People often ask Wlodkowski, “Do blind people watch much TV?” He answers, “Yes! They do watch TV and they want to watch more of it.” If TV is such a visually rich medium, why would blind people be so drawn to something they seemingly can’t enjoy fully? One answer is inclusion. TV content is big part of today’s pop culture, people talk about last night’s episode of Blindspot or The Blacklist the next day at work. TV content is also a significant source of our daily information as well as entertainment.
Most of us are only aware of Closed Captioning for the hearing impaired, but Accessibility now goes much further in the X1 Accessibility features.
- Voice Guidance navigates the viewer through the channel guide, menus, and info screen. Watch the video in the inset to see how easy Voice Guidance is to set up and use.
- Video Description adds audio comments between dialog of movies and shows to describe the action or surroundings in a scene that might only be discernible for a sighted viewer. This is not much content equipped with Video Description today but that is growing. In the future you will also be able to filter content that features Video Description.
- The newest X1 remote control has voice command capability such as “Watch CNN” or “Find Big Bang Theory”. Combined with Video Navigation, the viewer is then instructed to click the left or right button to get to the various viewing options such as “Watch”, “Record”, “Info”, etc., then click OK.
This is certainly just the beginning. Voice control and guidance will continue to expand. According to Wlodkowski, the future will bring partnering with other services, as well as adding voice control to home control and home automation. He wouldn't tip his hand to all of Comcast’s plans, but I believe the technology is solid and possibilities are limited only by our imagination.