Accessing Entertainment with Technology
We live in the age of smart TVs, streaming, and voice-guided narration. But with all the options for fun can come confusion. During this Tech it Out, we discussed where to find audio-described content, how to get the most out of a Smart TV, and what the options are for streaming content.
February 26, 2019
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Accessing Entertainment with Technology
Presented by Ricky Enger
February 26th, 2019
Ricky Enger: Hello everyone and welcome to the February edition of Tech It Out. Let's jump right in to tonight's topic, which is accessible entertainment. And to be a little bit more specific, we're focusing on accessible television entertainment. Some of you may actually remember a time when your TV was this giant monstrosity and you would change the channels of which you had, I don't know, maybe three, four, if you were lucky and you would change the channel by turning this giant Knob that would click through these channels and you kind of didn't necessarily have anything beyond a print TV guide to tell you what was coming up during the next week or so. That is certainly no longer the case. The great news is that it is a wonderful time to be alive. There are tons and tons of options for getting accessible entertainment.
The not so great news is that there are tons and tons of options for getting access to entertainment. And it can sometimes be really daunting to try and figure out what some of the stuff is and why you should care about it. Perhaps you have a particular item in mind that you would really like to know something about, but you're not entirely sure about the terminology. So what I'd like to do is just to break some of this down and take some of the mystique out of it and then give each of you, after we've done kind of this overview, the chance to ask questions about the things that interest you specifically. So let's start out then with smart TVs. Why does everything have to be smart? What does this thing know that I don't know? Why does my TV need to be intelligent in some way?
So when we say smart TVs, we're essentially talking about the same concept as a smart phone. So basically what this means is that your TV can have apps, it can have access to services, it's software can be updated over Wifi or whatever your networking option is. So rather than being a TV that simply shows you whatever is on a particular channel, you have a lot more functionality in this TV, assuming of course that you can access it. So the accessibility of smart TVs is something that has actually come quite a long way even within the past two or three years. So for both blind and low vision users, there are television options out there which can really meet your needs. I'll talk about a couple of them. And believe it or not, I do not own all of these TVs. I haven't gone on this strange a TV buying spree and gotten all of them.
But I can speak in generalities for the ones that I don't have. And there are some that I don't know about as well. So the Samsung TVs were one of the first TVs to have some built in accessibility. Now the challenge for any of these things is to know which of the models has accessibility and which models do not. In this case, the Samsung 6-Series TV's definitely do have accessibility and there are likely other Samsung TV sets that have that as well. The TV itself can talk. There are also some low vision options for changing contrast on your menus, doing things like enlarging fonts on menus and that kind of thing where you're going to find that both on this TV and any TV that has this kind of functionality, what you'll be looking for. And sadly, oftentimes this can't be done without a set of working eyeballs initially, but we'll, you'll be looking for is the settings menu and then you'll be looking for the option called accessibility.
And that's where you're going to find, okay, what can this TV do? All of those options will be found under settings and accessibility. So that Samsung, a second group doing some accessibility on their TVs as LG and they actually were beginning this back in 2011. Ironically, though, I don't know that they have made as much progress since that time as some other TV manufacturers. But LG TVs do have some accessibility on the Samsung models. The talking portion of it anyway is called voice guide. And on the LG it is called a voice guidance, which is very similar. LGs also have something called a magic remote sounds kind of neat, right? You think you should be able to kind of wave it around like a Harry Potter's Wand and do some really neat things. While you may not be able to do that, but you can do some things with your voice just using the remote.
The remote actually has a microphone in it. And so much like the smart assistance, which we talked about in the last episode of Tech It Out, these LG TVs have the ability for you to talk to them. The third smart TV I want to talk about is the one I actually own. And this is the Vizio and the series which definitely has this ability is the P-series. Now for Samsung and LG, each of these TV's kind of had their own somewhat internally manufactured screen reader, if you will. Whereas the Vizio P-Series runs on android and it therefore is using talk back. So if you're familiar at all with android, the talk back screen reader is actually what's active on this series. Now why do I care about a smart TV? What kinds of functionality can it offer me that I really need and just can't live without?
