The regulator’s latest report on how accessible Electronic Programme Guides (EPG) are finds that some platform operators are lagging behind.
Ofcom is pushing platform operators to make their guides easier to access, with extra features including filtering, magnification, text-to-speech and high-contrast menus.
Among the innovations being prepared by platform operators, Ofcom noted the work being undertaken by Digital UK, which is the organisation behind the Freeview digital terrestrial TV platform, in preparing an accessible TV guide on Freeview channel 555, due later this year. It will be available on all Freeview Play devices and was developed in consultation with RNIB. Ofcom also noted the work being done by Freesat and Sky, including the recent inclusion of a high-contrast display on all latest generation Freesat receivers.
However, Ofcom noted that BT and offshoot EE were not able to report any cooperation with RNIB or any other charities or user groups in the development of their accessibility features. It also felt BT was lagging behind with introducing highlighting and filtering features across the board, and “expected [BT] to make this a priority in the near future”.
As with many new features, some accessibility enhancements will only be available on newer devices. Virgin Media has promised enhancements to its EPG as part of its new Horizon platform in the “second half of 2021”.