According to the U.S. Census, approximately one-third of American households have a member who has a disability. Comcast is committed to making our products accessible to the widest possible audience, using innovation to further enrich the experience for all users.
The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games were a prime example of Comcast’s mission to make entertainment more inclusive. This year, for the first time, the Paralympic broadcasts’ included video description. In addition, the Xfinity X1 voice remote, talking guide and closed captioning helped viewers access the 94 hours of Paralympics coverage, the most ever for a Paralympic Winter Games.
Based on recent research, we know these assistive technologies are life-changing but low levels of awareness leave many without the benefit of their help.
To celebrate the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, and to create awareness around our accessibility features, Comcast partnered with the New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center (TBBC) for a special event showcasing the latest innovations in entertainment accessibility. Based in Trenton, N.J., TBBC is a library that provides no-cost, home-delivered services on behalf of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress, to children, teens and adults in New Jersey who have difficulty reading standard print or trouble holding a book.
“Comcast was thrilled to partner with TBBC for this special event to demonstrate our accessibility features for their patrons as well as the TBBC staff and our community and nonprofit partners,” said Kimberly Smith, regional director, Community Impact, Comcast Freedom Region. “We’re proud of our on-going relationship with TBBC including the support we’ve provided through the Comcast Foundation to fund their Assistive Technology Lab and Outspoken Library Program. These programs, similar to Xfinity’s accessibility features, aim to make life more accessible for those with visual impairments.”
A highlight of the event was a live demonstration from Comcast’s Vice President of Accessibility Tom Wlodkowski. Blind himself since birth, Wlodkowski, with the X1 voice remote in hand, took attendees through the full suite of Comcast’s accessibility features. Some highlights of that demonstration included:
- Customers can say “accessibility” into the X1 voice remote or tap the “B” key to get to a menu with all of X1’s accessibility options.
- Customers can quickly jump into specific features by saying “captions,” “descriptions,” “SAP,” “voice guidance” or “shows with description” to find any programs that are described.
- Customers can easily launch the talking TV guide – the industry’s first – that reads aloud program titles, network names and DVR and On Demand menus for people with visual disabilities.
“The New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center was pleased to host this event with Comcast for our patrons. In his role, Tom Wlodkowski is instrumental in leading Comcast’s efforts in voice guidance accessibility, especially as it relates to entertainment. Our patrons were very eager to learn about the latest in accessibility technology from Tom himself,” said Adam Szczepaniak, Director, TBBC.
Attendees were also glad to learn that Comcast has a dedicated support team of agents specially trained on all things related to Comcast accessibility. The Accessibility Center of Excellence team has expertise in the areas that are especially important to people with disabilities, such as closed-captioning, video description, accessible billing services and operating web and mobile interfaces with screen reader software.
Anyone interested in learning more about Comcast’s accessibility offerings can contact the company’s dedicated accessibility team using the below contact information:
Or, visit Xfinity.com/accessibility for more information.
Xfinity customers who rely on accessibility features can reach our Support Center for Customers with Disabilities from 8 AM to 12 AM (Eastern Time), seven days a week.
More photos from the event:
At the conclusion of the event, the Comcast team was elated to gift TBBC with this television that they can use for events and services for their patrons. Pictured, L-R: Ander Ameztoy, product marketing specialist, Comcast Freedom Region; Tom Wlodkowski, Vice President of Accessibility, Comcast; Kim Smith, Regional Director, Community Impact, Comcast Freedom Region; Alexandra Wachman, Public Relations Manager, Comcast Freedom Region; Adam, Director, TBBC.
Ander Ameztoy, product marketing specialist, Comcast Freedom Region, kicked off the event with a demonstration and overview of Xfinity’s accessibility features.
TBBC patrons came prepared with some great questions for Tom!
TBBC patrons getting a feel for the X1 voice remote following the demonstration.