Emily’s Oz: The Comcast Press Release


Company Partners with Local Disability Groups Across the Country to Introduce New Technology to More People

“Talking Guide” Reads Aloud Channel Names, Show Titles and DVR Commands;
National Commercial Set To Air During Academy Awards

DENVER, CO – February 20, 2015 – Comcast today announced it is partnering with local disability groups across the country – including the Colorado Center for the Blind in Littleton – to bring the company’s new voice guidance technology to more people. The “talking guide” is a feature on the X1 platform that reads aloud selections like program titles, network names and time slots as well as DVR and On Demand settings, giving users the freedom to independently explore and navigate thousands of shows and movies.

This Sunday, Comcast will launch a national campaign during the 2015 Academy Awards called “Emily’s Oz” that is intended to spark an even bigger conversation about how people with disabilities enjoy entertainment.

“We want to create opportunities for people who love film and television, but who might not have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest,” said Tom Wlodkowski, who was hired as Vice President of Audience in 2012 to focus on the usability of the company’s products and services by people with disabilities. “By bringing the talking guide to as many people as possible, we can help to bridge that gap and make entertainment just as compelling, captivating and fun for people with a visual disability as it is for anyone else.”

“We’re very excited about the inclusion of accessibility in the X1 entertainment operating system for Comcast’s blind and visually impaired customers,” said Dan Burke, Public Relations Specialist at Colorado Center for the Blind. “The talking guide means that we can now have the same information and control with menus, settings and programming as anyone else. It makes watching our favorite shows and movies all about the entertainment, rather than about trying to find them.”

Comcast is working with the following organizations and evaluating additional groups within the company’s service area:

  • Colorado Center for the Blind – Littleton, CO
  • Associated Services for the Blind – Philadelphia, PA
  • Carroll Center for the Blind – Newton, MA
  • Inglis– Philadelphia, PA
  • Miami Lighthouse – Miami, FL
  • Overbrook School for the Blind – Philadelphia, PA
  • Perkins School for the Blind – Watertown, MA

“Emily’s Oz” features a seven-year-old girl who was born blind and highlights her description of what she sees when she watches her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz™. Some of Hollywood’s top directors, set designers and make-up artists then went to work to bring her vision to life. The voice over for the commercial is provided by two-time Academy Award winner Robert Redford.

The talking guide is the latest in a series of innovations created in the Comcast Accessibility Lab. In addition to voice guidance and one-touch access to closed captioning, Comcast created an online help and support resource for Xfinity customers looking for information about accessibility-related topics.

About Comcast Cable:

Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings. Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

Media Contacts:
Steven Restivo

Mary Spillane

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