Analogue television is being switched off in the EU in 2012. This will have mixed effects on access for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and educators using TV in their teaching. Here’s what to expect.
Digital Television for All (DTV4All) is a European Commission (EC) funded project. Access services here, are subtitles and sign-language interpreting, for viewers who are hard of hearing or deaf. DTV4All was launched by the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) ICT Policy Support Programme (PSP) for access to EU-wide digital television services.
The analogue switch-off means more European countries will receive mature access services and newer forms of access services will be introduced.
High definition television (HDTV) will improve digital TV programming for all viewers, but may be less accessible to people with hearing issues than analogue television. Digital transmitters cannot broadcast as much data in high definition, so access services may take a hit if data output is reduced.
DTV4All supports inclusivity and want all digital television (DTV) set-top boxes to support core access services. They believe improvements for disadvantaged users benefit all users if accessibility is built in at the outset.
DVTV4All have 4 main objectives. These are to:
1. Offer access services in at least 4 EU territories for 12 months or more.
2. Identify improvements for existing access services.
3. Identify/prioritise emerging access services and support them until 2012.
4. Draft recommendations for access services to be maintained & improved.
In conclusion, DTV4All has been funded for two reasons:
1. Widespread adoption of mature access services for 1st generation DTV.
2. Identify, assess & promote new access services for 2nd generation DTV.
What does all this mean? DTV4All will identify enablers for a core set of access services to be offered in all EU member countries in the near future. As digital TV and web services converge, new access requirements emerge. In the US, a cross-sector entity is to develop guidelines for accessibility.
(compiled by Nicola Fox)