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Old 08-28-2013, 03:25 AM   #16
kyteflyer
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Totally unimportant. Should I ever become functionally blind I'll turn to audio books, not TTS. I would far rather have Stephen Fry read me a book than a computer.
OH YES!!
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:26 AM   #17
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You neglect to mention that Amazon have subsequently dropped TTS from their entire eInk range. Clearly it's not a feature that the majority of customers place a high value on.
Which is why Amazon acquired Ivona, the company behind the Kindle Fire's Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch features, earlier this year?

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SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 24, 2013-- (NASDAQ:AMZN)—Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that it has acquired leading text-to-speech technology company IVONA Software. IVONA delivers world-class technologies that power the “Text-to-Speech,” “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch” features on Kindle Fire tablets. Additionally, IVONA delivers text-to-speech products and services for thousands of developers, businesses and customers around the world.

“IVONA’s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use. IVONA is already instrumental in helping us deliver excellent accessibility features on Kindle Fire, including Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “The IVONA team shares our passion for innovation and customer obsession, and we look forward to building great products to deliver world-class voice solutions to customers around the world.”
press release
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:29 AM   #18
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As the article notes, this technology is used on Kindle Fire tablets, not eInk devices. I think personally that we're unlikely to see TTS return to any eInk Kindle in the foreseeable future.

Last edited by HarryT; 08-28-2013 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:32 AM   #19
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Not important. If I were going to use this feature I'd use it with an iPod or similar device.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:22 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by jgaiser View Post
Until the quality of text to speech increases, pretty much worthless.
Thats how I feel even using Google Play Books with the cloud assisted high quality TTS I could never follow a book. For things like GPS it's fine but for reading books no chance.

I've nothing against it being included as a feature in ereaders but not if it compromises price, size, battery etc let people who need it buy a specialised device that can concentrate on doing it right.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:05 AM   #21
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As the article notes, this technology is used on Kindle Fire tablets, not eInk devices. I think personally that we're unlikely to see TTS return to any eInk Kindle in the foreseeable future.
Indeed. If you have a modern smartphone, then you've got a lot more CPU-power and memory available as compared to the Kindle, so TTS can be better. The screen can be turned off after TTS is engaged, thereby disabling the biggest battery drainer on the device.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:09 AM   #22
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People seem to be dismissing TTS as a waste of time. Sure, to those of us who have no accessibility issues that's a fair stance.

Is not the point of TTS to allow people with impaired vision to gain access to a wider body of work than just the few Bestsellers and Public Domain titles that audiobook sellers stock?

Another point worth mentioning is that audiobooks often cost more (double the price!) than the ebook. So TTS allows those who really need it to pay the same price as everyone else for their books.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:17 AM   #23
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People seem to be dismissing TTS as a waste of time. Sure, to those of us who have no accessibility issues that's a fair stance.

Is not the point of TTS to allow people with impaired vision to gain access to a wider body of work than just the few Bestsellers and Public Domain titles that audiobook sellers stock?
Absolutely nothing wrong with devices being brought to market with features that help people with disabilities. The issue arises when those features are added to all readers, increasing their price for the majority who have no need of such features.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:18 AM   #24
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Personally, I'm all for TTS, but only in a small, powerful device such as a phone. Why add the feature to a device that, without this feature, can't be used by the vision impaired? It's just bigger, underpowered, and more fragile compared to the average smartphone.

Last edited by Katsunami; 08-28-2013 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:28 AM   #25
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Totally pointless on a device that is mainly designed for daylight readability and a long battery life, if you can't read the screen use a phone/tablet/mp3 player.

I also wouldn't use a fork lift to drive on holiday.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:35 AM   #26
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The issue arises when those features are added to all readers, increasing their price for the majority who have no need of such features.
Fair point, if we're talking about E-Ink devices.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:47 AM   #27
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If a Smartphone can have 'Siri' talking to me and sounding like a human, I would think that the TTS sounds 'could' be significantly improved. Obviously it would require an e-reader to have a stronger operating system, but I don't see that as a difficulty either. Price would certainly rise, but not everyone would need that feature. (I wonder how many use it regularly on their Smartphones?)

Personally, I have no need for it, but I'm sure there are those who do.


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Old 08-28-2013, 07:22 AM   #28
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There is a big difference between Siri and TTS for reading a story.

The former is just speaking short, simple sentences. The latter is trying to produce a running narrative. That is far more difficult to get to sound acceptable.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:34 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Absolutely nothing wrong with devices being brought to market with features that help people with disabilities. The issue arises when those features are added to all readers, increasing their price for the majority who have no need of such features.
Same goes for adjustable fonts - I like to read a 9 pt sans serif. I don't see why I should have to pay extra for my e-ink reading device to have selectable fonts just because some people want to choose a different font and font size. Why can't everybody be just like me - then the world would be just dandy.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:47 AM   #30
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With respect to those who say they will turn to audio books, I went that way for my father who could no longer read even magnified print. The selection in the National Library For the Blind (BARD) is very low, not even a small percentage of published books. It was very hard to find books he wanted to listen to there. Audible has more selection but audio books are more expensive than ebooks so that would limit the number bought. They also need a lot of storage space.

Text to speech while far from perfect does allow one to at least access a great many books that would otherwise be entirely unavailable. An imperfect (mispronounciations, ect) rendering of a book is better than nothing at all.

For those with good eyesight and/or a lot of money perhaps they would have little use for the imperfect text to speech and I understand why THEY would not value it. But there are others who are not so fortunate.
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