Study: smart TVs, accessibility of gaming lead videos

According to research by Interpret, smart TV makers and gaming companies have been among the most aggressive in entertainment to bring new accessibility features to market. While innovations related to visual impairments have been among the most numerous, new hearing and physical/mobility abilities have also emerged. Improvements for cognitive or invisible disabilities currently lag behind other areas.

Along with a rise in entertainment consumption fueled by the pandemic, the spotlight is increasingly on DEI and the recognition of communities with disabilities – highlighted recently by the Best Picture winning film CODA. With over a billion people worldwide living with some form of disability, according to the World Health Organization, accessibility in entertainment is an area of ​​the market that is gaining increasing attention.

Interpret the study, Accessibility Innovations, examines visual, auditory, physical and cognitive/invisible disability innovations that have emerged over the past year in video entertainment companies. While several companies include accessibility in their research and development roadmaps, smart TV manufacturers and game companies in particular have come up with a variety of features to make the entertainment experience available and easier to enjoy by all individuals, regardless of their specific needs. These include voice commands, AI/machine learning, adaptive remotes and controllers, color blindness settings, informative user interface, ASL-based navigation, and more.

Major global technology and consumer electronics companies (Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft, Google) are adopting the highest global accessibility standards of different product categories to avoid having inconsistent standards between products/ markets. In contrast, smaller players in the gaming/video game ecosystem with limited product offerings, or with a single targeted market, often lag behind in their accessibility offerings – typically barely meeting minimum legal or regulatory thresholds.

While accessibility in entertainment remains a work in progress, Interpret’s research identified several emerging trends that could guide future innovations.

  • Interoperability will be essential as a wider range of tools and devices come to market; this will provide an opportunity to introduce more cloud-based elements into specific accessibility tools – allowing personal preferences, data, settings, etc. to be more portable across devices and locations.
  • AI/machine learning will lead to even greater personalization – an increasing number of smart devices in the TV ecosystem means more user datasets are being captured and made available to help specific devices to learn and adapt to changing consumer needs.
  • As video entertainment becomes more and more interactive, companies in the video ecosystem can look to gaming for inspiration – on accessible interfaces, controls and experiences.
  • Attention to accessibility and inclusion will continue to increase, particularly as markets become saturated with subscription services and increasingly competitive. As more content producers build their own DTC (direct-to-consumer) distribution ecosystems and interfaces, there will be opportunities to provide value-added and differentiating accessibility options.

“While innovation often happens behind the scenes, it’s in smart TVs and games where we’re currently seeing that R&D translate into real-world functionality,” said Brett Sappington, vice president of Interpret. “There is no single solution to providing greater accessibility to video entertainment. However, what we have observed so far is that more and more companies are taking advantage of existing innovations in smart devices, AI, voice recognition and game consoles, and applying them to initiatives. of accessibility. As major technology companies now look to bring more wearables, headphones and smart glasses to market, we expect innovations in these product categories to also positively influence accessibility in video entertainment.

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