From a March 8, 2013 press release from the American Foundation for the Blind:
Finding described television shows just got much easier. As part of the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, several of the most popular television networks have made certain prime-time and children’s programs accessible to viewers with vision loss by adding video description.
To help celebrate and promote this initiative, AFB has implemented a Described TV Listings page on its website, an online guide where visitors can determine which shows will be described as well as when they air.
Video description (sometimes called “audio description” or simply “description”) makes television programs and movies accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired. Short verbal descriptions of action or key visual scenes in a program, such as setting, costumes, and facial expressions, are provided to add context. The descriptions are inserted into pauses within a program’s dialogue.
Since July 1, 2012, the networks required to provide approximately four hours of video description per week include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA, the Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS.
“Our Described TV Listings will make it easier to find which shows are described, allowing people with vision loss to enjoy their favorite shows alongside their sighted peers,” said Carl Augusto, president and CEO of AFB. “I would like to thank the Rovi Corporation and Comcast for helping us create this valuable tool.”
To see which described shows will air in your area, and to learn more about how to access it on your television, visit http://aphcareerconnect.org/tv.
More about the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and Television Video Description
From The FCC Issues New Regulations for Television Video Description for Blind and Visually Impaired Viewers at the VisionAware blog:
The Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which was signed into law on October 8, 2010 by President Barack Obama, requires that smart phones, television programs, and other modern communications technologies be accessible to people with vision and/or hearing loss.
As part of the implementation of the Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to require leading broadcast and cable channels to offer at least 50 hours of described programming (also called audio narration or video description) during every calendar quarter.
The FCC’s Report and Order on Video Description is directed at providing audio narration about visual programming elements that will make television programming more accessible by individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision.
The Report and Order was released on August 25, 2010 and set a July 1, 2012 deadline for implementation and compliance. The FCC’s Report and Order requires that:
- ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates in the top 25 market areas and cable and satellite television providers with more than 50,000 subscribers provide video description.
- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA, the Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS are each required to provide 50 hours of video-described prime time or children’s programming per calendar quarter.
More about AFB’s Described TV Listings
On AFB’s new Video Description/Television Listing page, you can find the following helpful links and features:
- An explanation of video description, with links to related audio description projects and resources
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Accessing Video Description
- The Described TV listings search tool, developed by AFB with support from the Rovi Corporation and Comcast
- A described television public service announcement on video description, featuring Emmy-winning television host Jeff Corwin
The American Foundation for the Blind and VisionAware.org will continue to provide updates of this landmark accessibility legislation as they become available.