Well, you could probably live without some of it, but a smart TV, as I mentioned earlier, has the ability to access services or a load apps. So things like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, iHeartRadio, all of these things that will be mentioned a bit later. These are some examples of apps and services that are built into the TV. So you would be able to access these things directly. Additionally, if you want to change the input on your TV. So let's say that you have your cable box hooked to your TV, but you also own an Apple TV, which we're also going to talk about in just a bit. You want to be able to switch between those things without having to try and play the guessing game as to, okay, which version of or which a port am I on right now, which TV signal and my receiving.
So with a smart TV, you're going to get that feedback about which HDMI input you're on. And anything else that you need to access, you can even change the actual visual settings on your TV. So if you wanted to be in dark mode where colors appear a bit darker because that's easier for you to, those are things that you can find in the menus. And if you have an accessible smart TV, you'll be able to access those things independently rather than needing to ask someone to assist you with that. And that's really quite nice. So the TV is one of many components to this whole accessible entertainment thing, wouldn't be enough if we just had this one device, right? We need all of these different gadgets and one of them is a set top box or DVR. Now, what do those things mean?
Some of you may know and some of you may not. Essentially when we're talking about a set top box, this is what you're going to get from your cable provider and a DVR, which is often built into these simply stands for digital video recorder. So this is what you use when you say, "I really, really want to watch the show, but a Tech It Out is happening live. And so I can't do both. So I'm going to make the logical choice and go to tech it out and I can record my show and go back and watch that later." That's using the DVR. The problem is that historically these things were notoriously inaccessible. You had a remote with a bunch of buttons and you were lucky if you could change the channel, let alone program your favorite TV show to be recorded so that you could watch later.
Now, unfortunately for those of you who are joining outside the US, the accessible set top boxes that I will mention here are generally US centric. But the same concepts do apply kind of across the board, in the US a dish, direct TV, Comcast and Spectrum are just a few of the cable/network TV providers who do have an accessible option. Your method for getting that accessible option can vary depending on what your provider is. So for example, the Comcast Xfinity I believe you have to ask specifically for that. With Spectrum they have a couple of different options, one of which is an actual kind of traditional cable box that has accessibility. And the other is a piece of hardware called a Roku. And depending on where you're located, you get one or the other of these.
But Spectrum has kind of a a unique approach. While you do have these options to get a cable box, Spectrum kind of would rather you just use their smartphone app. So from your smartphone you are able to control what it is that you're watching in much the same way that you would use a cable box. The only difference is that your smartphone is portable. So now you can watch TV from anywhere or you can program your DVR from your smartphone and it tends to be a little less clunky than some of these set top cable boxes. So direct TV has something called the Genie DVR and then dish has the traditional the Hopper and the Joey aren't those the cutest names for their little receivers? Those you can enable accessibility from within the menus. And again, these are things that depending on who your provider is, whether inside the US or outside, you can either research or you can actually call the companies tech support to say, "Hey, how do I enable accessibility on this box?"
And tech support can kind of be hit or miss at times. But I've generally had good luck when I needed to speak with my cable providers about these things I generally had good luck with getting someone who understood what I was asking and actually knew the answer as to how I could either get to the accessibility settings on my existing cable box or request one that had accessibility If that wasn't the standard that they kind of handed out to everyone. Cable is one thing. But one question that I've gotten a lot, and by the way you can send in questions too if you like. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. So that's E-N-G-E-R @hadley.edu. If you do have questions. And again, a question that has come up quite frequently when we announced that the topic would be accessible, television and entertainment was, "I'm sick of my cable provider, I would really rather pay my money elsewhere. Is there anything that I can do to cut the cord?"
You might hear people using that phrase, cut the cord and it sounds a little bit weird and could mean any number of things. But in this case, what we're talking about is stepping away from the traditional cable model and looking at some third party alternatives. Couple of examples of this, Sling TV is one. And essentially what these services do is they have a selection of networks. So, for example, CBS or NBC, CBS, Fox, that kind of thing, they have this selection of networks that they're providing to you and some additional content as well in some cases. Generally they will allow you to either have an app for your TV or you're using it from a smart phone. So again, just as in the case with your cable provider, if you're using their app, you could be watching TV at the doctor's office and tuning out the Jerry Springer that they tend to have broadcasting at the doctor's office if you have enough data to do that.
