Many modern TV’s have inclusive design features that can be useful for blind and partially sighted people. Voice controlled televisions respond to their user’s spoken instructions, while screen reader/voice guidance technology will read out information from the programme information menu options. Magnification and spoken subtitle functions can also be useful.
Mainstream TV manufacturers have made significant advances in accessibility in recent years. The Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative has a facility to enable the comparison of specific TV products against a checklist of Visual Impairment relevant design features. RNIB has information on their website on accessible TV devices, including Samsung and Panasonic. Also check out the Sony website for information on their accessibility.
TV’s are becoming smarter and increasingly connected online. Digital media players, in the form of TV boxes or sticks, can plug in to add Smart TV functionality to existing devices. Services such as Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV come with multiple useful accessibility features built in.
The Portset Digital Media Centre is a gadget that has been specially designed for blind people. This standalone device has no screen, but has multiple features for improving access to TV through enhanced audio information.
TV glasses offer increased magnification specialised towards viewing television screens. There are some options available on mainstream retailers like Amazon or specialist retailers such as VisionEnhancers.
Partially sighted people may take extra care in positioning their TV, to reduce glare or to ensure they can sit with their best eye facing the screen. Larger screens are often preferable for obvious reasons, but also more expensive. Some partially sighted people find that curved screens can minimise glare.