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The Media Access Group at WGBH

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Press Release:

"Abraham and Mary Lincoln - A House Divided"
First DVD to Feature Audio Navigation Now Available

Demonstration of access features set for Capitol Hill events

August 29, 2001

WGBH Boston - producers of such groundbreaking educational programming as BETWEEN THE LIONS, NOVA, ARTHUR, THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and FRONTLINE have produced a fully-accessible three-disc DVD package entitled "Abraham and Mary Lincoln - A House Divided." The DVD was co-produced by AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and WGBH Interactive with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The Lincolns is the first DVD to include audio navigation, which allows users access to all of the DVD's features through audible menus. This ensures that blind and visually impaired viewers can access any of the multiple menu options on the DVD without the assistance of a sighted person. The audible menus were developed by Planet Studio, a graphic communications design firm.

The Lincolns, which originally aired on PBS's AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, weaves together detailed profiles of President Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd with the events of the Civil War. In addition to the complete documentary with audio description (narration of key visual elements such as facial expressions and settings), audible menus, captioning and Surround Sound, this three-disc set includes exclusive interviews with producer/director/co-writer David Grubin and cinematographer James Callanan; original narratives drawn from letters and diaries of Civil War soldiers, 19th-century African Americans and women; and other special features and content - all of it accessible.

In addition to pre-release demonstrations at consumer and industry events throughout the summer of 2001, this groundbreaking DVD will be demonstrated during two September events for Members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.:

The Lincolns may be purchased by calling 1-800-PLAY-PBS (1-800-752-9727), logging on to or visiting selected Borders, Barnes & Noble and Store of Knowledge bookstore locations.

The Media Access Group at WGBH, with offices in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, is a non-profit service of the WGBH Educational Foundation. The group includes Descriptive Video Service®, which has made television, film and video more accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences since 1990, and The Caption Center, the world's first captioning agency, founded in 1972. The third part of the Media Access Group at WGBH is the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media, a research and development entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies more accessible under-served audiences. For more information on WGBH's access efforts, visit, or call (617) 300-3400 v, (617) 300-2489 TTY, or e-mail

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