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Magic 8-ball sez...."New DVRs and STBs by October"

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by TomCat, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    Only and educated guess, but on October 8 Obama signed into law new FCC requirements for closed captioning and other handicap assists.

    Among those, a requirement that all new devices with EPGs in them have "audible" EPGs. All suppliers have a year to comply.

    Could that be a feature uploaded to existing boxes? Maybe. My best guess would be that this is doubtful.

    I guess there could also be loopholes or waivers, but right now from where I sit it looks like new models on the horizon. I imagine that this would not affect existing boxes or replacement of existing boxes, just new boxes.

    But who knows? I am only guessing. :)
     
  2. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Seems this could be accomplished via software, but might take a bit of work.
     
  3. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Yes sir....all over that one for work, as it impacts any consumer-facing technology....even ATMs, etc.

    I suspect the HD DVRs could be updated with the necessary technology, but would likely require additional "input device" additions, such as speech recognition and a microphone. None of that would require a reinventing of the hardware or replacement, just additional things if required/requested by the user.
     
  4. RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    Dripping...
    OK, if this is correct to me it sounds like one of the more stupid regulations out there. Kind of like McDonalds having braille menus available in the drive up lane (if you need a braille menu WTF are you doing driving?).

    What problem is this solution trying to solve? Sorry if not being PC but IMHO this is going way overboard.
     
  5. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Moot point. Its a new law signed and active in 2011.

    It will indeed add costs and complications for plenty of services, but is intended to help overcome disabilities for consumers unable to use traditional input devices such as a keyboard and/or mouse.

    Like it or not, agree with it or not, it's gonna happen.
     
  6. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Visually impaired people watch/listen to TV...Should they not know what's on via guides? Don't they deserve to know program descriptions?
     
  7. RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    Dripping...
    And how does having an audible EPG solve that problem? Don't get me wrong, there are a number of laws/regulations that were needed to assist folks with disabilities but some times Washington goes too far IMHO with some of these.
     
  8. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Voice recognition provides an alternative means for input. One example, think about how you use an ATM today, and how that might change.

    I'm even aware of a number of companies (banks in particular) making plans to add voice commands to consumer-facing websites, requiring voice recognition support as well.
     
  9. RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    Dripping...
    Yes, but is this the best, most cost effective way to do it? If they make it an optional feature that's available as an added cost then fine but if it requires all devices with EPG's in them that's an extra cost that every will be paying for. As I said, not against ADA, just that sometimes Washington uses a shot gun approach to solve problems when there might be a better way.

    Also, does this mean then that all TV's with ATSC tuners will also need to add this function since PSIP includes EPG info for the stations?
     
  10. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the firmware may need to be updated, but the hardware option as required by a consumer.
     
  11. RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    Dripping...
    And that's fine for those applications, according to the OP this is an audible EPG, not voice recognition for commanding the STB's.
     
  12. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    How the Americans with Disabilities Act amended legislation may specifically be implemented may vary by technology, but it will require compliance somehow.
     
  13. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Ok, but who should pay for it? STBs are required for most TV providers. Disabled people shouldn't have to spend extra money to make a STB, that's required to be used, provide audible guide info...So, if STB are required, they must be accessible for all users.
     
  14. RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    OK, again not PC, but why? IMHO just because someone has a disability then other customers of a service should have to subsidise costs to add this function. This is TV, not a service that's a requirement but an option.
     
  15. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    I think in goes back to the deal in the news about using Kindles/readers in universities that they must be accessible. If companies or schools require a piece of technology (STB in this case) to be used, then it must be accessible.
     
  16. RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    OK, that I can see, it's a requirement that you have such and such hardware for school. I know in Texas they've talked about going to electronic books, so when they decide to rewrite history it doesn't cost them an arm and a leg to reprint all those books. ;)
     
  17. hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

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    It does show how invasive TV (and other electronic devices) have become to our culture in general. That stipulated, I have no problem with the law in principle, (who knows what the specifics actually are).

    There could be some grandfathering, some other exceptions, etc.

    In any case, I don't resent being told I have to help pay for it. My money has gone for far, far, far worse things, without my permission. (w/r to taxes).
     
  18. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    PC for the sake of PC is ridiculous, I agree.

    And, your example made me chuckle (thanks for that) but these changes actually seem to make a lot of sense to me. Maybe that's because my 87-year old mother has macular degeneration in both eyes and can't read the EPG to even record the few shows she can still enjoy, even though she can barely see them.

    Anyone still chuckling?

    If the full measure of the changes, many of which, like descriptive dialog, will be phased in over 10 years, were required today instead, it would enrich the quality of her life considerably. I hope Mom's still with us by then.
     
  19. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    It does. It also means the stations will have to provide an audible EPG in PSIP. More work for me.:hurah:

    I hope they let us use celebrity voices, like Snoop Dogg on those TomTom navigation units.

    One more thing, CC can't be accessed by a menu choice anymore, it will have to be a dedicated button, key, or icon. That will at least change the design of the remotes sent out (or does the current remote meet this standard? I guess it does).

    Again, a good idea. I am not in favor of social engineering as a political goal, but occasionally it proves out to be a good safety net against all of the stupid ergonomic mistakes designers make. The beloved HR10-250 could take anywhere from 12 to 20 button presses (depending upon where you last were in the menu pages) to turn on or turn off CC. My old Sharp CRT TV gave the option to turn it on automatically at mute. My new TVs also do that, and all have dedicated buttons on the remotes. That's a no-brainer, but when manufacturers have no brains, sometimes the government forces them to smarten up, and sometimes that can be a good thing.
     
  20. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    I think this will be my last word on this subject. Right now, having an audible EPG is not an "option" for those who need one. Those people are essentially all disenfranchised from using a DVR, period.

    I am not a communist, not a marxist, not a socialist (and barely even a democrat), but like it or not, we are our brothers' keepers. There is no getting around that. That is a basic requirement of society, to look out for each other.

    I have no children, so why am I paying taxes for schools and education and not moaning about it? Because its the right thing to do.

    Suck it up.
     

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