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Digital Broadcasting: Sight Impaired

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to ensure that the Usability Action Plan on Digital Television provides for (a) digital teletext, (b) talking menus and (c) audio description to assist the visually impaired. (209719)

The information is as follows:

(a) Access to digital teletext is provided for the visually impaired through equipment for use with TV sets which is produced by Portset Systems Limited. There are no plans at present to consider developments to this feature through the Usability Action Plan.

(b) A range of organisations, including RNIB and TV manufacturers, are working on the technical development of talking menus for the mainstream TV market. BERR is supportive of this work and, through the Usability Action Plan, will help in promoting such products at the appropriate time.

(c) Audio description is available through an increasing range of digital TV products. As part of the Usability Action Plan process, BERR has recently worked with Digital UK and representatives of the supply chain to launch an extension to the “digital tick”, known as the Digital Logo Scoreboard. This is a label which manufacturers can choose to use on product packaging to help highlight to consumers specified features of the product, including audio description. To date, 43 products have been registered to use the scoreboard, 38 of which provide access to audio description.