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Descriptive Video Services

Techstination feature for Thursday, January 9, 2003

Making TV and movies more watchable... for those who can't see. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It is a project that was launched by public television station WGBH in Boston. The use of the second audio program channel or SAP on stereo television sets... to provide what is called descriptive video services. It can make a TV program sound like this...

"Computer animation shows four planets orbiting a central sun. Now a driver jumps from a snowy cliff. And what about gravity? The diver plunges toward the ground. Now an ice cube drops into a glass of water."

Descriptive video services are being added to movies... in some theatres and on DVDs. Now some consumer electronics manufacturers are helping as well. For instance, Panasonic has announced it will include a one touch SAP button in the right hand corner of remote controls for its line of TVs VCRsand DVD players this year. Product accessability manager Eugene Seagriff... the idea is to eliminate having to navigate through on screen menus...

"If you need to navigate a visual menu to access a feature made for those folks who are visually impaired, it doesn't make an awful lot of sense so to us it just seemed quite logical to put the SAP button right there on the remote so that people can turn it on and off at will without the need for scrolling through a visual menu and arrowing down and hitting enter and going through another menu. It just seemed like a logical step for us."

The universal design of remote controls could make products easier to use for all consumers. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.