New Victor Reader Stream: Features, Benefits and Specifications

Original Author(s): Matthew Janusauskas

Overview

The latest version of HumanWare’s popular Victor Reader Stream combines access to exciting new media, more content than ever before, along with powerful yet easy to use software features in a slimmer, sleeker hardware design, making it a great accessible handheld digital talking book player.

New Generation Victor Reader Stream

Internet radio, with access to over 36,000 international stations, is now available. Browsing stations by name or genre are both possible. With NFB-Newsline, more than 300 newspapers and 40 magazines in North America can be wirelessly delivered to your stream with the latest editions being added to the bookshelf automatically. There is also easy access to on-line reference tools from Wikipedia and Wiktionary, empowering students, teachers and professionals with a world of knowledge.

For content, the Stream can now access more wirelessly via WiFi, including navigating Bookshare content from dynamic lists, and NFB-Newsline delivered automatically, with more wireless content to come. The Stream still plays DAISY, MP3 books, music, and computer documents in many formats from SD cards or USB flash media.

The new WiFi features makes updating software and adding new features and content very easy. The improved Acapella Text-To-Speech engine makes the Stream more lifelike than ever before. In hardware, the Stream has built-in WiFi, a 15 hour battery life, louder speaker, improved recording, faster USB, a clock, and more in an ergonomic package weighing less than 4 ounces (110g), while retaining the familiar high contrast, tactile keypad as before.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 114 x 62 x 18 mm (4.5 x 2.4 x 0.7 in.)
  • Weight: 110g (3.9 oz) including battery
  • DAISY formats supported: 2.0, 2.0.2, and ANSI/NISO Z39.86 2002/2005 (DAISY 3)
  • Audio formats: AAC, AMR-WB+, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, Speex, WAV,
  • Text-to-speech: Acapela (2 voices) to play brf, txt, html, xml, DOCX, EPUB
  • SD slot supports up to 32GB SDHC cards
  • Li-Ion battery. Rechargeable via USB or AC adapter.
  • Recharging time: Up to 5 hours via AC adapter
  • Operating time: Up to 15 hours on headphones (may vary depending on content and player settings)
  • Micro USB port for connecting to external USB flash drives or computer or AC power adapter
  • Built-in speaker and 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
  • Microphone: Built-in mono and 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Recording format: PCM Wav, MP3
  • Real time clock for date and time announcement
  • Firmware upgrade via SD or online

Features and their benefits

Usability – Keypad

Feature Benefit
Raised, mechanical type keys Easy to find and useful mechanical-type feedback to confirm key press
Key spacing Liberal spacing of keys helps to distinguish them
Key regions Basic and most important keys (Rew, P/S, FF, Time/Sleep) at bottom of unit so user with simple needs can avoid advanced functions.
High contrast Comfortable and pleasant for low vision users.
Use of color Important keys are highlighted in orange. Orange for 2,4,6,8 keys also emphasizes their purpose as navigation keys.
Dedicated FF/Rewind Many are familiar with FF/Rewind from old cassette players so a dedicated key for simple movement forward or backward is provided. Also, a single tap moves backward or forward 5 seconds making it simple to repeat a small amount of narration that was missed
No multi-key press No features require user to press more than one key simultaneously.

Usability – Bookshelf

Feature Benefit
Separate bookshelves Each type of content (DAISY book, recorded MP3 book, music, text files, online content, and recorded notes each has its own bookshelf to simplify categorization. User needs only press a single key (#1) to select a bookshelf.
Uniform navigation For every bookshelf, navigation is uniform. Press key 1 to find the correct bookshelf and then keys 4 and 6 to move back and forth along its list of titles. Simple to learn. Learn one bookshelf and you have learned them all.
Bookshelf Sub categories Optionally, advanced users may create sub-folders within each bookshelf folder to categorize titles. For example, you could organize the DAISY bookshelf by Fiction, nonfiction, and newspapers. Or, organize the music folder by artist and album. In this case, keys 2 and 8 choose the category.

Usability – Book/File Navigation

Feature Benefit
DAISY navigation Follows the structure of the equivalent print book by allowing user to navigate the audio by chapter, section, and page.
Non DAISY navigation For non DAISY recorded books allows navigation by file, folder, and choice of 1, 5, 10, or 30 minute time jumps.
Text navigation For text documents navigate by paragraph, sentence, word, character, and percentage time jump.
Text Search To aid in navigating large text documents, enter keywords to search for via multi-tap numeric keypad. Also find previous and find next occurrence.
Consistent navigation all types Whether chapter, section, page, paragraph, sentence, word, character, or time jumps user always selects the level of navigation with 2/8 keys and moves back and forth between the elements with 4/6 keys. So, learn one type of book navigation and you have learned them all.
Direct navigation Flexibility. User may also press Go To Page key to move directly to an entered page number or heading number in DAISY, directly to a time offset in a recorded audio file, or directly to a percentage offset in a text file.

Usability – Audio

Feature Benefit
Separate volume speaker/headphones Stream will remember separate volume settings for each of the built-in speaker and headphones. It means the user does not need to adjust volume when switching between speaker and headphones.
Separate volume speaker/headphones Safety. If a high volume is set on the speaker user will not risk same high volume when switching to the headphones.
Variable speed Playback speed can reduced to allow listening of complex passages or increased to allow skim reading.
Audio tone/pitch The user may adjust either the tone or pitch of recorded audio. Some people prefer tone adjustment than pitch adjustment or vice versa.

