Hills Antenna &TV Systems - Hills release the first of its kind Talking Set Top Box

By: Hills Antenna  05-Apr-2012


 >  Hills release the first of its kind Talking Set Top Box

26 March 2012

Hills Antenna & TV Systems release the first of its kind ‘Talking’ Set Top Box

Hills have been supplying Set top Boxes as part of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s Digital Switchover Household Assistance Scheme since the first scheme was introduced in Mildura in 2010.

The Talking Set Top Box, Hills HD94003G, was developed with the assistance of the Australian Government and Vision Australia. It is designed to enable vision impaired people to navigate through the various digital channels, using a text to speech menu and EPG. 

The Hills HD94003G is a high definition set top box using Ocean Blue’s award winning Text to Speech software. This assistive technology was first developed between Ocean Blue Software and the Royal National Institute of Blind (RNIB) in the UK.  The software provides human speech to voice the program guides and menu items to the user. It is designed to give greater visual clarity in operation, to be more intuitive and easy to use, creating a better user experience than normally associated with Digital Receivers. 

The set top box includes an advanced remote control designed for ease of use, with large high contrast buttons. The remote control has a training button which allows an audible description of all of the remote control buttons. It also provides a definitive visual and audio feedback when the buttons are pressed. This audio beep can also be turned off if preferred. 

The set top box includes Audio Description, that when broadcast, provides  an audio narration of the visual scene. The Set top box also has the ability for Audio Description to be heard (when broadcast) from the headphone jack and/or the set top box output.  

A unique feature included with the set top box (that may be required in the future) is the ability to decode MHEG5 free to air unencrypted signals.  

The Set top Box was trialled by a number of people as part of the Australian Government Household Assistance Scheme to assess the opportunities in providing improved accessibility to Digital TV for people who are vision impaired. 

“The Hills HD94003G ‘talking’ Set Top Box includes a number of enhancements made to the Beta model that came about from input from the Government’s Digital Switchover Taskforce, Vision Australia and their various work groups,” said Steve Mannion, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Hills Antenna & TV Systems.  

“It is truly a satisfying experience to launch this product knowing that it will offer so much enjoyment to a number of vision impaired people” Steve said. 

The Set Top Box is available from any of the eight Hills Antenna & TV Systems branches or from the Vision Australia website.

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