Wikipedia on TV-DVD for Low-Income Communities

While many technologies remain out-of-reach for households in the developing world, one exception to this rule is that of entertainment technologies. Even in poor communities, there is a strong drive to own devices such as TVs and, increasingly, DVD players. Though they are typically used for video content, ordinary DVD players also support rich interactivity and programmability, including the capability to browse over 100,000 menus using the remote control.

In this work, we have stretched the limits of the capabilities of DVD players by mapping a large subset of Wikipedia to a TV-DVD. Our disc contains the entirety of, encompassing almost 6,000 articles and 250,000 screens on TV. Using the interactive capabilities of DVD players, we have preserved all of the major functionality of Wikipedia, including indexing, search, hyperlinks, and forward/backward navigation. We expect that such DVDs will have a large audience in poor communities that often lack access to rich educational materials.

Bill Thies