As a kid, I was born blind but that didn’t stop me from watching my favorite shows after school. I’d memorize channel numbers, recognize the announcer’s voice for a Red Sox broadcast, or listen for the iconic opening notes of the M.A.S.H. theme song.
Today, the TV viewer has more options than ever: hundreds of channels, dozens of settings and an overflowing menu of content to choose from. While this new paradigm is a boon to most viewers, the surge in choices also presents a real challenge for TV fans like me who want to search, discover and tune in to their favorite shows and movies.
Today, we launched the industry’s first voice-enabled television interface, a "talking guide" solution that will revolutionize the way our customers navigate the X1 platform. Starting in a few weeks, customers will be able to hear channel names and numbers, time slots and program details read aloud. Things that many people take for granted like programming your DVR or choosing what movie to rent will be easier than ever for people with a vision or reading disability.
I had the privilege of demoing this feature at the National Federation of the Blind’s annual convention and you can hear the reaction in the player below:
The power of TV is universal. It has become one of the most culturally important forms of communication in today’s society: it’s a source of news and information, it’s what we discuss on Twitter, it’s what we talk about at work the next day, it’s what many people schedule their life around.
It’s a medium that should be accessible for all and we hope this new feature will help to make TV watching easier and more fun for everyone -- whether you can recognize the M.A.S.H. theme song or not.
Enjoy the talking guide, here is how to get started.