Digital TV and Set-Top Box Access
Resolution 2014-16
Whereas, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act clearly requires that set-top boxes become accessible to people with disabilities; and
Whereas, regulations indicate that in 2015 and 2016, companies producing set-top boxes must build accessibility into their products; and
Whereas, Comcast has demonstrated such components as channel guides, the ability to turn audio description on and off, and a range of other controls that are accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or who have low vision; and
Whereas, Comcast should be commended not only for its actual progress but for its efforts to reach out to the community of persons who are blind or have low vision both for ideas and testing; and
Whereas, virtually none of the other companies delivering digital television signals to the U.S. market appear to be involving our community in any initiatives to be ready to comply with the law;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 18th day of July, 2014, at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, that this organization express its extreme displeasure at the degree to which evidence suggests that the industry will not be ready to meet its obligation under the law; and
Be it further resolved that this organization affirm the following principles:

  1.  Access to television can only be achieved if all modes of signal delivery and throughput are accessible including, but not limited to, signals delivered by broadcast, cable and satellite, and those originating on the Internet.
  2.  Individuals who are blind or who have low vision should be able to access all components of systems with the same ease and at the same speed as is available to persons who have no need for accessible set-top boxes.
  3.  Standards are to be developed that will clearly define the expectations that providers must meet; and

Be it further resolved that ACB make its concerns known in writing to those companies which have heretofore demonstrated commitment or progress toward compliance with the law.
Ray Campbell, Secretary