Ocean Blue and STMicroelectronics showcase Talking TV Technology at CES 2011

Friday, January 7th, 2011
Ocean Blue Software logo

BRISTOL, UK — Ocean Blue Software and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) are showcasing Talking TV technology, the world’s first assistive technology for Digital TV devices, at CES this week. Incorporating an advanced User Interfaces and text-to-speech solution for the USA, European and Asian markets, the technology has been developed by Ocean Blue Software, in partnership with digital-TV chip giant, STMicroelectronics, whose processors lie at the heart of most TVs and set top boxes.

The new generation of set top boxes will be able to talk to their blind or partially-sighted owners – advising, via speech technology, the TV programming schedule, for example. Owners will be able to adjust the speed and verbosity of the voice to suit their needs, choose to enlarge or reduce font sizes and change background and text colours. A re-designed and easy to use remote control will also be included.

Phase two of the development, will introduce voice activation technology to allow owners to talk back to their TV sets – “channel up”, “channel down”, “volume up”.

“The digital switchover has multiplied the number of channels to 40 plus, for UK consumers, making navigation very difficult for the visually impaired,” said Ken Helps, CEO of Ocean Blue Software. “This technology is a step forward to making digital TV accessible to all sectors of the community and it is gradually gaining momentum throughout the world.”

In October of this year, US President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. This act includes a number of provisions to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind as technology in television and the internet changes. Advanced User Interfaces, programming guides and menus need to be developed for set-top boxes. Ocean Blue Software believes Talking TV technology will become a standard application in every television and set-top box throughout the world over the next 5 years.