Panasonic talks up TV for the blind
Spoken menus for the optically challenged
Panasonic has announced that its 2012 Viera TVs will speak out to blind and optically challenged folk and tell them what the sets are showing.
The Japanese giant claimed it is the first telly maker to do so.
The system is a take on the audio navigation feature seen on a number of DVD and Blu-ray releases, which hides away the regular menu in favour of a much-simplified screen and spoken guidance.
Panasonic calls its version Voice Guidance. It reads out on-screen info and "provides clear instructions on how to navigate around the TV menu". The speech-synth'd voice can be made to speak louder or more quietly. Its speed can be adjusted too.
A boon for the visually impaired. But that didn't stop one particularly cynical Vulture here saying Panasonic's announcement reminded him of this Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch:
Panasonic's 2012 Viera TV line-up is available now. ®
It is also worth noting it is not just those who are "optically challenged" that benefit from this type of technology. There are a significant number of people with cognitive impairments that prevent them from reading what is on a screen. I applaud Panasonic on adding this assistive technology to their expensive products.
Radio for the Deaf?
Re: TV for the blind?
I had a Radio with TV audio (worthless now as it was for analogy TV) that was a lot simpler that a TV that you are not going to watch.
Re: Whatever next?
They also came up with this for deaf telephone users:
I don't know if you've noticed, but television programs aren't just pictures. Plenty of blind people "watch" television - they can still hear it.
God knows why they'd want to but they can.