Tech boost for colour blind TV watchers

Eyeteq video enhancement technology enhances the contrast of colours on screen, enabling colour blind and non-colour blind people to enjoy viewing programmes on the same screen

14 Oct 2015 by Ryan O'Hare

A new technology could improve the television viewing experience for people who are colour blind, following the positive results of a recent trial.

The Eyeteq video enhancement technology, from University of East Anglia spin out company Spectral Edge, works by enhancing the contrast of colours on screen.

The technology moves away from traditional ‘daltonization’ of images, where hard to distinguish colours are substituted for others which a colour blind person can see more clearly. Instead, it remaps colours to maximise definition, minimising the strength of the effect for non-colour blind people.  

Spectral Edge reports that in a trial of 90 people, 60 of whom had some form of colour blindness (including 40 deuteranopes), 93% of participants found watching processed videos “perfectly acceptable,” enabling colour blind and non-colour blind viewers to watch content together on the same screen.

The manufacturers say the results highlight the “considerable opportunities” that the technology offers for broadcasters.

“For too long colour-blind viewers have found it difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy watching their favourite television programmes,” said Christopher Cytera, managing director of Spectral Edge.  

Mr Cytera added: “As this new independent research demonstrates, Eyetech not only transforms their viewing experience, but does so in a way that can be adjusted to their particular needs – without impacting the acceptability of content to ‘colour-normals.’

“This opens up a major new opportunity for pay TV operators, enabling them to differentiate themselves and increase revenues by providing Eyeteq to their subscribers.”

Spectral Edge has successfully integrated the technology into a chip for a set top box which is available for license on a fixed fee, annual subscription basis.

However, while the technology may improve the image quality, it will have no control over the quality of the programmes.

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