Online TV Streaming May Have Just Started Sucking A Little Less For Blind People

One of the main reasons I don’t watch much if any television legally online is because quite simply, the video players are mostly shit. If the screenreader can see buttons at all, they’re either not labeled and are therefore useless or don’t actually do anything when pressed, so are therefore useless. That reality makes this bit of news extra good, especially if the mainstream broadcasters take AMI up on its offer.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today the launch of the AMI-player, the first fully accessible online media player in North America. Available exclusively on AMI.ca, the AMI-player provides an accessible broadcast experience and allows audience members to access AMI-tv original content in an on demand format.
“We are delighted to launch the AMI-player and ultimately help further our mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians,” says David Errington, President and CEO of AMI. “More and more, people are turning to on demand formats as a preferred method of consuming television content. Our audience is no exception and delivering this experience in an accessible format is paramount.”
The AMI-player is built to be structurally accessible and designed to function with a variety of assistive technologies. The player controls can be read aloud with additional methods to interact with the video including a separate fast forward and rewind button, a feature that is not commonly included in media players. The AMI-player provides content created for broadcast that includes open described video, eliminating the need for a separate audio track, and optional closed captioning and transcript features. 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.
“Much research, combined with user testing, was conducted in order to understand the requirements needed to provide a fully accessible media player experience,” continues Errington. “Our team has been developing the player over the course of a year and a half, and we look forward to continuing to work on initiatives to expand media accessibility for our audience.”
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 thePlatform’s Player Development Kit. Simply Accessible also assisted in validating all accessibility features and 2toLead helped integrate the solution to AMI’s website.

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