Comcast Debuts Xfinity Large Button Voice Remote, an Innovative New Product Created for People with Disabilities
Comcast today launched the industry’s first Large Button Voice Remote, a groundbreaking innovation designed for users with mobility, dexterity, or vision impairments.
This powerful device, which is available to X1 and Flex customers at no additional cost, combines Comcast’s award-winning voice control technology with industry-first advancements in accessible hardware design, inclusive packaging, and customer experience. The result is a hardware breakthrough that allows all viewers to easily navigate and enjoy all the entertainment, news, and information Xfinity has to offer.
“For more than 60 years, Comcast has pioneered advancements in entertainment and connectivity and delivered industry-shaping experiences to customers,” says Fraser Stirling, Global Chief Product Officer at Comcast. “Our long-standing commitment to accessibility has unlocked profound innovation across our portfolio time and time again - shaping everything we do from the way we design our products, to the content we create, to the experiences we deliver. Inclusive design, for us, is just better design.”
For more than 60 years, Comcast has pioneered advancements in entertainment and connectivity and delivered industry-shaping experiences to customers.
Innovation is powered by a deep understanding of consumer preferences and needs. That’s why Comcast’s design team worked side-by-side with the disability community to test and refine the creation of its new Large Button Voice Remote. Accessibility features and functionality were the top priorities throughout the remote’s development. The result of a rigorous research and design process is a one-of-a-kind remote unlike anything available on the market today—one that combines high functionality with elegant design to offer something for everyone to love.
New Horizons, Inc., an organization that provides housing and support services for people with physical disabilities participated in the research and testing. Carol Fitzgerald, CEO of New Horizons says, “Technology can help level the playing field for people with disabilities. When companies like Comcast design products and experiences with accessibility at the forefront, they not only create better products for everyone, but they also help to unlock more independence for millions of people with disabilities. We’re very proud to have been part of the creation of the Large Button Voice Remote which is truly a game-changing innovation.”
When companies like Comcast design products and experiences with accessibility at the forefront, they not only create better products for everyone, but they also help to unlock more independence for millions of people with disabilities.
The collaboration behind Comcast’s new Large Button Voice Remote helped create a world-class experience, from end to end, for people with vision, mobility, and dexterity impairments.
At the heart of the remote is Comcast’s award-winning voice control technology. Users can find what they want—and find it faster—using voice commands to change channels, search for shows, get recommendations, and more. The remote also includes a prominent accessibility shortcut button that offers quick, easy connection to personalized X1 and Flex accessibility settings. With this button, users can enable popular accessibility features like Comcast’s Talking Guide, closed captions, large text capabilities, audio description, and more, to suit their needs.
Locating and navigating the Large Button Voice Remote is easier than ever, thanks to its large backlit buttons and high contrast colors. Plus, the increased font size on all the remote’s buttons improves readability.
In addition to its enhanced functionality, the Large Button Voice Remote’s physical design provides remarkable ease of use. A removable wrist strap allows for more precise handling and control. An innovative battery compartment features a rubber pull tab design and “press to slide” battery cover making it easier to change batteries. An elevated, flat-back design allows for increased stability when the remote is used on a flat surface like a wheelchair tray or with other assistive devices.
The inclusive packaging for the Large Button Voice Remote uses large typography and tactile features, including braille and an embossed arrow near the package’s opening, to orient users who are visually impaired. The remote comes with an audio guide that automatically begins playing step-by-step instructions upon opening—an industry-first that allows users to pair the remote to their television in less than a minute. The remote also uses haptic vibrations to create a multi-sensory experience that alerts users when pairing is complete.
The new Large Button Voice Remote leverages voice search technology within Comcast’s global technology platform, enabling customers to easily navigate the interface and discover programming across hundreds of networks and streaming services with just the sound of their voice. Processing more than 40 million commands a day in 5 different languages, Comcast’s global technology platform powers one of the largest and best voice engines for content discovery available anywhere. Combined with the work Comcast announced earlier this year to integrate accessibility features into its next-generation platform architecture, the remote further embeds inclusive design into the ethos of the company, empowering its global teams and the broader development community to create better, more innovative experiences for everyone.
X1 and Flex customers can request a remote, at no additional charge, through Comcast’s Accessibility Support Center, which was one of the nation’s first call centers specifically created to support customers with disabilities. Comcast’s Accessibility Support Center is now home to more than 140 agents specially trained on Comcast products and services, support for third-party assistive devices, and information related to Braille or large print bills. Comcast also offers support in American Sign Language—the fourth most-used language in the United States—through a partnership with Connect Direct, a subsidiary of Communication Service for the Deaf.
The Xfinity Large Button Voice Remote is another example of Comcast’s longstanding commitment to accessibility. From unveiling the nation’s first Talking Guide back in 2013, to the recent expansion of the Xfinity Web Adaptive Remote, which was named a “Best Inventions of 2019” by Time Magazine, these groundbreaking technological innovations continue to unlock more equitable access to entertainment, news, and information for people with disabilities. Comcast is proud to have been recently recognized as a “Leading Disability Employer” by the National Organization on Disability for the 7th year in a row and a Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion” by Disability:IN and AAPD for an 8th consecutive year in 2022.