Unofficial sources at Sky tell me that this product has been in development for over a year. In view of the fact that the existing Sky remote already has a rubber backing and large rubbery buttons and is pretty easy to hold and use, it will be interesting to see how much demand there is for the new Easy Grip remote. Come on Sky, does your market research tell you that the best thing you can do for the disabled community is create an Easy Grip remote control? Such remotes probably already exist and can probably be configured to emulate the Sky handset. So is there really a need for this new handset?
Clearly there is a shortage of ideas at Sky, so I have created a list of my own. All of these suggestions would not be costly to implement, and could make a huge difference to disabled customers of Sky.
1. Offering a choice of colour schemes and font sizes for the onscreen EPG would be useful for partially sighted people.
2. An automatic onscreen indicator for availability of subtitling would be useful for someone with hearing loss.
3. A more flexible time-out period could provide someone with dexterity issues with a longer period for keying in channel numbers.
4. Make the Sky Plus live pause feature free to people with reading difficulties.
5. An audio indicator to go along side the low battery and programme reminder alerts.
A decent software engineer could probably achieve most of the above using the existing platform inside a couple of months. It is weather or not the political will exists at Sky to make these things a reality.
Making the EPG talk, clearly that is a bigger project which may require new hardware and not something anyone seriously expects over night. but we can live in hope.