Freeview Accessible Guide confirmed for mid-2020

An image showing the Freeview Accessible Guide.

Freeview has confirmed it will be launching an Accessible Electronic Programme Guide on channel 555 next year.

Following a consultation this year, Freeview has confirmed that from the end of May 2020, channel 555 will be reserved for the new service, which endeavours to provide users with special needs with improved access to the Freeview service.

The accessible TV guide will work on all Freeview Play devices and include the following features:
  • Text will be rendered to speech, to make it easier for people with visual impairments to use
  • Programmes with Subtitles / Audio Description / Signing will be filtered, to make them easier to find
  • The size of the text will be increased, to make it easier to read
  • The display will have a high contrast ratio.

The majority of respondents to the consultation approved of the use of channel 555. YouView, which shares the same channel list, objected, as channel 555 is within a range of channel numbers (300-599) reserved for IP services such as its own.  As a result, Zee TV's channel number allocation on TalkTalk TV, which uses YouView, will need to change by the end of May - although Zee TV is planning to move to an online service.

Channel 555 was favoured because of its central position on the remote control, generally with a raised dot to help visually impaired users to identify it.