TVs that can talk to their owners will be available in the UK this August, according to Ocean Blue Software.
The company’s text-to-speech technology, dubbed “[email protected]”, is being built into set top boxes from Korean manufacturer, Arion Technology, which will be branded and distributed by retailers in the UK.
The new set top boxes are similar to existing Freeview or satellite boxes, but will be able to talk to their blind or partially-sighted owners and advise the TV programming schedule.
Owners will be able to adjust the speed and verbosity of the voice, choose to enlarge or reduce font sizes and change background and text colours. A re-designed remote control will also be available.
The technology has been developed in partnership with STMicroelectronics. Phase two of the development will introduce voice activation technology to allow owners to talk back to their TV sets.
“The digital switchover has multiplied the number of channels to 40 plus, for UK consumers, making navigation very difficult for the visually impaired,” said Ken Helps, CEO of Ocean Blue Software. “This technology is a step forward to making digital TV accessible to all sectors of the community”.
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