In late 2018, Verizon Fios launched Fios TV One, which provides accessibility improvements for people who are blind or visually impaired. There is a new cable box plus a new remote control with voice command and the ability to find the remote by sound if misplaced. The remote is voice activated and provides an easy way to access video description and text-to-speech.
The new remote is smaller than Verizon’s previous remotes and has fewer buttons, but the buttons are cleverly designed. Many buttons have logical tactile features. The top right button turns on the TV and cable box simultaneously. The slightly lower-in-height top left button is used to choose input such as TV or HDMI 1. Below these buttons is a straight horizontal row of three buttons: Rewind, Play/Pause and Fast Forward. The Play/Pause button is slightly depressed in the middle. The next buttons down are a curved row (forming the top of a circle) of three: Guide, Menu, and Exit. The Menu button is slightly above the other two buttons.
Lower on the remote is a large ring button approximately one-inch in diameter, with nibs at the top, bottom, left, and right. The ring is used to go up, down, backward, or forward. In the center of the ring button is a raised round button that is labeled OK.
Below the ring are three buttons, the bottom section of a circle. The middle one is the Voice Control button, which is raised and larger than the other two. On the left is Arrow Left, and on the right is Last. The Last button brings you back to the previous channel.
Below these three buttons are a Volume rocker button on the left, a round Mute button in the middle, and a Channel rocker button on the right.
Near the bottom of the remote are four rows of three buttons. These are the number buttons plus “info” and “rec”. The first row is 1-2-3, the second row is 4-5-6, the third row is 7-8-9, and the bottom row on the remote is info-0-rec. The 5 button is indented. The 0 (zero) button is between the info and rec buttons.
To execute voice commands, hold down the Voice Control button and speak your command. Then, release the button. I searched online without success for information about commands that are useful for someone who is blind. There was information about using the feature, but it did not include the command for activating descriptive video or turning on text-to-speech. I quickly figured out how to execute these commands (by telling the Voice Control to turn those features on or off), but they should have been in Verizon’s basic documentation.
I called Verizon tech support and the first person couldn’t help me. The second person read me what was online and I explained that I’d seen that. She was astonished and found better documentation that included commands to activate descriptive video and text-to-speech, which she emailed to me. She added that she was going to suggest Verizon make this information more easily accessible.
Some Useful Commands
- Text-to-Speech: "Turn on TTS," "Turn off TTS"
- Descriptive video: According to the instructions, you say, “Turn on descriptive video” to hear description. On my sets, this command did not work. “Turn on SAP” worked. Turn it off by saying, “Turn off” followed by whatever phrased you used for turning on the feature.
- Channel: Say the name or number of the channel.
- Guide: "Go to the guide."
Find the Remote
If your remote gets misplaced, Verizon has a "Find my Fios TV Voice Remote" feature. On the top of the cable box is only one button, located near the front right. Press it twice and the remote will start beeping. Press any button on the remote to stop the beeping.
For more information about Fios TV One, visit the Verizon website
This article is made possible in part by generous funding from the James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust, Huntington, West Virginia.
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