Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Victor Reader Stream Library Edition

In the United States, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) is offering digital books and magazines through Internet download. In addition, the old cassette books and magazines are gradually being replaced by the new digital book cartridges that will be mailed to library patrons. Digital book cartridges are about the same size as a single cassette but the entire book fits on only one cartridge. There is no need to manage multiple cassettes or change sides anymore! NLS will provide free digital book cartridge players to all patrons over the next several years.

Readers who want to experience the benefits of the new digital books right away may consider purchasing the Victor Reader Stream book player from HumanWare. This is a pocket size player capable of playing both the download digital books and the new book cartridges.

The Victor Reader Stream Library Edition is so easy to use, it is ideal to play the new NLS book cartridges. It comes with a book cartridge holder that attaches to the back of the Stream and allows you to play the cartridge directly on the player. It is designed to detect and start playing the book cartridge when you insert it. It will even resume playing the book from where you left it the last time! The Stream also has a copy feature to copy the book cartridge to the memory card of the Stream allowing you to keep multiple books on your Stream at one time.

The NLS digital books are encrypted and you must apply to the NLS BARD web site to get an authorization file that when loaded to the Stream will provide the necessary digital decryption key to play both the download books and book cartridges. To learn more visit the BARD web site at: This is your starting point to apply for BARD service and authorization to play the books on the Stream.

The Stream can also play books from many other Internet sources such as RFB&,,, and It also plays music and even has a built-in computer voice to play computer documents. It is also able to use this computer voice to render the NLS electronic Web Braille books as spoken audio. The Stream even has a feature to record voice notes. To learn more about the standard Stream or Stream Library Edition contact HumanWare at 800-722-3393 or click this link to visit the Stream page at


sarah said...

cool. i own and love my stream but I think there are other players that will do the same. Maybe if it has not ben done already, post a few tidbits about them.


Anonymous said...

Strange that an APH blog is promoting the VR Stream and doesn't once mention the Braille+ in this article. It too plays NLS digital download books. It's sold by APH.

Michael McCarty said...

There's nothing strange about it. You're right, the Braille+ does play the same audio files as the Victor, but the Braille+ is a lot more than a book player. It can be considered a PDA for the Blind, an accessible laptop if you will. The Victor is a book reader only. Click this link to learn more about the Braille+ Mobile Manager from APH.

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