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FCC Talks Up Comcast X1 Talking Guide

WASHINGTON — Comcast's X1 talking programming guide was among the innovators honored by Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler in the fourth annual Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility.

Winners were chosen in seven categories: Augmented Reality, CAPTCHA Alternatives, Internet of Things, Real-Time Text, Teleconferencing, Video Description and Miscellaneous, and were being honored at a June 1 ceremony in Arlington, Va.

Comcast won in the video description category. "With this tool, viewers without sight can easily find, select, record and watch anything on their channel lineup," the FCC said in announcing the awards.

AT&T Video Meetings With Blue Jeans won for teleconferencing, while Google won for best CAPTCHA alternative. CAPTCHA, or Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, are those wavy, sometimes tough-to-discern letters that must be correctly typed so computers know they are dealing with humans. That alternative does not require typing characters in a login box. Instead, security is provided by a "risk analysis of the user’s web behavior."

Other winners included BlindSquare for augmented reality, which helps the blind navigate routes and find points of interest; Convo Lights for the Internet of Things for customized visual incoming call notifications; Beam Messenger for a new app for real-time text; and OpenAir From Knowbility in the miscellaneous category for its competition encouraging Web accessibility.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.