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ECOWAS digital switch caters for disabled

26 September 2013, 12:29Henry Ifeanyi

Dubai - West African countries have adopted a specifications that will enable the deaf and blind members of the community to watch television after the migration to digital broadcasting.

Edmund Fianko, Secretary to Ghana's Digital Migration Committee, revealed the development during the just-ended Digital Dialogue in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Fianko, who is a key technical expert in the development of a harmonized minimum for digital terrestrial receivers in the Economic Community of West African States, said the region had mandated all top-box to be used in the region must have capacity for audio description and subtitles.

The audio description specification according to him, will enable a blind person to watch while the compulsory subtitle capacity for all set up boxes in the region will enable deaf viewers to watch television.

"West African countries have mandated that every manufacturer of set-up boxes to be used in the area must include audio description and subtitle description. This is the standard that the region has set and every manufacturer must abide by it," he said.

Fianko explained how the audio description set-up box capability would works.

"An audio description makes it possible for blind persons to watch television because there is description of the action. The audio description channel is broadcast along with the primary audio and when this is turned on to a blind person, they will be able to get the description of the action going on. Whether it is a programme or movie, the blind person will be able to watch and understand like every other person."

Fainko said the subtitle requirement would enable the deaf watch programmes since all words spoken would be transcribed on the screen.

Other specifications for digital television include DVB-T2 digital TV technology, special characters support for local language, programme order and service information.

The International Telecommunications Union has set June 2015 as the deadline to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting.

- CAJ News


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