So a couple of examples of these kinds of services Sling TV is one, not necessarily the one that I'm going to jump up and down and recommend immediately only because they have kind of a track record of having accessibility and then breaking it and then making one thing better while breaking another. So one thing to keep in mind with Sling TV or any of these third party content streaming services is that they generally have a seven day free trial so that you can go in and determine not only the accessibility of the service, but does it have all of the networks that you want? Does it work with the devices that you own? Are you able to use this in the way that you kind of imagined that you would? In addition to Sling TV, there is the service I use, which is called YouTube TV.
And not surprisingly, this is coming from Google who owns YouTube. And this is different than youtube.com where users are uploading their videos. And there are tons of cat videos and people want you to like and subscribe and so on. So that's YouTube. But YouTube TV is an entirely different service. And with this service, you have a selection of networks where you can watch live TV content. You can scroll through a particular channel and kind of look at its guide just to see, hey, what's coming up next? And you can use DVR again, that's digital video recorder. So you can say, well, I'm not going to be available for the show, but I'd like to schedule to record it and now I can watch this show at my leisure. Prices on these third party services that include kind of the standard traditional networks that we're used to.
These prices can vary, but YouTube TV for example, is about $40 a month and you might be thinking, wow, that is a lot. But if you consider that perhaps one of the purposes for getting YouTube TV is that you can step away from your traditional cable provider that you may not particularly enjoy, then that $40 doesn't seem so bad. What a lot of people will do is elect to continue having their Internet through a cable providers such as Spectrum or Comcast. And then they say, "I'm not going to bother with your television service because I can get this elsewhere." In addition to these services that basically provide a number of networks that you can access, there are those which have TV shows and movies. And you've very likely heard of at least one of them, there's Netflix, Amazon prime, Hulu, just to name a few.
And each of these services has original content that they produce as well as they'll have really popular movies that you may have wanted to see in the theater but couldn't. And now they're available for you to a stream to whichever device you would like to watch on, each of these services they generally will run $14, perhaps sometimes a little less. So it depends on what you're doing and how many movies and TV shows you'd really like to watch. And some cases you may say, "What I want is on Netflix and isn't on Hulu. So I only want to pay for one of these things." We'll talk a little bit more, perhaps a lot more about audio description and how that works with each of these services in just a bit. But before we do that, I want to talk a little bit about hardware because we have mentioned these smart TVs, which are wonderful little devices, but they are not our only method for accessing content.
Sometimes your smart TV may not have a service built in that you like or sometimes there may very well be a builtin Netflix service, but the screen reader on your smart TV doesn't work well enough to operate that service well enough. So what do you do? Well, it's time to get another gadget. Or two or three or you know, just as many as you think you might need. And most people are fine with just one of them. There's the A TV and this is probably one of the most well-known pieces of hardware that can deliver just a ton of content. So you can access Netflix from the apple TV. You can of course access iTunes. That's not really much of a surprise since apple would definitely like you to buy content from iTunes. So you can use your apple TV to watch that content, you can access Hulu.
There are lots and lots of services and apps on the Apple TV. There's even a grub hub app on the Apple TV. So if you've ever had this fantasy of I would love to order a pizza and watch a movie from the same device, that is a reality. You can totally do that with the Apple TV because it does have a grub hub app among many, many others. Voiceover is used on the Apple TV to make it accessible and you use it with a touch screen remote, which I will say from experiences, very easy to lose. So there's that to keep in mind. But Apple TV is a wonderful all around option, especially if you have content from iTunes that you'd like to be able to watch on your big screen, the apple TV along with a few other hardware options I'll mention here in just a bit, hook into a ports on your TV and then you just switch to that input port whenever you are ready to begin watching content from that particular hardware.
