DVD player access for the blind

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dennis Nicholls, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I've got a buddy who's blind (that's "visually impaired" for you politically correct types). He would like to get a DVD player but is concerned with his ability to navigate the functions.

    My advice was to get a single-disk basic player so he wouldn't have to deal with "which disk is playing now" problems. But my general advice was that it was the software that was going to be his problem - for obvious reasons he can't use the video menu to navigate titles. I'm making him list of studio's preferences so he can hit a minimum of buttons to get the movie to start:

    Warner.....generally the movie starts playing on boot
    MGM........generally goes to menu on boot, but just hit "enter" button to start movie as "play" is highlighted

    etc.

    Other than this, what's some good advice on techniques for DVD access for the blind?
     
  2. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Hello? I can't see you.....:b
     
  3. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    Well, I'm sorry if I sound a bit insensitive or politically incorrect, but I don't really see the point of a visually impaired person "watching" DVDs? I assume he'd derive pleasure perhaps from the audio portion of the film? In that case, perhaps it'd be nice to get a person without the visual impairment around with him whenever he wants to watch a DVD? That'd be so much easier.

    If not, perhaps get a HTPC with some software that will do speech recognition/echo such that every navigation he performed will be echoed out, like when he's at the "play movie", the HTPC will say "play movie" or something. I don't know if there's such a software, but it seems possible...
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Get any DVD player and something like the universal big-button remote by Radio Shack, catalof 930-0635, $39.95. It is designed for people with low vision or arthritis. If necessary, one can always glue raised symbols on the buttons.
     
  5. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I guess the person isn't totally blind and therefore, they can see the movie to some extent? I recommend the big button remote.
     
  6. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    No he's totally blind. Hey, he gets enjoyment out of films like "Casablanca" that are strongly dialog oriented just like sighted people do.

    The remote isn't the problem. He can memorize the placement of buttons in a manner of minutes - he's had 50 years of being blind to give him practice in memorizing product layouts.

    The problem is that random DVD's will "boot up" in a random fashion, requiring the use of the visual menu. It's the menu navigation that's his problem. What I'm looking for are techniques that can help him get around the visual menu.
     
  7. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Unfortunately, that is a DVD authoring issue and I am not aware how to get around it except to have someone else put something in a particular disc case that he can recognize and boot up the disc. That issue drives lots of people crazy who are used to high-end audio and don't understand why everything can't be like a CD and just play.
     
  8. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    If you learned ahead of time what sequence of menu navigable clicks got you to the start of the movie, could it be possible to program a macro (with a macro-enabled remote) so that you would simply insert the disc and then after waiting for a few seconds for it to load, you'd hit the "Casablanca" macro on the remote? You would need to do this for every movie or every movie that had a different sequence.

    cheers,


    --tom
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    almost all the dvd's i've dealt with do one of the following two things:

    1. you pop in the dvd, after a short while it automatically plays. obviously no issue there.

    2. you pop in the dvd, it'll run through the opening menu, then sit ready. the key is usually the "play" option is highlighted. all your friend would have to do is hit 'enter'.

    i think it's rare that any dvd doesn't do one of the above?

    so, maybe your friend can just pop in a dvd and see what happens. if nothing happens after a minute or so, have him hit "enter" and see what happens?
     
  10. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    BTTT, or is it IBTL?

    Still waiting for that perfect method of access for the blind....
     
  11. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    There is one label, Unitel, which could be a problem. It starts playing the movie but by default in PCM Stereo. You have to go through menus to switch it to DD51.

    Unitel (Decca Music) has a nice series of operas - so enjoyabel w/o watching the video.
     
  12. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Your friend might want to look at a region-modified player. Some of these include user-prohibition overrides, allowing you to skip any introductory menus/FBI warnings. Just press forward skip a few times and the feature begins playing. If the soundtrack defaults to stereo, this can be changed with the Audio button (no need to return to the menu if on-the-fly soundtrack restrictions are ignored by the player).

    Too bad there aren't more DVC/DVS soundtracks on DVD. I can only think of a few (T2, Grinch, Tarzan, Moulin Rouge,).

    Adam
     
  13. Peter Doten

    Peter Doten Agent

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    I use a Sony DVP-S560 (about 18 months old) and for me it's quite simple.
    -After the DVD loads up (usually a min or two of BS) at the main menu I just hit "play" on my remote and it plays the movie. Sometimes, a title has both the Widescreen and 4:3 versions on that one side so you have to select, but to him, it wouldn't matter anyway.
    -The Sony has an option to "auto play" where it automatically plays the disc at default settings. I don't use it, so I can't comment on it's functionality with many titles.
    -I also find the remote on the Sony to be one of the best in terms of layout in comparison to friends players (Toshiba, JVC, Panasonic). It's very intuitive (sp?).

    HTH,
    Pete
     

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