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Robert Pearson

  Accessible Media

11/03/2014

Accessible Media Player Online for Next-Gen TV Viewing: The AMI-player

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On October 30, 2014, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) launched the AMI-player, providing an accessible broadcast experience for their Original Programming content.
 
AMI-player offers a new means by which broadcast content can become available online and in an accessible format Image: AMI-player offers a new means by which broadcast content can become available online and in an accessible format.

Television continues to evolve. The era of an entire generation of viewers sitting in front of their screens, in the living room, is slowly but surely phasing out. Kids will watch their Saturday morning cartoons on a tablet while curled up in bed, on the breakfast table and even while they are mobile (from the backseats of cars). The commuter will catch the morning news on their phone, on their way to work via taxi, bus or train. The senior citizen will catch-up on movies through online streaming services such as Netflix.

However, as those seniors continue to age their vision may be declining. This is when they may need to draw upon accessible media services such as captioning and video (audio) description and even signing to enjoy content. Once upon a time it was a somewhat straightforward process to utilize these services through a television set. However, with television now extensively available over the web, services such as captioning are minimally available and with intermittent quality. Audio Description has for the most part been absent.

On October 30, 2014, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) launched the AMI-player, providing an accessible broadcast experience for our Original Programming. The player offers full captioning and open audio description for all our content. With a structurally accessible compliant interface designed to function with assistive technologies and to be usable by persons with disabilities, the AMI-player offers a new means by which broadcast content can become available online and in an accessible format.

Recognizing the achievements in this field that the BBC iPlayer pioneered, AMI has the benefit of utilizing an open description format, there by only having to provide one mixed audio feed of the main soundtrack along with embedded description, a technique pioneered by AMI. Popular AMI-tv programs, including Sports Access, Four Senses and Canada in Perspective will be available through the player for the audience to watch at their convenience.

The back-end of the player is based on standard broadcasting systems and is designed for specific use by broadcasters to display content. While the AMI-player will be offered free-to-use to other broadcasters, it will not be made available publicly and will not function on any other platform due to the requirement of having a standard broadcasting back-end.

The AMI-player was developed by Simply Accessible on behalf of AMI using technology from the Platform's Player Development Kit. Simply Accessible also assisted in validating all accessibility features and 2toLead helped integrate the solution to AMI's website. 

To check out the AMI-player or for further information on AMI and its programs and initiatives, please visit www.ami.ca. Any feedback regarding the AMI-player is welcome at info@ami.ca or 1-800-567-6755.

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Related Resources

Blog: Disability as a Driver of Accessibility | Read Robert Pearson's Article.

Publication: Third Party Captioning and Copyright: G3ict Policy White Paper | Download PDF.

Event: EDF Panel Discussion - Web Accessibility at Local and Regional Level - Brussels, Belgium | November 19 - View Event Details.