Comcast launches TV tools for visually impaired – NewsTimes


DANBURY — A whole new world will open to those who are visually impaired in the coming weeks as Comcast executives launch an industry first — a voice-enabled user interface system.

, chairman and CEO of Comcast, said in a statement. “The talking guide feature will enable all of our customers to experience the X1 platform in a new way, and give our blind and visually impaired customers the freedom to independently explore and navigate thousands of shows and movies.”

Developers have been working for more than a year on the new system, which tested particularly well with those in the disabled community, according to

“A woman in one of our testing groups, who is a member of the millennial generation, said that for the first time she could record and watch movies using her DVR and she watched an on-demand movie for the first time,” Wlodkowski said.

Because of a rich visual interface with the on-demand and DVR services, Wlodkowski said it was difficult, if not impossible, in the past for those with visual impairments to access the services. Even channel lineups, he said, weren’t accessible “without jumping through a whole bunch of hoops.”

“Television is so much a part of our culture today, and this new service allows people with visual impairments to have the full experience,” Wlodkowski, who is visually impaired himself, said. “Now they can talk about the latest on-demand movies at the office water cooler.”

with Disabilities, said it’s great to see that technological advances are helping those with disabilities and that companies are working toward complying with new accessibility rules that were updated in 2010 through the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.

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