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CNET First Look
HumanWare VictorReader StreamThe VictorReader Stream is a unique MP3 and audiobook player made specifically for the needs of the blind or visually impaired.
[ Music ] >>Hey I'm Donald Bell, Senior Editor for Digital Audio and MP3 and today we're taking a first look at the VictorReader Stream. This is a very unique portable audio player made specifically for the needs of the blind or visually impaired. It runs $350 which is expensive by iPod standards but pretty typical for a device like this. Now right away you'll notice that the stream is pretty large, it lacks a screen and it uses a numeric keypad for navigation control. The tricky part is remembering exactly what each key represents. But you get the hang of it pretty quick. For instance pressing the number 1 cycles you through the screens main menu categories. >>One note audible books one book, music one book >>And once you've found a category you want to explore you hit the pound key or just hit the play button and launch right into things. Other buttons on the player include these oversize volume buttons on the side, a power button that also activates the players EQ and playback speed features and a voice memo button on the opposite side. The VictorReader Stream plays music files such as MP3, FLAK and WMA but as the name implies its real strength is playing audio books. Books can be loaded in an MP3 audible or a host of talking formats such as DAISY and NISO. One of the most useful features on the stream is the ability to place thousands of bookmarks within any given audio file. Another useful and unique feature is a built in text-to-speech player that can read back most text or HTML files in a synthetic voice. >>The digital transition can be bittersweet, so as DJ's come to miss the visibility of scratching >>You can use this for reading books, emails, blog posts, whatever you want and you don't have to prep the files beforehand just to get them on a player. It's all drag and drop. The stream comes with a case, a 2 gigabyte SD card, power adaptor, headphones, software, a USB cable for your computer and a short USB cable for grabbing files off of a USB stick. I'm Donald Bell and that was a first look at the Victor Reader Stream from Humanware. [ Music ]