in captions for our linear channels and it makes sense to provide it across on demand services as well.”


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ABC report on audio description finally released

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After being delivered to the then Department of Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy at the end of 2012, the report from the ABC on the audio description trial has finally been released to the public.

The report gives the ABC’s feedback on the technical aspects of delivering audio description (AD) in Australia’s broadcast environment. A number of key findings emerged from the report which will impact on delivery of a service in the future.


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