You can actually search for content on the apple TV using Siri. So you can hold down a button on the remote and search for a thing that you might want to watch. And what Apple TV will do is show you all of the places where that is available. In some cases it might be available for free on Netflix. And in that case, if you have your Netflix subscription and you've set it up on the A TV, you can watch it right there. It will also show you that it's available for rent or purchase on iTunes. So if you're looking for say The Incredibles 2 you could search for that and the Apple TV is going to show you all of the places where that's available. The Alexa Firestick is another example of this kind of hardware where you can access a number of apps and services for which you might have subscriptions and be able to watch that content on your TV.
Now, I had to buy one of these last week for work, had no choice and I'm very happy to say that I really like the device. The Alexa Firestick is using a screen reader called voice view. And once voice few is on, which by the way, if you get one of these newer models you can turn voice view on right out of the box much as you can with Apple TV so each of these things can be set up independently and the Amazon Firestick has a number of things that you can access there as well. So how about Amazon Prime Video? Do we think that that might be accessible on the Amazon Firestick? I'm going to say yes, probably if you're not familiar with what Amazon Prime Video is, it is a set of videos from Amazon, some of which are originals and again some of which are TV shows and movies which have been collected from elsewhere and they're available to you if you have an Amazon Prime subscription.
So using the Firestick is yet another way that you can watch this content. You can also again access things like Netflix and Hulu on the Firestick. The interfaces might be a little different on each of these pieces of hardware. So for example, the Apple TV may have its own implementation of Netflix and the Amazon fire stick has its version of that, some of which are easier to use than others and some of which actually may be more accessible than others. So again, many, many things to consider when it comes to accessing this wonderful entertainment that we all want so much. Roku is the last device I want to mention in this list and I've placed at last probably because it is the least pleasant to listen to for sure. It is kind of a latecomer to the accessible devices market.
And I'm not kidding when I say the voices, very unpleasant to listen to. However, the prices, right. Roku are generally fairly cheap. The Apple TV is the most expensive third party streaming device on this list. And the Alexa fire TV or Firestick is around $49. And the Roku is around 39 to $49, depending on when you look and where you look. But it is an option. It's available and it does work. It's just a little less user friendly than the others that I've mentioned on this list. Finally, let's talk about audio description, is one thing to have a number of ways to access entertainment, whether it be directly from your cable broadcast or perhaps watching a movie in a theater or watching something from these streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime. So what's the deal with audio description? Where can we find it, where is it available and how do we access it?
The answer is unfortunately different for each of these cases. So the way that you go about accessing audio description depends on which device it is that you're using. So when it comes to the content that is broadcast on your cable TV networks, what you're generally looking for is in some cases there is a menu on your accessible set top box or a smart TV, which says audio description. And perhaps more often this is going to be called secondary audio. And whenever you turn on the secondary audio, it could either be audio description or a different language depending on what the cable broadcast provider has chosen to do there. So those are some ways that you can do this either directly from your smart TV or from your accessible set top box.
You're going to want to explore the menus or again, ask your cable provider, "Hey, you're broadcasting this accessible audio description content, how can I access it?" And they can generally tell you, for Netflix, Netflix is kind of an interesting story because for the longest time there was absolutely no audio description on Netflix anywhere despite the fact that the actual audio description tracks did exist. So the studios had produced audio description for these TV shows and movies, but Netflix wasn't including them. Sometimes it takes some legal action for things to move in the right direction. Sometimes that takes the approach of structured negotiation where you're not paying out billions of dollars and so on. It's more of a, this is what we need. This is our right. What can you do? Can you come to the table and do the right thing?
And in Netflix's case that is what happened. And they have, they for all original Netflix series. So that means anything that Netflix themselves has designed and produced will automatically have audio description. They are also constantly adding audio described titles to their library. I mean all the time. This list is growing and growing. So for things that you might want to watch, whether it be your favorite TV series that's on Netflix or a movie that maybe you wanted to see, but it's like castaway where the first part of the movie is pretty much totally silent and you would have no idea what's going on. Great. Go watch that with audio description. Amazon Prime video is a little bit slower, but they are making some progress with including audio description on their video titles as well. Hulu is the one that's kind of last to the party in that there are announcements that audio description will becoming too soon.
