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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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Digital Talking Book Players (Hardware)

Traditionally, Talking Books were played on records, and then, as the technology changed, on cassette tapes on specially adapted machines. Moving into the future, Talking Books are in the process of becoming digital files on CDs or another device. These books allow users to skip directly to specific places in the book, insert bookmarks, and more.
   There are two types of players for reading digital Talking Books—stand-alone players and software players that are used on computers. The stand-alone machines are the easiest to learn to use, and they can be small and portable. They are also the most affordable players for people who do not own a computer. MP3 files and commercial music CDs can also be played on these players.
   Digital Talking Books are not really things that you can hold, although they usually come on a CD-ROM today. Rather, they are files, which may also be available on the Web. To put it technically, digital Talking Books are well-organized collections of computer files produced according to specifications that are published in the standards that define them. They are a medium-independent information access-and-delivery technology—the files can be stored on CD, in a directory, or on a memory card—that is based on open standards, primarily the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language), pronounced “smile.”
   A fully coded book in the DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) format can have many levels of navigation, accessed by using the player’s keypad or buttons. For example, Level 1 could be chapters, Level 2 could be subheadings within a chapter, and Level 3 could be paragraphs. Using the appropriate keys, the user can navigate forward or backward through the book using these levels. The user can also go to a particular page, navigate by phrase (as defined by the book’s coding), or place a bookmark at a memorable passage or at the beginning of a section to be studied. Digital Talking Books can include both text and audio files.
   When digital Talking Books contain text, it is possible to send the text to a braille embosser or display it on a refreshable braille display or on a screen—in any font and font size. It is also possible to check spelling and search for text the way one can now search on the web.
   No longer does one have to wait for that long rewind or fast forward; digital Talking Book players take one forward or backward almost instantaneously. They also allow users to increase or decrease the speed of the reading using speech compression—they cut the pauses between words rather than just increasing the speed at which the book is played. So, a favorite narrator will seem to be reading very quickly in his or her own human voice, instead of sounding high-pitched like a mouse.
   Digital Talking Books are a particular kind of electronic book—the kind defined by and for people who are blind or otherwise print disabled to best meet their particular information access and reading needs. Digital Talking Books will not work on players that are not designed to play them.
   Questions to ask when purchasing digital talking book players:
•   Do you want a portable player or a software player that runs on your computer?
•   Do you want a player that plays CDs or a player that plays files transferred directly from your computer?
•   Do you want a full-featured player or is a player with some features enough?

15 Products in Category

Product Table

Product NameProduct DescriptionDistributor Contact
Book Port PlusA digital talking book player designed to support a wide variety of playback formats. These formats include NLS, Learning Ally, Audible, txt, doc, html, and books from BookShare. This small device incorporates an audio book player, an accessible MP3 player, a clockand a voice recorder in one unit. The Book Port Plus contains a Wi-Fi chip, USB port, SD card slot (up to 32GB), Stereo microphone, headphone jacks, and a built-in speaker. sales@aph.org
BookCourierReads articles, books, and other documents out loud, and plays MP3 files. Includes Double Talk speech synthesizer; no internal speaker.
BookSense (Standard)A compact and lightweight portable DAISY player. This multi-function DAISY reader is compatible with a wide range of audio formats including DAISY and MP3. Other features include,a built-in text to speech engine, clock, recorder. Its builtin text to speech engine supports a wide range of electronic documents.
BookSense XTA compact and lightweight portable DAISY player. This multi-function DAISY reader is compatible with a wide range of audio formats including DAISY and MP3. Other features include: a built-in text to speech engine, calculator, clock, recorder. Its builtin text to speech engine supports a wide range of electronic documents. The BookSense comes in two models. BookSense(Standard) and BookSense XT. Both models play audio files, DAISY content, and read documents. Secured-Digital (SD) memory card slot, and built-in digital recorder are all standard features on both the BookSense and BookSense XT. The media player supports a variety of formats, such as MP3, MP4, OGG, WAV, WAX, M4A, and WMA. The BookSense XT has enhanced features including 4 Gig built-in memory, Bluetooth Headphone option, and built-in FM radio.
Milestone 212The MileStone 212 Daisy player and recorder. it provides simplified operation with 6-Button keypad. Features includes, NLS support, text document reader, high quality MP3 recorder, clock and calendar . The ruby red book reader in its popular, traditional Milestone casing supports the formats DAISY 2.02 and AA(X) from Audible. Info@IRTI.net
Milestone 312Small, accessible voice recorder/MP3 player with five large tactilely marked control buttons. Includes an internal speaker and built-in microphone. Order Milestone 312 from The Chicago Lighthouse Store
PLEXTALK Pocket PTP1The Plextalk Pocket is the latest in sold-state digital recorders from Plextor designed for Blind or sighted users from the ground up. Record in a wide range of DAISY MP3 formats for voice or high quality music applications. Use the Pocket as an audio note taker and enter audio navigation markers while in record or playback mode and it provides simple audio editing features using DAISY heading and section markers.
Plextalk PTN2 A tabletop style digital book player. Plextalk PTN2 supports a navigational voice guide, speed and pitch controls, built-in speaker, clock, sleep timer, SD memory slot, USB port, and page/time jump functions.
Plextalk PTR2Records and plays DAISY titles, MP3, and .wav audio files and stores them on a compact flash card.
ProfessorPlays digital talking books—including DAISY format—as well as music CDs, talking book tapes and radio. Includes stereo sound. can-do@independentliving.com
Telex ScholarDAISY CD player that also plays standard CDs and MP3 CDs. Primary controls are identified by their larger size and tactile rubber construction, while secondary controls are smaller and feature a chrome finish. Provides access to specific page numbers and chapters in the DAISY structure, and includes a full numeric keypad with bookmarking feature. can-do@independentliving.com
Victor Reader 2Small, portable player that can play a variety of formats of books and music. Also includes a voice recorder, internal speaker, clock, and variable sleep timer. Order Victor Reader 2 from The Chicago Lighthouse Store
Victor Reader ClassicX PlusDesktop player that plays DAISY and NISO digital talking books on CDs as well as MP3 and commercial audio CDs. Has an integrated carrying handle and high-contrast large buttons. Features include variable playback speed with pitch correction, variable Sleep shutoff timer, advanced telephone-style keypad for direct or sequential navigation by chapter, section, page or bookmark.
Victor Reader StratusA desktop player that plays DAISY, NLS, and a wide variety of electronic documents. Learning Ally digital talking books on CDs as well as MP3 and commercial audio CDs. Has an integrated carrying handle, high-contrast large buttons, SD mmmemory card slot, USB port, and builtin speaker. Features include variable playback speed with pitch correction, variable Sleep shutoff timer, advanced telephone-style keypad for direct or sequential navigation by chapter, section, page or bookmark. Order Victor Reader Stratus from The Chicago Lighthouse Store
Victor Reader WavePortable digital CD Player that offers telephone style keypad for direct navigation by page, heading, or bookmark number. Also has easy 4-arrow DAISY navigation such as moving by chapter, section, or page. Supports bookmarks and variable speed playback and has a variable sleep timer.

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