TV access

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Canadian committee releases live audio description guidelines

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A committee led by Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters has released a set of logistical, technical and artistic guidelines for the audio description of live events.

Audio description for television is still mostly confined to pre-recorded programs, with scripts carefully prepared so that the descriptions do not overlap dialogue or other important audio information on the soundtrack. The audio description of live events, which must be performed spontaneously as a program goes to air, presents much greater challenges.

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Canada makes captioning of commercials and promos mandatory

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made it a licence condition for all television commercials, sponsorship messages and promos to be closed captioned from 1 September.

Canada is the first country to make the captioning of commercials and promos compulsory, and is thus the first country to achieve what is in effect 100% captioning on TV broadcasts. While the voluntary captioning of commercials is common in Australia and many other countries, captioning of promos is very rare.

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Transcript: The first talking set-top box available in Australia

Roberta: With us today is Chris Mikul, Project Manager of Media Access Australia and Chris is going to tell us about an exciting new product called, The Bush Talking Set-top Box.  Welcome Chris.

Chris: Hello Roberta.

Roberta: That sounds like something maybe from way, way, way back doesn’t it? The Bush Talking Set top box – so tell me, what is it?

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Accessible Talking Set Top Box goes on sale in Australia


In a development that will revolutionise television viewing for the blind and vision impaired, the Bush Talking Set Top Box has just gone on sale in Australia. It features talking installation screens, menus, help screens, electronic program guide and a ‘key learning mode’ which tells the user what each key on the remote control does.

The HD digital box is only the second talking box to go on sale in the world (the first was the Goodman’s ‘Smart Talk’ box, which was released in the United Kingdom in 2010). Designed with assistance from Vision Australia and Media Access Australia, the box will also receive audio description. (A trial of audio description on the ABC has been proposed by the Federal Government for later this year).

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Achievements in captioning recognised


The media industry celebrated a year of achievement last night at the Deafness Forum of Australia Captioning Awards. Leaders from TV networks, caption providers, DVD distributors and community organisations gathered to share in the progress made by the industry towards inclusive media.

The winners were for each category were:

Roma Wood Community Award: Wayne Hawkins, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)

DVD captioning: Warner Home Video

Most consistent use of captions: Javier Arriaga, The Sub Station

Best promotion of captioning: Ai-Media for Ai-Live

TV Captioning:  TV Award is Fox Sports for Hyundai A-League

Best new captioning initiative:  ABC iView for the iView iPad App and the Australian Communications Exchange for Smart Auslan and captions for the Melbourne Sports Museum

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