Audio Descriptions for iOS, What is it?

At around the same time we decided to sell tracks in our store and began unbundling TV shows, we decided that such a big change would require us to rethink how we delivered our content to customers. The current model of manually syncing content, utilizing cues in the movie’s audio, was based upon practices developed by the group behind Rifftrax. While this distribution model works well for stand-alone players, it doesn’t take advantage of the capabilities offered by increasingly popular technologies, such as mobile phones and tablets. To harness this expanding potential, we decided to explore app distribution and the “Audio Descriptions” app is the result.

The application, now nearing the final stages of development, will provide customers with the ability to purchase and play content from our vastly expanded Solo-DX catalog, without needing to transfer the files to a stand-alone audio player. As time goes on, we will release enhancements to the app that will allow even greater control over the audio description experience.

For customers who prefer to use a stand-alone player, we will continue to offer the traditional “Rifftrax” style audio description tracks. We feel that this way, we can continue to smooth the hurtles faced by consumers wishing to experience high-quality description, by adopting new delivery mechanisms, while maintaining legacy compatibility with older players.

Unbundling TV Shows, Why Did We Do It?

One of the changes coming with the introduction of the Solo-Dx store in January is the ability to purchase TV shows individually by episode. Up until now, we have sold TV shows by season or, in some cases, half a season. Starting January 1st, 2015, customers will be able to purchase TV shows in both the traditional complete season bundle or episode by episode.

The pricing for these new options will be much like iTunes’ pricing for albums verses individual songs. On iTunes, purchasing a song costs 1 fixed amount, but purchasing the entire album is cheaper. We will also be using a concept similar to iTunes’ album completion, where the amount paid for individual songs on an album is used as credit towards the purchase of the entire album.

These are just a few small ways we are looking to make audio description more accessible to all. By offering the purchase of individual episodes, customers can explore new series without needing to invest in the entire season.

Descriptive Movies, Where Did They Go?

Some observant users may have noticed that our Solo-DX tracks have been disappearing from iTunes and Amazon Music. After a long consultation with our team, we have decided to pull the existing content from the two music stores and instead sell them through our own online store. Selling the files direct to consumers allows us to offer a wider selection of film and television descriptions, while reducing overhead and increasing our ability to produce original content.

For those who have bought our content from either iTunes or Amazon Music in the past, we thank you and will continue to provide you with support if your files get lost or damaged. Because the files will no longer be made available from either iTunes or Amazon Music, Apple and Amazon respectively will not be able to restore past purchases if the content is lost. We will be providing past customers with the ability to redownload the content free of charge in the coming weeks.

The new store will open early in 2015, with a preview coming later this month.

We hope you will enjoy our new service model and look forward to continuing to provide the high-quality descriptive content Solo-DX is known for.

Happy Holidays,

Alex,

Chief Technology Officer,

A Little Holiday Teaser, What Could Be Coming?

Below, you can find a little hint to a project we’ve been working on since the acquisition of Solo-Dx, back in April.

If you are using an older browser that does not support HTML5 playback, simply Click here.

Happy listening!

Accessibility Hound, Harnessing Potential and Unleashing Creativity

Welcome to Accessibility Hound, a small start up with big dreams of changing the technology landscape into a place where universal design is second nature and everyone has equal access. The team at Accessibility Hound brings together years of business experience and a deep understanding of universal access principles to develop products that will simultaneously inspire and delight. We look forward to sharing our vision for a more inclusive tomorrow and hope you will check back regularly for updates.

 

Alex Jurgensen,

Chief Technology Officer,