That unfortunately hasn't happened yet. But it is definitely in the works and it's more than just the standard company line of, "Oh yes, we're totally working on that." No, there truly our plans and we should actually see audio description on Hulu this year. So that's super exciting. If you want to take a look at what audio described titles are out there, I'm going to put a link in the show notes, ACB, the American Council of the blind who had a major hand in bringing forward some of this audio description on Netflix and elsewhere. They have a site called the Audio Description Project and basically they have aggregated a list of all of the titles on itunes, Hulu, well not Hulu yet, but Netflix, Amazon Prime DVDs and movies in the theater that actually have audio description available to you. So if you're wondering if a particular movie has audio description available, you can check out this site which will be in the show notes for this episode. And find that out.
Speaking of show notes, how in the world do you find those? You can visit hadley.edu/techitout. So that's the official page for these discussions. And once we do post the archive of this event, this is where you're going to find all of the resources that were mentioned that there as well. Active You is a method by which you can watch. Not terribly many at this point, but it's growing all the time. You can watch your movie audio described in the theater without having to get that crazy FM transmitter that always tends to make a lot of aesthetic and make noise. And the way that this works is that you actually use your smartphone, Active You is an app and you're able to tell it which movie you're watching, whether you are in the theater or at home because they have different methods for sinking up with both of these.
And then you press a button, it syncs with wherever the movie track is at that point. And you've got audio description right in your ears on your own headphones. You can adjust your volume as you see fit. Meanwhile, the movie is playing in the theater or again at home in some cases when the movie has gone to video and Active You has the rights to share that, then you'll be able to sync up with that movie at home. So it's really quite nice and I'm looking forward to Active You getting rights to more and more property. The issue is that studios tend to be very, very protective of what they have produced. And so they need to have licenses in place which ensure that only those people who should be accessing these things are and so Active You has to actively negotiate for the rights to kind of distribute these kinds of things and the track doesn't play if it doesn't see or hear a movie track happening.
So I suspect that they are going to definitely have some success with getting more and more licensed movies. Right now what you're seeing a lot of is Disney movies and there are plenty of Disney movies to keep us busy as Active You adds more to the list. One last thing I want to mention before I open things up for questions is maybe you've always wondered what it's like or what it takes to be the person who does the audio description. I was watching a movie the other night and this was a horror movie. So things that kind of jump scare, happen suddenly. You don't want to be warned of those things before they actually happen. Especially if you happen to be watching something with audio description along with a sighted person. You don't want there to be any spoilers.
So what does it take to describe a movie? What goes into this? What is the process like? Well Jeff Thompson over at Blind Abilities has a wonderful art interview with Roy Samuelson who is an incredible audio describer and I will also put that link in the show notes for you guys to go and check out because it's a phenomenal interview and it gives really a look behind the scenes for things that we just really might not think about in terms of what goes into doing this audio description that is so important for all of us. All right, with all of that said, I would like to open it up for questions and remember if you would like to raise your hand if you do have a question, the way to do that is star nine on your phone if you have joined from your phone, you can do alt Y from your PC, command shift Y from your Mac and if you've joined from an APP, you can look for the more tab and once you select that, you're going to see the option to raise your hand under the more tab.
If you would like to unmute yourself once you're called on or if you have a comment to chime in which is related to someone else's question, you can certainly toggle your mute button. And that is star six on the phone, alt A on the PC, command shift A on the Mac. So with that said we are going to begin with our first question, which is coming from a person on the phone area code 386, it's your turn.
Ryan: This is Ryan. How accessible is Hulu with [inaudible 00:39:41] is that I remember trying it years ago on my Apple TV and I had trouble with it.
Ricky Enger: Hulu is one of those things that is updating pretty frequently and sometimes they can break accessibility. So right now on the iPhone it does work, but it's actually a tiny bit confusing on the Amazon Firestick. It is also working, but they have a new interface on that. And it is again accessible. It's just a little confusing and not necessarily user friendly to navigate. Apple TV is probably the best place right now to use Hulu. So if you did try that a couple of years ago on Apple TV and did not have the best experience, you might give that another shot and see how things go.
