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Amazon’s latest Fire TV feature is designed to assist the visually impaired

If you have problems with your eyesight and struggle to watch a lot of TV, Amazon’s latest update to its Fire TV platform could help resolve those issues.

Amazon has announced Text Banner for its Fire TV platform. It’s an assistive technology designed for those with visual impairments and narrow field of vision, including conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.

Text Banner works by consolidating the onscreen text of a selected item/icon into a compact, rectangular banner that appears in a fixed location on the screen.

The entire Fire TV user interface, Prime Video and all apps on Fire TV work with Text Banner, which Amazon says makes “it easier for these customers to enjoy movies, videos”. Users can customise the feature by the changing colours as well as the size of the box and the text bu heading to Settings > Accessibility > Text Banner.

Marc Powell, Strategic Accessibility Lead at RNIB, said: “The accessibility of tech is changing the lives of blind and partially sighted people – giving a greater sense of freedom, increasing independence and breaking down barriers to create a more inclusive world.

“Amazon’s move to begin making its Fire TV platform more accessible for people with vision impairment is another powerful message of inclusivity to the industry and we hope to continue seeing accessibility improve as a trend across the technology sector in the years ahead.”

The Text Banner feature is available now. The cheapest available Fire TV Stick costs £44.99. Prime Video costs £7.99/month or you can get it as part of a Prime Membership, which costs £79/year.

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