Tuesday, 29 May 2012

(Deaf) things are getting better (?)


This week is going to be super busy in my day job trying to fit everything in before the long Jubilee weekend...

Four days break. Hurrah!

I'm writing this from a sweltering hot bus. It's 7.30am. And the fact that it's sweltering can only be a good thing in my book.

You see this poor weather is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't at the moment. We need rain, we get a whole month of it and everyone moans. We wish for sunshine and soaring temperatures. We get it and everyone moans.

I kind of think we should search for the positives in the situation such as: I've worn more summer clothes in the past few weeks than I did the whole of last summer.

But that's quite enough about the weather. This morning I want to talk about on-demand TV via iPhones.

The amazing BBC iPlayer offers subtitles on its iPhone app so that even from the comfort of my bed, at times of complete insomnia I can watch a bit of TV and understand what's going on.

So last night I thought I'd download the other channels' apps: ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. I was hopeful they too would offer this accessible service. After all, if one can do it, why can't the others?

But it seems the others can't. I searched high and low for a subtitles setting, I checked every crevice of each app and all appeared to have none.

It was very disappointing to delete each app less than 5 minutes after downloading.

But what it made me realise is that recently I've stopped demanding answers for things like this. I've taken a bit of a back seat. Gone are the days of shouting at the BBC for its shocking subtitle efforts – to be fair I rarely need to anymore – and I haven't fired off a stroppy enquiring email for an age.

What's happened?

Well, in all honesty, I got busy. But I also think things have improved quite considerably in the three years I've been moaning/blogging.

For example, not even the computer iPlayer had subtitles back then, there were hardly any subtitled plays and it was a miracle to discover a transcript of an audio guide at museums and galleries.

Nowadays it's as though all that moaning, not just from me but from other brilliant people demanding better deaf services has worked.

So what's your favourite technological improvement as a deaf or hard of hearing person? Do you have a favourite app you can't live without? And what still has room for improvement?

For me, subtitled iPlayer rates pretty high. That, my iPhone lyrics app and being able to see King Lear with subtitles at the Donmar Warehouse. Things I'd like more of are regular subtitled films in the evenings not just at 2.30 on a Tuesday afternoon.

Let me know what you think...

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