Accessibility services are central to making public service media content available to the hard-of-hearing and blind. To find out which services and technologies would benefit most from coordinated work on improvements, the EBU Timed Text group hosted the Accessibility Workshop in November 2020. Using a mix of proposal pitches and open discussions, the aim of the session was to help define the focus for the EBU's continuing technical work on accessibility. The workshop was attended by both Members and industry representatives.
The group is very interested to hear how the wider media industry sees the relevance of these topics. Please contact Hemini Mehta (email@example.com) by 18 December 2020. You are also invited to join the TT group if you would like to contribute to the work and make Media accessible for all.
EBU Members pitched a number of proposals for potential work areas.
- Continue the group work (RTVSlo): Accessibility services have seen an increase in consumption and are considered “life savers”. In addition, EU regulations ask for more access services. The group needs to continue to provide technical advice, become an implementation partner and an EU project research group.
- Spoken Subtitles workflow (RTVSlo): To help smaller broadcasters or those new to accessibility with implementing the services. A focus on operations and practical help.
- Client-side Audio Description (AD) & Spoken Subtitling (NPO): The group should focus on TV and VoD. NPO is expecting future devices to have speech-to-text capabilities. AD would be the next piece of work. It should continue to use EBU-TT-D as the foundation and look for light-weight AD and Spoken Subtitling workflows. The goals are to have reference software and standardization of APIs.
- Define best practices and guidelines (IRT): Essentially, a continuation of the group work, and providing a platform for the sharing and exchange of know-how and experiences between public service media.
- Audio Description Exchange Format (BBC): There is currently no open standard exchange format for Audio Description scripts and mixing instructions. There’s an initiative in W3C to make one. The main goals for this would be to carry out a requirements review and test and/or build implementations.
- EBU-TT Deployment Options (BBC): Share guidelines and technical options for how to deploy EBU-TT and EBU-TT-D/IMSC into operational service, based on problems that members encountered, and the solutions they found. Also help replace legacy equipment with IP-based technology.
- AD Quality Research (RTÉ): What 'dip values' would be best to use for AD quality? We need to benchmark current practices, study the quality impact, and develop a standardized approach.