People with hearing impairments to benefit from set-top box for accessible live TV content

Making the lives of people with hearing impairments free of barriers

This is why the Munich-based company VerbaVoice has been founded and provides sign language interpretation and subtitling services for education, customer service and public events. VerbaVoice makes use of IP-based streaming technology, internet platforms and a mobile app.

By translating live TV content via subtitles and sign language, VerbaVoice now aims to open up another area of life for the more than one million people with hearing impairments living in Germany. To date, only a few channels provide individual content with subtitles via DVB, Teletext or HbbTV. The inclusion of an additional video stream for a sign language interpreter via HbbTV is not possible on today’s conventional television sets. This is why VerbaVoice worked on a technical solution to display translation content (subtitles and sign language video) on the television alongside the live TV picture without requiring the broadcaster’s involvement and decided to use a set-top box for this purpose.

Our solution

TARA Systems is proud to be able to deliver a turnkey solution:

The Software

The basic functionality to receive DVB-C content has been mapped using TARA Systems’ Inaris DVB/IPTV Middleware. To display a subtitle or a sign language image over the TV picture we used our Inaris HbbTV Solution. Since the current HbbTV standard does not presently support multiple video objects, we have expanded the HbbTV solution so that a second video decoder can be used. The second video can now be displayed in any size desired and in any position on top of the TV picture. The box is now in a position to run an HbbTV application provided by VerbaVoice and transmitted via HTTP, regardless of the HbbTV application transmitted by the TV broadcaster.
When developing this solution, we were able to benefit from the knowledge gained during the EU-funded research project HBB-NEXT that we recently completed and which resulted in a similar prototype application.

The Set-Top Box

The C2821 set-top box by KATHREIN TechnoTrend serves as the hardware for this solution. The box has two video decoders, the key technical requirement for this application. Cooperation with KATHREIN TechnoTrend was obvious since Inaris is already being used in the boxes of our long-standing partner, thus avoiding an expensive platform-specific adaptation.

The result: "This box will revolutionise the TV subtitling market"

VerbaVoice will introduce the product in the market early next year. This will allow VerbaVoice to deliver its translation services directly to end customers with hearing impairments without the broadcaster having to add this service to its already extensive workflow.

Apart from that, this box opens up the market for translating television content and will thus enhance the offerings for the hearing-impaired community much faster.

"We were lucky to have the opportunity to work with TARA Systems. The communication took place on an equal footing." Robin Ribback, CIO of VerbaVoice, said that the proximity of the two companies has had a positive impact on their communication and collaboration.

"TARA Systems is the only technology provider that has really been able to understand our requirements. They have built a bridge between the needs of our special group of customers and the hardware and software we need."

For more information about this project, read the article "Barrierefreie Medienwelt – ein politisches Erfordernis", published in FKT 01/2015.

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