Reviewed

Thanks to the FCC, TVs are getting easier to use by visually impaired people

It's time we get serious about accessibility

Credit: Philips

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A little-known regulation went into effect in December of last year requiring companies that make TVs, cable boxes, and other video equipment to include enhanced accessibility for the blind and visually impaired. The new rules apply to devices manufactured after the December cut-off date, and we're seeing that with some manufacturers' 2017 lineups. For instance, today Philips announced upgrades to its 2017 TV and disc-player lineup to grant additional accessibility to the visually impaired, via new menu and playback options.

Here at Reviewed, we test out some pretty cool things. From budget TVs like the Vizio D Series to pricier TVs with stunning OLED displays, we cover a wide variety of products. Though price and picture quality are important, rarely do we talk about enhanced accessibility. Thanks to new requirements from the Federal Communications Commission, TVs are about to get a lot more accessible for visually impaired viewers.

Philips looks to be one of the first manufacturers to make a TV that has built-in features for visually impaired individuals. The built-in feature set, dubbed Enhanced Accessibility, includes an easy-to-read user interface, guide dots on remote controls, a voice to guide you through the menu, easy access to closed captioning/subtitles, secondary audio, and large format support. Additionally, the special remote feature let you control the power, volume, channel selection, input selection, playback functions, and more.

The entire lineup of 2017 Philips TVs are now Enhanced Accessibility enabled.