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Video Description Service

Last Updated: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 > Related Articles

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Summary

Learn about the Video Description service that is available on some network programming to help assist the blind and visually impaired.

Solution

Video Description Overview

Video Description is audio-narrated description of a television program’s key visual elements. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the program’s English dialogue. Video Description makes TV programming more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
 
On August 25, 2011, the FCC adopted rules to implement the video description provision of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, passed by Congress in 2010. All video distributors like Cox including DirecTV, Dish, Verizon, and AT&T are required to ensure that programming identified in the rule includes video description.

Availability

Currently only the top four commercial television broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, as well as the top five cable networks, USA, Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS, in the major markets are required to provide video description on a segment of programming provided for distribution. Though not required by the FCC at this time, other networks may also provide programming with video description.
 
Per FCC rules, video description will be included in 50 hours of prime time or children’s programming per quarter, or an average of about four hours per week. Actual availability times may vary by network.
 
To activate video description service for enabled television shows, the SAP audio setting must be on. To resume normal audio, the setting must be switched back to primary audio.
 
Note: Do not change both the TV and receiver settings to SAP. If the TV is connected to a receiver, only the receiver should have SAP enabled.

Changes to Current SAP Functionality

If you have configured your receiver or television to play SAP audio to listen to Spanish language track for a show, when video descriptions are available in televisions shows it will temporarily replace the Spanish language audio track with English descriptions and dialogue.
 
Once the show is over, Spanish language audio should automatically return to programs which include it. You will not have to change any setting to receive Spanish audio through SAP nor can you disable video descriptions on your cable box.

Configuring SAP

For instructions on how to activate SAP on your receiver to receive video description, see the following articles:


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