Talking set-top boxes go on sale, could be used in digital TV switchover

Vision impaired users now able to purchase talking set-top boxes in Australia

The Bush 'talking' set-top box, now commercially available for $199.

The Bush 'talking' set-top box, now commercially available for $199.

Long-awaited talking digital TV set-top boxes have finally been made available for sale in Australia, after a lengthy testing and trial period. The boxes are not yet confirmed as part of the Australian Government's Household Assistance Scheme for the digital TV switchover, but their newfound commercial availability brings them closer to inclusion in a subsidised roll-out.

Talking set-top boxes from Bush Australia and Hills Industries were trialed by vision impaired and disabled users as part of the Digital Switchover Taskforce's testing period, and the Bush talking set top box is now available for purchase in the Vision Australia online store for $199. Vision Australia and Media Access Australia were involved in the testing of talking set-top box products in Australia, which have been available in the UK since mid-2010.

Senator Stephen Conroy, the government's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, announced the availability of the set-top boxes in an online press release today: “For the first time in Australia, vision impaired people will be able to enjoy significantly enhanced benefits of digital television. This kind of technology has been developed in other countries, however, no talking set-top box was available in the Australian market until now.”

If the talking set-top boxes are approved for use in the digital TV switchover, they will likely be included in the regional Queensland switchover taking place before the end of 2011, as well as subsequent roll-outs. Regional Victorians have already been involed in the talking set top boxes' trials: “The talking set-top box trial was designed to test this innovative technology with vision impaired Victorians,” said Conroy. “I am delighted to see this initiative result in the commercial release of a talking set-top box to the broader Australian community.”

Australia's hearing impaired citizens are also being assisted during the digital TV transition, with a series of AUSLAN videos explaining the procedure. Over 50,000 digital set top boxes have been installed as part of the government-subsidised digital TV switchover process. According to the DBCDE release, 82 per cent of Australian households have already converted from analog to digital TV.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags digital tv switchover

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

Good Gear Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?