When it comes to accessibility features and cutting-edge technologies, Samsung has always been eager to combine the two. And it’s now raising the accessibility bar for consumer electronics once again. This time around, the focus is on smart television sets, as Samsung’s 2021 TVs will offer a range of features meant to make the user experience more intuitive for people with hearing or vision impairment.
This effort, dubbed ‘Screens for All’, lately contributed to the company’s impressive innovation award haul at this year’s CES. The new functionalities range from alternative viewing modes for the color-blind to expanded audio descriptions of movie scenes and the like.
What’s new for smart TV accessibility in 2021?
Holding down the mute button on your Samsung TV remote for longer than two seconds will take you to a menu allowing for granular controls over local accessibility options. This menu will always feature a Voice Guide, though the built-in narrator will otherwise have to be enabled under accessibility settings. Once activated, this functionality will have the TV inform you of the exact channel and volume level whenever you switch channels or turn on a compatible TV.
Another unique capability of newer Samsung TVs is an app designed for practicing using the remote. It offers audio feedback informing you of the purpose of whatever button you pressed last. The blind and visually impaired will consequently be able to familiarize themselves with the remote more quickly.
Many of the aforementioned accessibility features have been developed in direct cooperation with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, a British nonprofit. The RNIB has been collaborating with Samsung since 2013, and the fruits of those accessibility efforts will be made available globally. Prior to that, Samsung became the first TV manufacturer to receive the RNIB’s ‘Tried and Tested Accreditation’ back in 2020.