[community] Bluetooth DV track?
charlessilverman at me.com
Fri Aug 16 19:23:29 UTC 2019
Hi John and David,
Strange that there’s been very little discussion about the limitations of home entertainment devices when it comes to watching descriptive video content. Sadly, today’s home equipment is not designed to output more than one audio selection from a video at the same time. This includes DVD players, Blue-ray players, OTA (over the air) TV, cable TV, satellite TV, along with smartphones, tablets, and computers. Digital video streaming services like iTunes and Netflix that support DV, are designed to only output a single stream at a time.
It’s either the main audio for everyone, or the description track* for everyone.
On the other hand, movie theatres that have the right digital screening equipment are able to provide descriptive video over wireless headphones while the rest of the audience listens to the main audio track.
One interesting, albeit unwieldy, low tech workaround, would be to use to two playback devices. TVs getting real time signal from over-the-air, cable, and satellite services might work well. You could use one set to access the audio description track, plugging a headset so that you’re the only one receiving the descriptions. The other TV would provide the main audio and video for everyone else.
For physical media (DVD, etc) and internet streaming, the above solution may be hit-or-miss due to a syncing problem.
For example, you could employ two DVD players, setting one player to the audio description track, and the other player to the main audio track. You'll need to simultaneously (or nearly so) press the play buttons of both players. It may take several tries to get it right (or not). If you get that far, you may have to forgo attempting to simultaneously press the pause buttons of each device for the duration of the video, e.g., no food and bathroom runs :) .
Web streaming services like Netflix are another possibility, but in addition to getting the syncing right, internet bandwidth issues could make synchronizing impossible. If this could actually would, the potential useful part is that your smartphone could serve as the audio description device.
I’m not recommending “human syncing”, but it could be an interesting experiment. I actually did something similar in the captioning realm with Netflix’s uncaptioned second season of Torchwood where I was able to download subtitles to these episodes from a large web repository of subtitles. Using Quicktime 7 and CapScribe, a caption editor, I was able to create a Quicktime movie from just the captions. The final step was to to manually sync the show with the caption video. For caption viewing I used an iPad just under the video. It’s obviously not a very practical solution and it is time consuming. Fortunately Netflix and iTunes have come a long way and most of their content is captioned today (with descriptions catching up).
David … good idea reaching out to AMI. It would be also worth talking with the NCAM <https://www.wgbh.org/foundation/what-we-do/ncam> folks (NCAM is National Centre for Accessible Media, part of PBS’ Boston flagship station, WGBH). NCAM was the group that initially brought descriptive video to television (DVS) and movie theatres (MoPix).
> On Aug 15, 2019, at 11:41 AM, David Berman <berman at davidberman.com> wrote:
> Hi John,
> That makes perfect sense.
> To put a finer point on it,
> I think you want two things happening at once:
> 1 of 2: audio description user (e.g., John) hears the typical track + the
> audio description track on bluetooth headset, while...
> 2 of 2: typical users (e.g., rest of John's family) hears the typical track
> only, via the loudspeakers.
> I am not aware if this has been done, however I'm thinking our friends at
> AMI should know (and/or can "make it so").
> Would you like me to query them on it?
> On Wed, 14 Aug 2019 at 21:04, John Willis <pickupwillis at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi everyone, I’ve had this question on my mind for some time and thought
>> you might know the answer – has anyone yet invented away for the described
>> video from movies and television to be encapsulated it up Bluetooth stream?
>> So that the rest of my family did not listen to it?
>> As a blind watcher, this seems very obvious to me, but surely others have
>> come up with this idea – has anyone created it?
>> And if it already exists, any thoughts on why it’s not easily available
>> through standard smart TVs, and streaming services?
>> John D. Willis
>> Design & innovation in Public Services
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