Turn On Your Smart TV's Accessibility Features.

Accessibility settings for people with disabilities are continuously being improved by digital devices, such as smart TVs. In addition to updating accessibility requirements for TV programming (like closed captioning), the 21st Century Comm...

Oct 31, 2023 - 13:00
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Turn On Your Smart TV's Accessibility Features.


Accessibility settings for people with disabilities are continuously being improved by digital devices, such as smart TVs. In addition to updating accessibility requirements for TV programming (like closed captioning), the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) passed in 2010 also includes provisions for hearing aid compatibility, on-screen text menus, remote control activation, and audio descriptions, which indicate visual information like settings, gestures, and facial expressions.


Almost all TV shows and streaming content would be subject to accessibility regulations under a recently proposed law called the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA). Streaming services and online content producers are currently free to include accessibility features; they are not required to.


Having said that, a lot of smart TVs have settings that can be turned on (usually not by default) to improve accessibility for users with low vision or hearing to content and features on the device. It's best to see what's available on your particular device (such as Samsung TV, Fire TV, or Apple TV) as these tools differ depending on the manufacturer.


description in audio.


As was already mentioned, what's happening onscreen is narrated through audio descriptions, which are also known as video descriptions. As part of their accessibility suite, many devices—like Apple TV and Fire TV—offer audio descriptions; however, not all content is compatible. For instance, audio descriptions will only be available as a menu option for a limited number of Prime Video movies and series.


Likewise, screen readers read aloud text on screens to assist low vision users in navigating menus and program guides. They typically let you change the volume, speed, and tone. On Google TV, VoiceView on Fire TV, VoiceGuide on Samsung, and VoiceOver on Apple TV, this feature is referred to as TalkBack.


restricted captions.


Closed captions show dialogue instead of describing the visual action. A great deal of streaming content supports closed captioning, and it is accessible on all broadcast and cable programs. You might be able to change the font, size, and color of the captions as well as where they appear on your screen, depending on your device.


With the Sign Language Guide feature (available on select 2022 models), Samsung customers who are hard of hearing or deaf can use an onscreen avatar to interpret menu options into American Sign Language.


settings for color and contrast.


Additional color and contrast settings for accessibility aid low vision users in recognizing and reading text and images on screens, including closed captions. For instance, Fire TV's High Contrast Text feature converts text on screen to black or white and borders it in the opposite color. This feature is comparable to LG, Samsung, and Sony TVs' menus and settings' High Contrast or Color Inversion features. You can change the device's settings to bold text or to boost color, contrast, and brightness.


SeeColors mode on new Samsung TVs allows users to navigate between nine color settings, and Grayscale, which increases definition by converting to black and white (also available on LG devices), is another feature.


A few devices have settings that allow you to magnify menu text or zoom in on a specific area of the screen: Apple TV's Zoom or Hover Text, Samsung TV's Zoom Menu and Text, Sony Google TV's Text Magnification, Fire TV's Screen Magnifier.


Integration of digital assistant.


You can completely avoid using onscreen navigation by using voice commands for menus, content searches, and device functions (like power and volume) if your smart TV comes equipped with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. Lastly, a few TVs allow you to pair them with Bluetooth-enabled listening devices and hearing aids.


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