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Sennheiser Launches a New Streaming Solution for the Hearing Impaired

June 23, 2014

Going to a theater and watching a movie is an experience most of us take for granted. If on the other hand you are visually or hearing impaired, the process becomes more complicated and it requires theaters equipped with assistive listening, closed captioning and descriptive video. While the technology in this market has not evolved that much, Sennheiser, a 70 year old German audio technology company, has introduced a new low latency streaming solution designed to deliver content to cellular devices in movie theaters.

The company established the new Sennheiser Streaming Technology GmbH (SST) subsidiary to manage this technology with a new center. The first product the company will be launching is the CinemaConnect system, which will be available in the fall of 2014.

The CinemaConnect is a live streaming solution that provides users with audio description and hearing support delivered on smartphones at a movie theater. The platform is designed to easily integrate into existing audio systems using the Sennheiser smartphone app to connect to a Wi-Fi network at the theater and access the soundtrack for audio descriptions or assisted listening. The audio file is streamed over a multichannel app on the smartphone and all you need is a headphone to enjoy the movie.

The system's concept is based on the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) principle, which allows customers to use their own device without any additional hardware.

Sennheiser uses low latency streaming with a streaming server and Wi-Fi router that provides a closed dedicated network in the movie theater which users connect to using their smartphones. This saves the theater a considerable amount of money by eliminating the need to have receivers for each individual customer. In addition to providing the streaming technology, the app also helps individuals find venues that provide the service with a location finder function.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 360 million people around the world suffering from disabling hearing loss. These individuals can benefit from devices such as hearing aids, from captioning, sign language training as well as educational and social support. Providing access to entertainment such as movies as well as other cultural events can go a long way in ensuring they don't feel alienated and are part of society.

"Our mission is to make cultural offerings accessible to everyone, regardless of whether and what kind of disabilities you may have. We have introduced just such a solution for movie theaters in the form of CinemaConnect. In the coming years, we will continue to drive the development of innovative and inclusive technologies," said Sennheiser Streaming Technologies Managing Director Jörn Erkau. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle