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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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Windows-Based Software to Make Digital Television Accessible

After almost a decade making mobile phones accessible to the blind and visually impaired, Code Factory has decided to move from small to big screen and expand its expertise in accessibility to television.

TV Speak is an application to be installed on a computer equipped to receive a digital television signal. Through speech output and magnification, TV Speak allows people who are blind or have low vision to use the most common functionality of digital terrestrial television in a fully accessible way.

With TV Speak, people who are blind or have low vision can:

  • Access the Electronic Program Guide (EPG).
  • While watching TV, consult information about the current or next program.
  • Select audio channels to choose one providing an audio description.
  • Schedule and record programs (image + audio, or audio only) based on the EPG information.
  • Tune and order television and radio channels.
  • Configure both television and TV Speak parameters.
  • Enable parental control settings.
  • Execute basic TV operations such as change channel, adjust volume, etc.

To use TV Speak, you need a computer running Windows (Windows 7, Vista or XP), a TV tuner card, and a TV antenna cable adapted for digital terrestrial television (either portable or that plugs into a TV socket). The tuner will make the connection between your computer and the TV antenna. One side of the tuner has a USB port to plug into your computer and the other side has a plug to connect to the antenna. In other words, the TV antenna cable is connected to the TV tuner, which in turn is connected to the PC via a USB port. In this way you can watch TV through your computer and you don’t actually need to use your television screen. However if you wish you can direct the audio and video output of TV Speak to your TV monitor and use a wireless keyboard to control the TV.

TV Speak is a product that Code Factory has been developing in partnership with ONCE, the Spanish national association for the blind.

When you install TV Speak for the first time, it will automatically work for 30 days for free. Once the demo expires, you will be asked for a license number. To purchase TV Speak in the US, please contact:

HandyTech North America
Phone: 651-636-5184
Email: Web:

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