Software and Hardware: DAISY Players

Software Players (Overview)

Typically DAISY (Digital Accessible Information SYstem) software players render the text, audio (human narration or synthetic speech) as well as embedded images (if present). Readers can usually make adjustments to the font size and color and also the background color. In most cases, they can also adjust the playback speed. Many software players feature variable playback speed and synchronized highlighting of text and audio as well as other functions. Some DAISY software players have built in synthetic text-to-speech. These players, therefore, support playback of text-only DAISY digital talking books (DTBs).

AMIS is a free, open source DAISY playback software developed by the DAISY Consortium. Highlights of AMIS include its self-voicing interface, playback rate control, text searching and bookmarking, customized reading options, and page style customization. AMIS is available in multiple languages. It runs on Windows and supports DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 (formally ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 (R2012)) digital books.

Examples of commercial software DAISY players include ReadHear PC and Book Wizard Reader. ReadHear™ Mac is the first fully-featured Digital Talking Book player for the Mac. ReadHear Mac provides benefits to those who enjoy and appreciate learning and listening to DAISY books, math content, articles, and documents.

New College Worcester in the UK has chosen Dolphin's EasyReader as their preferred DAISY software player.

Testimonial:

Jonathon Fogg: "I like the ease, the straightforward interface on EasyReader. I think the students will find it easy to use and navigate and open the books and documents that they want to access. The bookshelf feature will enable the students to return to books they have used before. We love the way the students can jump between all of the headings, whether from one to the next or between all the levels 2's or level 3's. It makes navigation that much quicker if you can jump through the major headings in a document. Our students need, or even deserve the opportunity to have the best experience as they can get and as we can deliver. If DAISY is appropriate for some of our students, then we should be providing DAISY documents to those students. Because EasyReader can play text files and HTML files and EPUB files it gives the students the flexibility to access materials that other people are producing.”

Read more about the benefits of Dolphin EasyReader on the Dolphin Computer Access website.

There are many different types of DAISY software players available, including DAISY apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android.

DAISY Hardware Players (Features and capabilities)

DAISY hardware players, which are in some ways similar to CD players or MP3 players, can be of great assistance to print disabled users as well as to auditory learners who benefit from audio playback, whether the audio is presented through a text-to-speech feature or with human narration. The reader’s experience can vary widely depending on the type of book and the playback system being used. Some hardware DAISY reading systems such as Victor Reader Stratus and PLEXTALK PTN 2 are desktop players with easy to locate large tactile buttons. All of these players provide navigation features through voice guidance and allow users to adjust the playback speed (faster or slower). They also have built-in speakers and headphone jacks. Some models support placing multiple bookmarks. Some hardware players - braille notetakers such as HIMS BrailleSense U2 or HumanWare BrailleNote Apex BT 32 Braille Notetaker incorporate a portable braille display, but also play DAISY content. The PlexTalk Linio DAISY Player supports the DAISY Online Delivery specification.

DAISY Players can also be small and highly portable. Most portable DAISY players such as Milestone, PLEXTALK Pocket, BookPort Plus, and Victor Reader Stream. These players come with high-speed USB and higher capacity SD card support. The Blaze ET is a portable DAISY player with OCR capabilties. For the first time, blind and visually impaired consumers have access to pocket-sized book players integrated with OCR text-to-speech to capture and read aloud hardcopy printed documents on-demand.

Testimonial:

Educator, Marie Kouthoofd, (DAISY Planet): “Thanks to the VR Stream and the rich reading experience DAISY books provide, when it comes to knowing my stuff, I may humbly but accurately declare that I am a force to be reckoned with. But, as silly as it sounds there is one thing the VR Stream has given me that no other device has had the ability to. And that is the ability to proudly and authentically proclaim to my students each and every semester "I will never assign any reading to you that I myself have not read."

The DAISY Consortium maintains a list of DAISY Players, Conversion and Production Tools developed by the DAISY Consortium members (Friends) on the DAISY Consortium website. There are many different types of DAISY hardware and software players available. Some of these systems have not been tested with or approved for Learning Ally, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS, USA), Bookshare or any other DAISY member organizations’ digital content. Readers who want to acquire a DAISY hardware player should research the options carefully, and if needed, contact these organizations to find out which players support their DTBs and if it is necessary to authorize their players for the books.

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