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Re: Audio formats

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 21:24:32 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200302182124.h1ILOWx06244@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> I'm not sure what you have in mind, but plenty of people enjoy 
> listening to the radio, via the internet, and this must include the 

In most cases, providing the unedited audio is the cheap option for
these stations, and it is producing the transcript that is expensive.++
For most businesses, producing audio of acceptable standard is 
expensive, because it normally requires that they hire an actor or
professional radio presenter to do the recording, and possibly the
services of a recording studio.  These are capital expenditure items,
so require business cases and high level approval.  Using an amateur
recording on an otherwise glossy web site would not be considered
acceptable, even for a minority audience.

In the commercial world, in the absence of legislation, if you spend
more on one feature, you spend less on others.

> visually impaired.
> presumably some stations write their content for the deaf community. 
> Would you prefer your news read by a newscaster you know or a machine?

In most cases, the ability to navigate the audio from an internet
radio station would be considered commercially undesirable, for reasons
that are a long way from the ideals of the internet.  I think that is
one of the reasons why streaming audio is so much preferred, even for
audio on demand material.

If you look at the documentation for Microsoft Media Server, you will
discover what the product is really about is the delivery of commercial
breaks, not the entertainment content.  I was trying to watch a
foreign TV station that had inband subtitles (their language), and I
wondered if it was possible for them to tweak the video encoder to give
priority to the subtitles, but that sort of thing is just not what Media
Server is about.  Of course, even if the tools existed, their priorities
might not allow for paying someone to hint the encoding.

> Our students undoubtedly prefer recorded audio at the present time, as 
> do children.

I suspect that is when they are using it for entertainment, not when
seeking information.   At least in the original web concept, such material
is a leaf resource, and it is the pages used to get to it that require
the real accessibility features.

For a commercial developer, even continuous speech recording is expensive,
but the short segments, needed to construct a navigations structure,
are even more difficult to do well and not sound like an automated
attendant at a call centre.

For charities and public services, bandwidth tends to be the expensive
item for speech.

Incidentally, coming back to the real reasons for internet radio (the BBC
is probably strange in this respect) it's generally reccommended that
one use music recordings for the elderly with congnitive disabilities,
because the commercial breaks, on live radio, confuse them; how well do
your clients cope with commercials?

++ Transcripts of broadcasts are useful for language learners, as well
as the deaf and those accessing from their office, where there are no
sound cards and the firewall blocks the streaming audio.
Received on Tuesday, 18 February 2003 16:24:41 GMT

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