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Voice Guided Television: Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania

  • Synopsis: Published: 2015-03-12 - The talking guide on the X1 platform reads aloud selections like program titles, network names and time slots as well as DVR and On Demand settings. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Comcast Cable at www.comcastcorporation.com.

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Quote: "We want to create opportunities for people who love film and television, but who might not have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest."

Comcast yesterday demonstrated the company's new voice guidance technology at Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania. The "talking guide" is a feature on the X1 platform that reads aloud selections like program titles, network names and time slots as well as DVR and On Demand settings, giving users the freedom to independently explore and navigate thousands of shows and movies.

Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania has been providing services to the blind and visually impaired for 94 years, and those at the facility Wednesday were given an overview of the technology and a chance to use it for the first time.

"It is so gratifying to see how advances in technology are having a significant impact for the blind and visually impaired," said Danette Blank, Executive Director, Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania. "The Comcast X1 Talking Guide is just one of the latest innovations that will assist those with vision challenges to enjoy greater independence and an enhanced quality of life. Vision Resources is excited and proud to partner with Comcast and help introduce the Talking Guide to the Capital Region."

Comcast launched a national campaign during the 2015 Academy Awards called "Emily's Oz" that is intended to spark an even bigger conversation about how people with disabilities enjoy entertainment.

"We want to create opportunities for people who love film and television, but who might not have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest," said Tom Wlodkowski, who was hired as Vice President of Audience at Comcast in 2012 to focus on the usability of the company's products and services by people with disabilities. "By bringing the talking guide to as many people as possible, we can help to bridge that gap and make entertainment just as compelling, captivating and fun for people with a visual disability as it is for anyone else."

Comcast is working with the following organizations and evaluating additional groups within the company's service area:

  • Associated Services for the Blind - Philadelphia, PA
  • Carroll Center for the Blind - Newton, MA
  • Colorado Center for the Blind - Littleton, CO
  • Inglis- Philadelphia, PA
  • Miami Lighthouse - Miami, FL
  • Overbrook School for the Blind - Philadelphia, PA
  • Perkins School for the Blind - Watertown, MA

"Emily's Oz" features a seven-year-old girl who was born blind and highlights her description of what she sees when she watches her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz . Some of Hollywood's top directors, set designers and make-up artists then went to work to bring her vision to life. The voice over for the commercial is provided by two-time Academy Award winner Robert Redford.

Here's what some organizations are saying about Comcast's new talking guide:

"One of the most important things we can do at Miami Lighthouse is to give blind and visually impaired people the tools to be independent, and help them navigate their world," said Virginia Jacko, President & CEO of The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. "The X1 talking guide from Comcast represents a huge leap forward in helping the blind and visually impaired learn how they can experience and enjoy their television entertainment in ways they could not even imagine before, and it reinforces what we teach here at Miami Lighthouse, that it's possible to see without sight."

"With X1, Comcast has taken the initiative to break barriers and change the way we look at television," said Patricia C. Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. "The new talking guide will open doors to entire communities of individuals who are blind or sight impaired, providing them the opportunity to have immediate access to information as well as entertainment."

"As a leader in supporting people with disabilities, Inglis is pleased to be able to work with Comcast, a leader in technology, as a testing site for its X1 and Talking Guide platforms," said Gavin Kerr, Inglis President & CEO. "We look forward to the development of new ways for people with complex physical disabilities to access digital information and entertainment."

"We're very excited about the inclusion of accessibility in the X1 entertainment operating system for Comcast's blind and visually impaired customers," said Dan Burke, Public Relations Specialist at Colorado Center for the Blind. "The talking guide means that we can now have the same information and control with menus, settings and programming as anyone else. It makes watching our favorite shows and movies all about the entertainment, rather than about trying to find them."

The talking guide is the latest in a series of innovations created in the Comcast Accessibility Lab. In addition to voice guidance and one-touch access to closed captioning, Comcast created an online help and support resource for Xfinity customers looking for information about accessibility-related topics.

Learn More About Comcast Cable

Comcast Cable is the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings. Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

Facts: Comcast Accessibility

The talking guide is the latest in a series of innovations created in the Comcast Accessibility Lab. In addition to voice guidance and one-touch access to closed captioning, Comcast created an online help and support resource for Xfinity customers looking for information about accessibility-related topics. The webpage includes an overview of accessibility products and services, support for third-party assistive devices, information related to Braille or large-print bills and the ability to connect with accessibility support specialists.

Related Information:

  1. X1 Talks: Voice Guided TV Remote Control for Blind and Visually Impaired - Comcast Corporation - (2014-11-12)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/visual/x1-talks.php
  2. Disability Visual Aids: New Products & Reviews
    /assistivedevices/visual/
  3. Eye Tracking Mouse for People with Disabilities from Samsung - Samsung Electronics - (2014-11-26)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/computer/eyecan.php




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