[access-uk] Re: Response from Virgin Media re accessibility

She made a lot of the right noises in her response, but, reading between the
waffle, her answer to your questions seems to be 'no', no and no'.

 

Cheers

 

Barry

 

 

 

From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Chris Moore
Sent: 06 June 2011 11:30 AM
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Response from Virgin Media re accessibility 

 

Hi all,

 

I recently wrote to the CEO of Virgin Media about their plans to make their
TV boxes more accessible to us blind customers.

 

Please see their response below for your information.

 

Kind regards

 

Chris 

 

 

 

 

Begin forwarded message:





From: "Chapman, Katie" <katie.chapman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Date: 31 May 2011 17:35:20 GMT+01:00

To: christophermoore@xxxxxx

Subject: RE: Accessibility

 


Dear Chris, 

Thanks for your email raising questions on the accessibility of our TV
product. Stuart has since left the business and I have assumed the role
of Acting Head of Sustainability & Reporting.

Virgin Media is very mindful of its responsibilities towards customers
who may have additional requirements due to disabilities of one sort or
another.  This applies across our whole product set and, as your letter
to some extent acknowledges, we have invested heavily over recent years
to make our products more accessible.  We recognise, of course, that
there is much further work to be done and, within the inevitable
financial constraints under which our business must operate, we will
continue to make improvements. 

As far as TV is concerned, a key priority for us was developing the
technical infrastructure necessary to relay access services delivered by
broadcasters.  Having successfully done so, we are now working hard to
do the same for our video on demand service, although this presents a
number of thorny technical challenges.  In the meantime I'm pleased to
say that our new TiVo-powered set-top-box ("STB") does now support both
subtitles and audio-description on the BBC catch-up service.

Returning to the key points in your email, our TV team has in the recent
past explored the possibility of introducing a text-to-speech engine
into our existing and legacy STB's, but this did not prove viable.  Our
current development work in the TV space is focussed largely on our new
TiVo-powered product, but this has only just launched and we plan is to
increase its accessibility features as the product is developed and
refined over time.

Current options for investigation are a talking channel guide, based on
a red-button application, which will allow basic navigation of the
scheduled TV channel line-up.  This is still at an early development
stage, however, and users will continue to need to memorise the channel
number and the location of the button. In tandem with the above, and
bearing in mind the comments you make about Apple products, we are also
exploring the feasibility of supporting text-to-speech for the iPad and
iPhone applications. This should give our TiVo customers full control
over the electronic programme guide, including the ability to record and
playback as well as to select on-demand content.

Your letter draws comparisons with our satellite competitor BSkyB so I
think it is important to point out that, while the digital TV services
provided by Sky and Virgin may, on the face of it, appear broadly
similar from a viewer's perspective, it is important to recognise that
the satellite and cable delivery platforms are worlds apart
technologically.  The availability or otherwise of certain access
services on each platform is not therefore a direct reflection of the of
the level of concern for disabled customers, but rather mirrors the
technological complexity involved in providing such services, and the
need to ensure the stability of all our services to our growing customer
base.

I of course believe that Virgin Media offers a better combination of
products and customer service, but each individual's needs a different.
I hope you will remain a Virgin Media customer and trust that the above
serves to reassure you that we are committed to ongoing improvement in
terms of accessibility to our digital entertainment products.  

Yours sincerely,
Katie


-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Moore [mailto:christophermoore@xxxxxx]
Sent: 07 May 2011 12:30
To: Poore, Stuart
Subject: Re: Accessibility

Hi there,

I was wondering if you had any information for me yet?  I would also
like to mention that your Electric magazine is also not accessible to
blind users too.

Thanks 

Chris
On 19 Apr 2011, at 12:07, Poore, Stuart wrote:




 

Hi Chris,

 

Thanks for your note. This has been passed to me as the best person to





respond. I'm looking into it for you and will be back in touch

shortly.



 

Best regards,

 

Stuart Poore

 

 

Stuart Poore

07948 715864

 

 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Chris Moore [mailto:christophermoore@xxxxxx]

Sent: Monday, April 18, 2011 05:16 PM

To: Berkett, Neil

Subject: Accessibility

 

Neil,

 

I am a Virgin Media customer and sadly went blind a year ago.  The 

problem I am now facing is how does someone blind operate your set top





boxes?  I can appreciate VM offers audio description and have also 

consulted the RNIB on what colour scheme to use for ease of use for 

low vision users when creating the on screen colour scheme.  But if 

you are blind you have to memorise key presses on the remote control 

to obtain commonly used features.

 

I would be grateful if vm would consider adding text to speech to 

their set top boxes so blind users can navigate the various menus on 

the set top box to access content they have recorded, access the EPG 

and VM on demand content which we pay for through our TV package but 

can't access without sighted assistance.

 

I would also like to see VM offer access to VM TV services via a web 

browser and/or Apple iPhone/iPad.

 

I am a Apple Mac and iPhone user because Apple have a full commitment 

to accessibility and the blind and provide text to speech facilities 

built into all their products.  Apple products are selling huge 

numbers to the blind community because of this and appreciate blind 

customers have money to spend too.

 

I believe Sky are working on a text to speech enabled service for 

their

Sky+ platform, so what do Virgin have planned?  I would like to think

with the government's push into e-accessibility and the Equality Act 

2010 Virgin will start to meet the needs of it's visually impaired 

customers and of those who may have a print disability or English not 

being their first language.

 

Happy to discuss.

 

Chris Moore

 

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