Cobalt and Nextstar Develop 21CCVA-Compliant Software

CHAMPAIGN, ILL.—Cobalt Digital and Nextstar Broadcasting Group have collaborated on a new software system with text-to-speech capabilities to serve the needs of blind and low-vision people. The +TTS is compatible with many openGear cards and BBG-1000 standalone units. To ensure compliance with FCC and the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, an optional software license for the cards is also available.

+TTS is a text-to-speech generation/audio insertion system for embedded or discrete audio systems. The software monitors local and network watch folders for new text files, converts text to human-voice audio, and inserts it into user-configured audio channels. The +TTS can prioritize alerts and is designed to be independent of a station’s graphics engine.

The +TTS comes with a built-in, user-definable dictionary to substitute phonetic spelling for hard-to-decipher words and proper noun phonetic emphasis. The software comes standard with an English-language speech engine; advanced engines are available as expansion options. The Acapela Group is providing the voices.

OpenGear users can incorporate +TTS by installing a microSD card. Those without an openGear infrastructure can use Cobalt’s BBG-1022-FS standalone unit for integration into a broadcast facility.

Cobalt Digital designs 3G/HD/SD multiviewer technology for broadcast TV based in Champaign, Ill. Nextstar Broadcasting Group is a traditional, digital, and mobile media company headquartered in Irving, Texas.