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June 2, 2004

Hands On Expands Video Relay Services To Include Videophone Users

From: PR Newswire (press release) - Jun 2, 2004

ROCKLIN, Calif., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Hands On Video Relay Services, Inc. (HOVRS), a leading provider of telephone video relay services (VRS) for the deaf and hard of hearing community, has expanded the types of videophone equipment that can be used with HOVRS. Consumers will now be able to use the award-winning D-Link i2eye videophone, as well as many other popular broadband videophones, when accessing HOVRS.

"It is very clear that deaf and hard of hearing people are becoming more sophisticated with the use of broadband video phones over the Internet," said Ronald E. Obray, HOVRS President and CEO. "Video relay service demand is growing rapidly and we are proud to be expanding service offerings for videophone users. Our mission is to bring down barriers to communication for the deaf and hard of hearing communities through the services and programs we provide, such as our Brown Bag Rewards program. Making it possible for videophones to access our service takes us another step closer to that goal."

Broadband videophones have recently exploded in popularity within the deaf and hard of hearing community, especially among senior citizens, children, and foreign-born deaf people, all of whom may have difficulty with typing or with written English. Videophones use a television and high-speed Internet connection, with no computer necessary. Users can expect smooth and clear video quality, with speeds of up to 30 frames per second.

For years, deaf and hard of hearing consumers have been frustrated, limited to using text-based relay and communication, which deprives them of the use of sign language, their primary, visual language. Relay services are intended to allow the deaf/hard of hearing community a functional equivalent to the national phone system. Instead of typing out a conversation one letter at a time, the use of VRS -- which utilizes sign language interpreters -- has allowed those consumers to come much closer to the "functional equivalency" mandated by Congress.

"HOVRS is well known for having the most highly qualified, certified sign language interpreters," Obray said. "Our core business for over a decade was sign language interpreting. We hold the skills of our interpreters at the highest level to ensure customer satisfaction. The deaf community knows we offer the highest quality service and because of this, we have received hundreds of requests to offer access to videophone users. We are proud that we are able to offer broadband videophone as an additional feature to our VideoSign(R) 2.0 platform. Our goal is to allow for a more functionally equivalent telephone service."

HOVRS's videophone call procedure has been streamlined to make it quick and easy for a customer to make a call. To use HOVRS, videophone customers just need to enter the address, They will be connected to a live HOVRS interpreter who will process the call. For more information on how to use your videophone with HOVRS, please visit .

Brown Bag Rewards - Earn Free DSL or Cable Internet Service
Users will be pleased to know that the popular Brown Bag Rewards program is available to all videophone users. Customers have the opportunity to apply their minutes of usage towards receiving reimbursement of their DSL or cable modem monthly charges. To sign up for Brown Bag Rewards, please visit and click on the Brown Bag Rewards box. Current PC users can use both PC and videophone to accumulate Brown Bag points, and points from both devices will be consolidated in one account.

How It Works
VRS is offered as part of the Telecommunications Relay Services, a service mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). VRS allows a deaf or hard of hearing person to place telephone calls by connecting visually with a sign language interpreter who places the phone call and relays the conversation between the deaf/hard of hearing and hearing parties.

With HOVRS, users now have a choice for their VRS needs. They may use their computer and go to and launch VideoSign to connect to the Video Relay Center, or they may now use the new broadband videophone access at An interpreter will appear on the screen, and users will sign the phone number they wish to call. The interpreter will then interpret the call in sign language, ensuring a faster, smoother, more accurate flow of communication. More information is available on our FAQ page,, including instructions for what to do if a customer is unable to access our service using a videophone received from another provider.

For customers using personal computers, HOVRS offers a VRS platform utilizing its custom designed and built video compression software, VideoSign(R) 2.0. VideoSign 2.0 has features such as full screen video, which make VRS more efficient and easier to use than other available products like Netmeeting. This free software program is available for download at

About Hands On Video Relay Service, Inc.
Hands On Video Relay Service (HOVRS) and its sister company, Hands On Sign Language Services (HOSLS), have provided American Sign Language interpreting services and other services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities for over fourteen years. Founded by a 20-year veteran of the sign language interpretation industry, both companies utilize hundreds of nationally certified ASL interpreters. It is the company's mission to provide 24/7/365 video relay and interpreting availability. For more information, visit

SOURCE Hands On Video Relay Services, Inc.

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