Ricky Enger: Awesome. Next we have Sean Williams. You got a question? Go right ahead.
Sean Williams: Thank you very much. So I actually just wanted to mention a couple things. So one thing that I particularly like, or actually I love rather about my Apple TV is the builtin braille support. And same goes for the ... I'm not sure if the Firesticks have it yet or not, but I know that Kindle Fire do, but anyway. I just wanted to mention of that in case anyone was interested. But then the other thing that was going to say was that Sero actually is available on the Apple TV. I had to step away a little bit, so I don't know if you covered that. Apologies if you did, but that works well as well. I'm just curious, do you use that?
Ricky Enger: I don't use Sero. I tend to like and I know that many people do. My personal preference is to directly support the people who are kind of producing the audio description. So for example, if Netflix has a new original series and that has audio description available, I'm probably going to put my money into Netflix just to show them that yes, thank you for doing what you can to add audio description and I want to support that endeavor as much as I can. So I generally tend to subscribe directly to these services. But I'm glad that you mentioned that. I'm also super glad that you mentioned the Apple TV Braille support. Because it reminds me of another question which came up before the presentation I had several people email me who are looking for solutions for those who are deaf, blind and still want to be able to enjoy TV programs in some form.
And one way that that could be done is to use Braille support on Apple TV or Braille support on say for example, the Netflix app or any app that supports closed captioning and using your paired Braille display to read those captions. I would love information from people who do this regularly. My feedback so far from those who have tried this is that it is certainly possible to read captions on the Braille display. The issue is that at times the speed of the caption is a bit fast, so you have to be a nice fast braille reader in order to keep up with those captions. But it's a really neat option to be aware of. Thanks Sean for bringing those things up and we are ready-
Speaker 4: What is Sero? You mentioned Sero, what's that?
Ricky Enger: Sero is a-
Speaker 5: Can I answer that?
Ricky Enger: Yeah, sure. Go right ahead.
Speaker 5: Sero is more of a service that was an excellent service back in the early 2000 that only provide the audio track for the non-visual user to listen to the movie with audio description, the disadvantage of it is if you have family or friends coming over who are sided they're just gonna listening to the audio and not enjoy the actual movie visuals. So it is a subscription based, but just like what another service blind mice they're limited I guess now on what they can provide because they seem to work hand in hand. And if one stop services then they both start services as an example, blind mice decided not to be putting up TV shows anymore. They just, movies and Sero have followed suit and just providing more movies. So if you just go with touch of its way now, is going to be limited to the TVS shows that Sero has provided in the past and you won't be having access to any new TV programming except for movies.
Ricky Enger: Thank you that was excellent. Sorry, go ahead.
Speaker 5: Yes, on Sero, it's actually not true. You can actually still watch TV shows. I've actually just watched a TV show this morning.
Ricky Enger: I think they're adding new TV shows, but perhaps they are still keeping those which were available. And so the best way to not only support these content providers but to ensure that you do have access to all the latest and greatest stuff is to subscribe directly to those. And there are aggregated services that again will provide audio only tracks for things and those are available as well. So it's kind of there so many, many different ways that you can spend your money that it's nice to know about all of them that are available. Let's go ahead and move on to 517 on the phone. Go ahead with your question.
Speaker 6: Yeah, I'm just wondering about Apple TV. I have a third generation and I'm looking to upgrade and I know there's fourth generation and the 4K but I don't have a 4K TV, so I'm just wondering, would the 4K work still?
Ricky Enger: Yeah, that's a great question. And the answer is the 4K will still work. So if you were going to buy a 4K with the idea that maybe someday you would have a 4K TV, there's nothing wrong with spending a little extra money to go ahead and get that, but there aren't really any teachers there that you're not going to see on just the fourth generation Apple TV that isn't working. There's also a rumor that Apple will be coming out with a dongle though something that's a bit smaller than current Apple TV and might look something like an Amazon Firestick, which is again kind of longer, a bit smaller and a little more compact than the Apple TV. I will say having owned both the third and fourth generation Apple TV that I really, really loved it, the remote on the third generation, and I'm still trying to get used to a remote on the fourth generation TV, but Apple TV, wonderful, wonderful piece of hardware. Let's go now then to John Christie.
