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iPlayer round-up - audio description trial coming soon

  • By Paul Crichton
  • 1 Nov 07, 01:29 PM

More news on the BBC’s iPlayer front. If you don’t know by now – where have you been? – then the iPlayer is the website and media player you’ll need to take advantage of their seven day catch up service.

Firstly, the hot-off-the-press news concerns audio description for TV programmes. Audio description is an extra narrative voice added to a show to help explain on-screen action for visually impaired viewers. There has been plenty of demand for audio described content, and the good news is that a trial will be launched soon - maybe even this year.

This trial won’t initially take place in the iPlayer. Selected programmes will be audio described and delivered directly from the BBC website. Users will be invited to give feedback on the trial, so there is a good opportunity to get involved and help create the audio description service that you want. Once the testing phase is completed, then audio described content will begin to be integrated into the iPlayer.

Elsewhere, there is news of one or two gremlins in the system that the BBC Future Media and Technology Accessibility Team are feverishly trying to resolve.

There is an issue with displaying subtitles on the “stand alone” version of media players. As we’ve noted before, they work fine on the small screen, and, if your player is correctly set-up (see this iPlayer FAQ if you need help with this) it works fine on the “full screen” version as well. Our advice then is simple – avoid the “stand alone” media player for the time being.

The final glitch that the team are working on is that some programmes are being incorrectly marked as having subtitles when in fact the show doesn’t have them. Now that is potentially annoying. One way around it is to check in the Download Manager during the download process. If a programme does indeed have subtitles, then it will be confirmed here. The issue stems from a problem with the meta data – or information about programmes to you and me - and The Future Media and Technology Accessibility Team are confident of clearing this issue up soon.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:57 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Heres a question for you...Why do we need BBC i-player when Sky + and PVR's are already available?

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