The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has developed software that integrates text-to-speech technology with Freeview plus set top boxes.
RNIB partnered with set top box manufacturer TVonics and text-to-speech developer Ivona to develop the software that can read out loud text in the electronic programme guide (EPG), library, timers, menu system and information banners to users.
It works with TVonics’ DTR-HD500 model and people who already own one can download the software from RNIB or TVonics for free. From 3 May all new boxes manufactured will include the software. The set top box costs £179.95 from the RNIB online shop and users who buy it directly from the charity will also receive a manual.
Last October TVonics approached RNIB about running a six-month partnership project to make its high definition set top boxes more accessible.
Tara Alexander, RNIB senior manager said: “RNIB tailored the Ivona text-to-speech technology to the TVonics DTR-HD500’s existing interface and EPG. The new text-to-speech software enables blind and partially sighted users to easily navigate the DTR-HD500’s EPG and guides them through features including channel selection, recording and accessing recorded programmes and pausing live television.”