Speaker 7: Quick question on the Apple TV subject.
Ricky Enger: Sure.
Speaker 7: Is the Apple TV [inaudible 00:48:03] it's like same thing at the Firestick?
Ricky Enger: That's exactly right. So it's kind of confusing to [inaudible 00:48:11] and especially because there was a rumor at one time that Apple was going to create an actual TV, they never did. But the Apple TV is a piece of hardware that hooks to your current TV much like the Firestick would. All right. John Christie, do you have a question?
John Christie: Yes. Okay. What I was wondering was, I have the 6,400 model of the Samsung and the setup, you can't set it up. You have to have cited assistance with it. Now how about the newer models that you talked about the Samsung models, is the setup accessible?
Ricky Enger: To my knowledge and this is something that they need a bit of work, but to my knowledge, the answer is no. All of these smart TVs now the third party streaming hardware tends to be a little more accessible in terms of how you would go about setting it up independently. But the smart TVs are not accessible with the setup. The really interesting part about this is that when I was researching kind of how to access the settings on some of these TVs and what they had for accessibility or how to turn on audio description, one of the most common things that came up on a Google search was how do I keep my TV from talking? How do I turn this thing off? So somehow people are doing this accidentally and I wish I knew how they were doing it accidentally. Cause we get-
John Christie: [inaudible 00:49:46] button.
Ricky Enger: Yeah, there's in some cases, yeah.
John Christie: I know and a Samsung TV I have, the buttons on the bottom and if you'd like, I can provide you the model for the show notes, but there's three columns and four rows in the middle top button if you press that it will automatically turn on the voice guidance.
Ricky Enger: Oh, that's great. So it looks like Samsung has in fact made some progress. John, I'm not sure if Louise has your particular model. What I would recommend is to, again look at the show notes, at hadley.edu/techitout all one word. We'll be posting this within the next week or so and we'll mention in those show notes, the model number that Luis is talking about and you can see if you can repeat this on your own TV. Let's go next then to the phone. We have 773. It's your turn. Go right ahead.
Speaker 9: Hi yes, what I wanted to mention was, as far as Comcast, I have their set top box and the thing I like about Comcast set top box is the box itself, it's built in on everybody's box. And the accessibility features and you can do, you can set it up with outside assistance. I like that you can set it up with outside assistance to buttons. Really tactile buttons on the remote. I have found that when you call the standard tech support, they get confused sometimes and they confuse the voice remote with the voice guidance. Now the voice remote, that's a separate piece that you have to order separately. But the voice guidance that's built into everybody's box as long as you have the X one platform.
And the other thing I wanted to mention is I just bypass them all together. I don't even call tech support anymore. Comcast has a number for customers with disabilities and their team there has been phenomenal in helping me with accessibility questions about, if I have some accessibility questions about the set top box. I've also provided them with feedback on what can be improved and those improvements have been made in future updates. So I highly recommend that you have Comcast and you use the voice guidance that you call the number for customers with disabilities instead of getting the run around with the standard tech support.
Ricky Enger: That makes absolutely lot of sense. And we will look that up. And again, show notes are your friend because this way you don't have to remember every single thing that was spoken about during the discussion, but you can look directly at the show notes and get this information that might not have been available live. Let's go next to Michelle Odom. You have a question?
Michelle Odom: Yes, actually I do. My question is, well first of all, does anyone know how to get the show Grey's Anatomy with descriptions? Because I love that show, but it's not described and it drives me nuts. So my Firestick question is does anybody happen to know why the Netflix app invoice view is so much louder than everything else and how to fix it. It really annoys my husband. I'll tell you when he's sleeping and I'm awake and I'm watching TV and the thing stops and it just starts talking insanely loud. We've actually had fights about that.
Ricky Enger: Oh no. So to restore domestic tranquility. Can anyone answer this question about the Netflix app on the Firestick and also Grey's Anatomy. I believe that's described somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Audience, can you help me out?
