New head-end solution for colour blind viewers

Jets vs Bills NFL playoff game - problems for color blind viewers
Neal Romanek
March 18th 2016 at 11:38AM : By Neal Romanek

Spectral Edge has released a server-based version of its Eyeteq software which allows customised enhancement of images for colour-blind viewers

Great care has been taken to ensure that the blind and the deaf have access to TV content through services like closed captioning and audio description. But the colour-blind and colour-deficient viewers have often been left to fall through the cracks. This is extraordinary, when you consider that 8 percent of men and .5 percent of women have some form of colour vision deficiency (that's 4.5 percent of the population). 

UK company Spectral Edge has been developing image enhancing products since 2014, with an aim to increasing the image information available for individual viewers. Spectra Edge's Eyeteq software, based on the company's Phusion technology, allows colour-deficient viewers to better differentiate between colour combinations they have difficulty seeing, allowing them to view image and video details they previously could not. This is particularly important when watching sports programming, where colour-deficient viewers can struggle to tell teams apart or even find that they merge into the pitch itself. The software can deliver strong enhancement for those with colour vision deficiency with relatively little impact on the picture seen by those with full colour vision.

Yesterday the company launched a server-based version of its Eyeteq technology, which allows operators to automatically process content at the head-end and then stream Eyeteq-enhanced video to subscribers in real-time vie existing set top boxes or portable devices. With image enhancement taking place within the operator’s infrastructure, Eyeteq Server will enable multiscreen content delivery and remove the need to update or replace consumer hardware. 

The company already produces a client-side version of the software which can reside on a set top box.

Eyeteq Server runs on the operator’s encoder within its Content Delivery Network, delivering enhanced video through a separate IP channel, meaning there is no processing required on the client device. End users select Eyeteq-enabled on the accessibility menu, choose a setting that fits their needs, and will automatically receive enhanced content to their set-top box or device.

At this week's Connected TV World Summit in London, Spectral Fusion demoed Eyeteq by enhancing an NFL playoff game between the New York Jets (who play in green) versus the Buffalo Bills (in red), which had been notoriously difficult for colour-blind fans to follow. 

Spectral Edge demo

“Having already proved Eyeteq’s ability to transform the viewing experience for those with colour-blindness, extending our technology to the server provides operators with a choice of implementation methods, and makes multiscreen support seamless for consumers and providers,” said Christopher Cytera, managing director, Spectral Edge. “Operators can now easily deliver more accessible content to the 4% of the world’s population that suffers from colour-vision deficiency by making use of the existing user base of consumer premises equipment. This will enable them to roll out this new accessibility feature quickly and at low cost, making the service more inclusive for audiences.”

Spectral Edge was formed from the Colour and Vision Group of the School of Computing Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. The Group conducts research in computational colour constancy, physics based vision, image reproduction, image indexing, colour science and computer vision.