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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Video Description Explained

If you're sick of asking the person next to you to describe what's happening on screen during a movie or your favorite television show, you're in luck.

As part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), enacted on October 8, 2010, several of the most popular television networks are making certain prime-time and children's programs accessible to viewers with vision loss by adding video description. For now, these networks are required to provide approximately four hours of video description per week, beginning July 1, 2012.

Which television networks offer video description?

The networks required to provide a set amount of described programming under CVAA are ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA, the Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS.

How do you access video description on your television?

Use the television's SAP (Second Audio Program) function to access video description (in many cases, this where Spanish audio is found). Unfortunately, most cable menus remain inaccessible, which means sighted assistance may be required.

Resources

FCC Consumer Guide on Video Description
fcc.gov/guides/video-description

FCC Encyclopedia Page on video description, containing various information and links for consumers
fcc.us/videodescription

FCC Public Service Announcement on Video Description
http://transition.fcc.gov/files/audio/video-description-psa.mp3

The Audio Description Project from ACB
acb.org/adp/tv.html

The Described and Captioned Media Program
dcmp.org/descriptionkey/

To find movie theaters with description, visit Caption Fish or MoPix, Motion Picture Access.

The following providers offer description services:
Bridge Multimedia
CaptionMax
Narrative Television Network
Media Access Group at WGBH

services icon Directory of Services

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