Speaker 11: For Netflix you may need to go into settings of Netflix and selves in the Firestick and see if audio is part of the settings where you can manipulate the audio volume at your app.
Michelle Odom: I've tried that. There's a fitting of it. I tried and then also I've set the voice view volume to 20% of, it was basically, it's the lowest possible, but still when I go into Netflix it's just ridiculous.
Speaker 11: Then that would be more of a Netflix and you may want to email or call Netflix and let them know that the volume on the Firestick is extreme and hopefully they'll put up an update that will fix that.
Ricky Enger: What's truly weird, I've just gotten mine so maybe I'll play around with it and see if I can reproduce that and find the problem. Luckily I haven't experienced it yet because that would drive me crazy too.
Speaker 11: If you go to ACB.org/eightDP, which I'm sure Rick is going to put up the show not for. If you click on say a network weekly, they will actually show all the shows that are shown the life and your networks and the eastern and Pacific time. So if it's on VC in the aggressor is described, it's going to tell you what times can gonna show up.
Ricky Enger: Oh wow. Okay. That's cool. I don't have local TV or anything anymore because I'm Hulu now and I have Netflix just like she was saying, I have all the ... I cut my cord and so I don't have any access to.
Speaker 11: No, [inaudible 00:56:08] it's on regular network like ABC, NBC and so forth. Just over the air antenna [inaudible 00:56:16] smart TV, you can activate your description as Ricky mentioned on your smart TV on your antenna and then you can still gauge [inaudible 00:56:26] all that way. Yup. So check Hulu. I would wait because like she said she was going a nonstop sometime this year they will start producing audio then.
Michelle Odom: Yeah. I just wondered if Hulu and fam local channels, if there was a way?
Speaker 11: If you have Hulu TV the yes [inaudible 00:56:51] channels depending on the region that you're in.
Michelle Odom: But is there a way to access the-
Speaker 11: Not right now until the [inaudible 00:57:04] the audio description themselves.
Michelle Odom: Okay. Oh, okay. Okay. Okay. Well that's cool.
Speaker 12: Okay. Man that you were asking about the Grey's anatomy, although this may or may not help out with Grey's anatomy, it's going to be hit or miss. But if you use YouTube at all, one of the things that I have stumbled upon inadvertently and it's not meant to be an accessibility thing, but it was just one of those universal design things that has helped me tremendously. I watched the show This Is Us and it's not audio described and there's a lot of visuals that I missed for the first two seasons while in the third season I was looking up stuff on YouTube about it and I stumbled up this, This Is Us Recap and it was about 20 minutes long for each episode. Now if she does a Grey's Anatomy recap, it would be along the same lines. And what I've found in these recaps is every single visual that happened, at least the majority of visuals that happen throughout the show are pointed out and the recaps are usually available probably within 24 to 72 hours after the show airs.
I don't know if you can find one for Grey's Anatomy, but I would look on YouTube, Grey's Anatomy, recap season, whatever episode, whatever we cap. You might want to try that.
Ricky Enger: Yeah, that is a nice way to get access to some things that you might not otherwise. And sometimes there are actually script available for a certain shows more often movies than TV shows. But actually reading through the script can give you a neat idea of all of the visuals and all of the scene blocking that kind of went into producing the thing that you have watched. So many different ways to get access to visuals. I mean, obviously the ideal would be to have audio description, but if you can't, there are ways around that. We're going to unfortunately have to bring this one to a close. And I think that we could have a second discussion on this in the future because as I mentioned at the beginning of the discussion, there are tons of options out there, each of which has its own pros and cons and it can really be overwhelming to try and explore all of them.
If you want to check out the archive of this episode or if you want to get those lovely little show notes that I keep talking about chock full of information that we covered this evening, go to hadley.edu/techitout. You'll be able to download the episode as well as look at the show notes. You can also check out past episodes. One more thing, don't forget that Hadley has additional discussion groups such as the Writers' Circle, the Gardening Group, the Spanish Chat. If you'd like information on these things or anything else that was discussed in tonight's episode, please feel free to contact me. That's Enger, E-N-G-E-R at hadley.edu again, my name is Ricky Enger and I thank you so much for joining me tonight.