The Ofcom EPG Code sets out that Electronic Programme Guides should feature magnification, high contrast displays, filtering or highlighting and text–to–speech functionality.
Freesat was found to only offer one accessibility function on some devices: symbols that show the availability of access services in the TV guide. Text-to-speech and magnification were not available on its set-top-boxes. Meanwhile, high contrast displays were only available on its newest, 4K receivers.
Freesat’s new owner, Everyone TV, has been told to improve its service in time for Ofcom’s next annual review. Everyone TV says it intends to rollout magnification, filtering of accessible content and high contrast displays across the latest Freesat boxes.
In the longer term, satellite viewers could gain access to something similar to Freeview’s Accessible TV Guide.
Freeview offers the full set of accessibility options required by Ofcom through its Accessible Guide, on channel 555. 98% of Freeview Play devices now support the full Accessible TV Guide. Older Freeview devices aren’t covered by Ofcom’s requirements. Many of these can no longer be updated. Viewers upgrading their TV or box to a newer device will benefit from the improved accessibility options.
Virgin Media passed Ofcom’s test with full availability of accessibility features on its current device range (360 and Stream boxes).
Sky says it is still developing options to provide magnification. The company was found to only offer three of the four features expected by Ofcom in its current device range.
YouView continues to fall short – Ofcom says it expects YouView to develop accessibility features in any future product development.