[access-uk] Re: Government offers free receivers for digital TV switchover

I'm assuming that this also goes for blind people and that the constant 
references to 'partially sighted people' is just a reflection of the low 
knowledge and discomfort of the press release writer. 

Having AD in these free boxes was a big deal as I recall. Interested to hear 
they have finally overcome this. 

At this rate though, whether we're rolling in cash and very tech savvy or not, 
I think blind people should be applying for these boxes when the time is right 
purely because the industry, the broadcasters and all involved have seriously 
cocked up when it comes to including this technology in ordinary cheap freeview 
boxes. So much talk about the digital underclass yet government and ofcom still 
haven't managed to seriously address the fact that in 2007 it's not possible to 
buy a bog standard 20 pound Freeview box with AD built in. 

The blind community passively sit by as usual. Hopefully this is good news. 

...Damon 











  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Peter Beasley 
  To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 10:06 AM
  Subject: [access-uk] Government offers free receivers for digital TV 
switchover


  Government offers free receivers for digital TV switchover
  By Richard Wilson
  The Government will provide free set-top boxes to the disabled and
  partially-sighted as well as less well-off elderly people when the
  digital TV switchover starts in Cumbria in October.
  The Government faced opposition to its plans to switch off analogue
  broadcasts from interest groups which said the cost of a digital TV
  receiver would be an unfair burden on lower income groups and in
  particular the elderly and disabled who rely on TV.
  As part of its £600m assistance scheme, which was announced last
  December, the Government has now said it will subsidise the total
  cost of "the necessary equipment to convert one television set to
  digital" for disabled and partially-sighted users as well as people
  over 75 years of age who are on some form of income-related benefit.
  The DTI has created a specification for the scheme's set-top box
  which is known as a "Help Box". It is an energy efficient design,
  sub-4W, incorporating an audio commentary feature.
  The first area to convert will be Whitehaven in Cumbria where a
  set-top box designed and manufactured in Wales by TVonics will be
  offered as part of a £1m support scheme being provided by Capita. "We
  are working on a Help Box for phase one, the Whitehaven scheme," said
  a TVonics spokesman.
  This box is a modified version of an existing digital TV receiver,
  based on a Fujitsu chipset, which incorporates a feature known as
  audio description. This provides an audio commentary of programmes
  for blind and partially-sighted users.
  Digital UK, which is overseeing the switchover for the Government,
  has started the bidding process for manufacturers to supply
  assisted-user set-top boxes for the rest of the country.
  For this TVonics has proposed a digital recorder design based on a
  Toshiba chipset.
  http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2007/06/20/41633/
  Government+offers+free+receivers+for+digital+TV+switchover.htm
  David Andrews and white cane Harry.
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