Accessible on channel 555 on Freeview Play devices, the guide is designed to be easily accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments, with the Digital UK-owned company saying that this is the first time that such a solution has been made available on a UK TV platform.
Accessible on TV sets from Panasonic, LG, and Toshiba, the guide promises to make it easier for audiences to find and enjoy their favourite TV shows, and meets all four requirements outlined in Ofcom’s amended code for Electronic Programme Guides. It comes with a high-contrast User Interface, screen-magnification, a text-to-speech function and the ability to customise the guide to suit the viewer’s needs with audio description, subtitles or sign language.
The new guide was developed with insight from a number of groups including the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Scope and the Digital Accessibility Centre, and was awarded a Gold at the 2020 Connected TV Awards.
Vikki Cook, broadcast Policy and D&I director, content policy at Ofcom, said: “Ofcom welcomes the launch of Freeview’s accessible TV guide. People with visual and hearing impairments watch just as much TV as everybody else but they can face particular difficulties in using on-screen programme guides. Today’s announcement is a demonstration of how platforms such as Freeview can work collaboratively with manufacturers, charities and consumer groups to deliver Ofcom’s requirements in its updated code for programme guides.”
Simon Hunt, director of strategy and business development for Freeview Play, said: “Great content has the power to bring us all together. However, underpinning this is the ease in which we can all find what to watch and discover new shows. The new Accessible TV Guide will help millions of viewers with visual impairments, hearing loss and other accessibility needs to get so much more out of their TVs, and we are so pleased to be starting the roll out across Freeview Play.”
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