TVonics have teamed up with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and software developers IVONA to develop an updated version of their DTR-HD500 aimed at blind and partially sighted people.
Using text-to-speech technology, the updated box is easier to navigate for those with poor eyesight, with audio descriptions of both the TV shows being broadcast and descriptions of the box’s navigational features.
“We were delighted to work with TVonics and IVONA to create a mainstream set top box, which is fully accessible,” said Fazilet Hadi, Group Director of Inclusive Society at RNIB.
“This is the first box which will allow blind people to independently record programmes and pause live TV. This box will enable people with sight loss to get a great digital TV experience without paying a premium.”
“IVONA is proud to partner with TVonics and RNIB to give blind and partially sighted people access to the exciting and informative world of Digital TV “, added Lukasz Osowski, CEO of IVONA Software.
“Using the world’s most natural-sounding Text-to-Speech voices for this ground-breaking Audio Description (AD) tool means that a huge new audience will now be able to enjoy the TV experience with the click of a button.”
The DTR-HD500 with the new text-to-speech software pre-installed can be bought directly through RNIB’s website, www.rnib.org.uk, for £179.95. The box updated box will also be available through John Lewis stores and TVonics own website, but the RNIB’s instructional manual will have to be purchased through the RNIB.
From May 3rd all new products manufactured by TVonics will have the text-to-speech software installed. If you already have a TVonics DTR-HD500 or DTR-Z500HD, you can grab the software for free from the RNIB and TVonics websites.