Access services, such as subtitling and signing, have received special focus recently. Last week, the ITU hosted an Accessibility Workshop, organised together with the EBU and the DTV4All project. Further the EBU has published the third in a series of three articles on access services, written by Peter Looms (DR). In this last article Mr Looms takes a look at what access services on digital television may be able to bring us in the future, including more social cohesion in societies in which immigration is a reality.

Resyncing live subtitles


Mr Looms is an active participant in the DTV4All project, which is supported by the European Union's e-inclusion iniative. The project has worked on pilots and proof-of-concepts for emerging services, such as clean audio. It has also addressed implementation issues in current services. One example of the latter is the (relatively consistent) delay inherent with live subtitling. In his article Mr Looms suggest a standardised solution in receivers to delay the video with an equal amount of time may significantly improve the appreciation of programmes by users of live subtitling. But his advice does not limit itself to technical solutions.



Signing service as provided by the Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

Based on research by, amongst others, Danish public broadcaster DR, Mr Looms argues that the the target audience is not optimally informed about the access services currently being provided. It may therefore be worthwhile to raise the awareness of professionals in the healthcare sector about what services people can already benefit from. He also makes a case for better demand-side metrics; How much are the services actually used?





In the ITU-EBU-DTV4All workshop, several of the services mentioned were on display. One of the most recent developments has to do with HbbTV, the hybrid platform combining broadcast and broadband. A hybrid receiver can receive the signer's image via broadband and combine it with a television programme received via DVB. This allows for an 'opt-in' service without running into the issue of where in the broadcast spectrum to find the capacity to distribute the signer. For more information on this topic, please contact: David Wood (EBU).

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