Usability – Sleep Mode

Feature Benefit
Sleep timer Prevents book from playing to the end if user should fall asleep.
Sleep timer Use Sleep key to ‘play for a while’. For example, set the timer to play for 30 minutes during your lunch break. It even warns you when 1 minute remains.
Multiple presets Flexible choices of 15, 30, 45, or 60 minute timers.
Custom time You may even set a specific number of minutes from the number pad.

Usability – Time/Date Announcement

Feature Benefit
Announce time/date Useful to not need another device when you want to check the time.
Clock battery The clock has its own battery so it will not lose the time setting if the main battery runs out.
Daylight setting There is a toggle to choose either daylight or standard time so you do not need to reset the time twice a year when it changes.
Customizable The time and date formats can be customized to the user’s preference.

Usability – Help and Information

Feature Benefit
Info (key 0) All info in one key press. Single press gives book and player information including title, total pages/headings/time, elapsed/remaining time, number of bookmarks, battery status, online status, player model/version/serial numbers.
Where Am I? (key 5) Single press announces percentage of the book read, where you are in the book, and time remaining in the current chapter.
Key Describer Key Describer mode announces function of each key. Great way to learn the player.
Built-in User Guide Just press and hold key 1 anytime to read the built-in User Guide in DAISY format. Thus, the User Guide is always available.
User Guide is DAISY text Allows benefit of DAISY chapter, section navigation as well as searching for keywords.

Usability – Battery and Power

Feature Benefit
Up to 15 hour play time Useful for travel or extended use when away from a power source.
User replaceable Extends lifetime of the device.
User replaceable Use a spare battery to extend play time.
USB Recharge Flexible. Use any USB AC adapter to recharge. If you have a mobile phone and Stream you need carry only one adapter for both. You may also use USB outlets on trains or airplanes.
USB Recharge Safe. You cannot damage Stream by using the wrong power adapter as any USB charger can safely be used.
Micro USB port You need only 1 connector and 1 cable for both recharge and data transfer.

Usability – Online Update

Feature Benefit
Automatic software update Player can download software updates directly from HumanWare.
Auto install book keys Stream can automatically download and install book decryption keys to play protected books such as those from the NLS library in the USA.

Usability – HumanWare Companion Windows Software

Feature Benefit
Transfers books from PC to Stream Simplifies process of transferring books to the Stream for users who are not familiar with managing Windows folders/files.
Unzip books Many libraries distribute books in zip format. Users who are frustrated managing zip files can let Companion unzip and transfer those books.
Create playlists Companion allows creation of music playlists so users do not need to learn Windows tools to do this.
Online functions Companion allows simple way to use the computer to find, download, and transfer online content to the Stream such as books from Bookshare.org.

Advanced Features – Text Search

Text search
Search DAISY, EPUB, or text documents for specific keywords. In large files searching is often the most efficient way to navigate to the passage of interest.
Music search
Search your large music bookshelf for artist, album, or song names.
Simple to Search
Whether searching text or music, just press the Go To key until you hear, “Search". Then type the search phrase using the multi-tap method on the numeric keypad.

Advanced DAISY Features

DAISY hybrid books
For DAISY books with synchronized full text and full audio choose whether you want to listen to the recorded audio or use the Stream text-to-speech to listen to the equivalent text of the book. Just press key 9 to switch back and forth. Useful for studying school or reference books.
DAISY hybrid books
Switch to text mode. Then use the Stream to search for a passage with specific keywords and then switch back to recorded audio to resume reading at that point.
DAISY hybrid books
If listening to the audio and a word is not understood, switch back to the equivalent text and use the Stream Spell feature to spell the word for you.
DOD support
If your library offers the DAISY Online Delivery service then a Stream future upgrade will allow automatic download of your DAISY book. Useful for non technical or non computer users.

Advanced Features – Bookmarks

Simple bookmark
Mark a passage like you would insert a bookmark in a print book.
Highlight bookmark
Mark the start and end of a passage like you would highlight a passage in a print book.
Audio bookmark
Record your own annotation of a passage like you would write a note in the margin of a print book.

Advanced Features – Recording

Record voice notes
Record reminders, to-do lists, record lectures/meetings.
Choose recording file type
Flexibility to record in MP3 format to save space or in Wav format for higher quality using more space.
Choose microphone
Record quick notes with built-in microphone or use an external microphone for specialized recording needs.
Choose Line-in
Set the external microphone to line-in mode to record from external devices such as a cassette player.
Monitor recording
You may monitor while recording using headphones.
Mono or stereo
Flexible. Set the external microphone or line-in to record in either stereo or mono mode depending on your needs. Mono takes half the space.
Recording level adjustment
Choose from Fixd, manual or automatic recording level adjustment modes.

Advanced Features – Wireless Online Services

NFB Newsline
Wireless automatic download of favorite newspapers, magazines and other NFB Newsline content.
Bookshare
Browse or search the Bookshare online library and download books wirelessly.
Internet radio
Instant access to over 36,000 online radio stations in the palm of your hand. Search for stations by name, browse by genre and easily save your favorite stations as presets. Custom stations can also be added via the HumanWare Companion PC software.
Wikipedia and Wiktionary
Lookup encyclopedia articles or quickly define words while reading. Navigate articles in the same way as any DAISY book and save articles to the online references bookshelf for later review or study even while offline.

See also

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This page was last edited by VLuceno on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 10:00
Text is available under the terms of the DAISY Consortium Intellectual Property Policy, Licensing, and Working Group Process.