In a world where 3D (and now 4DX) is constantly trying to overwhelm your senses at theaters, it's important to remember that the basic needs of some moviegoers remain largely unmet. Over a year ago, Regal Cinemas announced plans to bring Sony Entertainment's Access System to its chain of digital theaters, and now that effort is picking up some real momentum. The Access System helps customers who may be hard of hearing, deaf, or blind. For the hearing impaired, specially designed glasses privately display closed captioned text directly in a wearer's sight for 2D as well as 3D movies. When headphones are plugged in, the system provides descriptive audio for those unable to make out what's happening on screen.
Earlier this month, Regal announced that it's implemented the Access System in 400 theaters thus far, but it's stepping up deployment in a big way through the remainder of May. Nearly 6,000 screens will be equipped with the system by month's end. The expedited rollout has become a priority for Regal executive Raymond Smith Jr., whose son is deaf. "He was our guinea pig," Smith told The LA Times. "Every time a new prototype came out, he gave me immediate feedback." It won't be much longer before a wider audience is able to benefit from that input and Sony's research.