Innovation for Inclusion

Like so many 7-year-old girls, Emily wants to become a veterinarian, librarian, musician, doctor, or an artist. Emily is from Iowa. And she happens to also be legally blind.

But that doesn’t keep her from imagining what movies look like, especially her favorite movie, "The Wizard of Oz".

"I think about the shape, I think about color, and I also think about sound. I take into my brain, and I think about what [the movie] would look like to me."

In Emily’s "Wizard of Oz" movie, it rains and snows emeralds. The scarecrow has a wooden head and teeth, the lion is only the size of a toy poodle and has webbed duck feet, and the tin man has a big toe the size of a house.

XFINITY® technology creates opportunities for people like Emily who love film and television but who may not be able to experience it to its fullest. The X1 Platform reads aloud selections like program titles, network names, and time slots, all with the press of a button. It helps bridge gaps to make entertainment compelling, captivating, and fun for people with visual disabilities.

For Emily and so many more, it has helped bring imagination to life.

Through innovation, we are committed to enriching the customer experience for all users. Accordingly, people with disabilities are included at every stage of our product design and development. We actively partner with disability community thought leaders, while conducting customer research and usability reviews and forging industry partnerships. Here’s a look at our slate of accessible products, including a few that are on the horizon.


The nation’s first talking TV interface, Voice Guidance on the X1 Entertainment Operating System®, announces on-screen text and options available as part of the X1 experience. For customers who rely on audio feedback to interact with products and services — including customers who are blind, have low vision, or who have difficulty reading — our voice innovations bring a new level of accessibility to the XFINITY® entertainment experience.


With our new XR-11 Voice Control Remote, customers on the X1 Platform can press a button on the remote and speak commands such as "record," "turn on closed captions," or even "show me movies about baseball." This leading-edge innovation allows customers who are blind or low vision, have limited mobility or dexterity, or have learning disabilities to enjoy their XFINITY TV experience with a new level of independence.


With video description — available on select live, DVR-recorded, and On Demand programs — a narrator describes the scenery, the characters’ appearance, actions and facial expressions, and more. Narration is heard in the natural pauses between the show’s dialogue, explaining key visual elements of the program.


Enhanced closed captioning controls for readability are available across our platforms. These include font size, style, color and opacity, background color, and more. In 2014, Comcast NBCUniversal took special care to ensure all Sochi 2014 Olympic Games pregame content included closed captions and that online content included an announcer feed.


Comcast Mobile Apps now harness the power of Voiceover and Talkback, the screen reader technology built into iOS and Android devices respectively. Significant accessibility improvements to XFINITY Connect, My Account, TV Go, TV, and other XFINITY mobile apps have unlocked the power and convenience of XFINITY for customers who are blind or low vision.


X1 settings now include an Accessibility Settings dashboard where customers can quickly turn on closed captions, video description, and Voice Guidance, to adjust closed caption settings and other accessibility features.


Comcast offers a large-button remote to customers upon request. The remote is a third-party device that works with XFINITY set-top boxes — including X1 — offered free of charge. This device delivers improved readability of the remote, featuring large backlit easy-to-read keys.


Our Theme Parks business is unique in that we host millions of guests from around the world and employ thousands of Team Members from diverse backgrounds, some with varying abilities.

From February – April of 2014, Universal Parks MyAbility Employee Resource Group in Orlando hosted an eight-week Basics of American Sign Language (ASL) series, instructed by Deaf Talk, LLC, and supported by our workforce Diversity & Inclusion teams. Employees learned the basic skills necessary to effectively communicate with Universal Parks colleagues and Park guests who are deaf or hard of hearing to make for a more inclusive workplace environment.

Also in 2014, after careful researching into employee and guest communication needs, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Universal Orlando Parks & Resorts launched a new multicultural language program. The 90-minute pilot courses offer instructor-led customized training in Spanish and Portuguese.

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