Audio Description Resource Guide

Descriptive video is a form of audio-visual translation used primarily by blind and visually impaired consumers of television and film. Television and movies use descriptive video when they employ a Secondary Audio Program (SAP), when the images and actions on screen are described during natural pauses in the dialogue.

In addition to descriptive video, audio description includes live performances where a narrator describes the actions on stage, as well as tour guides who are trained to describe visual elements.

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) requires that ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC television affiliates in the top sixty markets of the United States provide fifty hours of described prime time and/or children’s programming per quarter. In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission began the process of changing that requirement to approximately eighty-two hours of descriptive primetime and/or children’s programming per quarter. Descriptive video for cable television, movie theaters, DVDs, and streaming video services is also becoming widely available.

This guide provides sources of descriptive video for television, film, DVDs, and web-streaming services, as well as information on audio-described live performances and tours. The guide includes information about the CVAA, the technology and training behind descriptive video, and vendors who provide descriptive services on demand. The contact information for each organization mentioned in the guide and a bibliography for further reading can be found at the end of the document.


Sources of Descriptive Video

Broadcast and Cable Television

ABC: Audio Description
ABC External
Current list of ABC programing with audio description.

Accessibility at USA Network
USA Network External
Includes information on accessing video description for content on the USA Network and a schedule of descriptive content. Updated daily.

Access to Emergency Information on Television
Federal Communications Commission External
Guidelines for using descriptive audio to relay emergency information scrolling on the bottom of a television to individuals who are blind or have a visual impairment, what emergency information should be included in the descriptive audio, and how to file a complaint.

DIRECTV: How Do I Enable My Video Description?
DIRECTV External
How to utilize video description with DIRECTV.

Fox Audio Description
Fox Broadcasting External
Lists current FOX primetime television shows with audio description.

Learn about Video Description Service
COX Cable External
Overview of video description, instructions on setting up voice guidance, and links to managing secondary audio programming settings.

Schedule of USA Audio Described TV Programs
American Council of the Blind Audio Description Project External
Plain text weekly, day-by-day schedule of television programs with audio description.

Video Description for U-verse TV
AT&T!/u-verse-tv/KM1065436 External
Introduces video description for AT&T U-verse consumers. Provides step-by-step instructions on setting up, enabling navigational sounds, and setting the default audio language and on-screen language preferences.

What is Video Description?
Comcast XFINITY External
Includes step-by-step instructions for enabling video description on an X1, Motorola TV BOX, SD digital adapter, or HD digital adapter.

Tribune Media External
Provides local television listings for the United States and Canada.

Feature Films

Assistive Moviegoing: Making Movies Fun for Everyone
AMC (Lowes Cineplex Entertainment, Cineplex Odeon, General Cinema Theaters) External
Describes assistive devices available from AMC movie theaters for people with visual impairment to hear audio description of the movie. Offers moviegoers the opportunity to leave comments about specific AMC theaters by going to External

Bow Tie Cinemas Theater Locator
Bow Tie Cinemas (Clearview Cinemas) External
Allows users to locate Bow Tie and Clearview Cinemas by address or ZIP code. Clearly states accessibility features offered on each location’s homepage.

CaptionFish Showtimes
CaptionFish External
Displays theaters, movies, and show times near you that offer descriptive video.

Captioning and Descriptive Video
Regal Entertainment Group (United Artist Theaters, Edwards Theaters, Cineplex Odeon) External
Describes captioning and descriptive video services offered by Regal movie theaters. Allows users to search Regal theaters by state and equipment available.

CineMark Theaters
CineMark (Century Theaters, Tinseltown USA, CineArts, and Rave Cinemas) External
Allows users to search for a CineMark theater by city, state, or zip code. Individual movie titles listed in show times indicate whether a movie has an audio description option.

Described Movies at Local Theaters
Described and Captioned Media Program [PDF]External
Introduces what described theater is, describes what kind of equipment is used, and provides links for finding theaters with video description.

Fandango External
Allows users to search show times by city, state, ZIP code, or movie. Highlights accessibility devices available at the theater/movie chosen above the show times. Also available on an app.

Landmark Theatres: Accessibility Equipment
Landmark Theatres External
Overview with illustrations of the accessibility equipment, including audio description, used in Landmark theaters. List of theaters by state includes accessibility features offered at that theater.

MoPix: Motion Picture Access External
Find current movies offered with descriptive video and search theaters with descriptive audio in the United States and Canada.

Showcase Cinemas: Assistive Moviegoing
Showcase Cinemas (Cinema Du Lux Multiplex, National Amusements, Superlux Locations) External
Information on visual and audio aid technology available through Showcase Cinemas.

Home Video

DVDs and Blu-ray Discs with Audio Description
American Council of the Blind, Audio Description Project External
Lists DVDs and Blu-ray Discs with audio description for the current year with the newest releases listed first. DVDs for past years listed back to 2010.

Streaming and Web-Based Video

Amazon Digital Content: Turn on Audio Descriptions
Amazon Prime External
Step-by-step instructions for turning audio descriptions on when watching streaming content on Amazon.

Audio Descriptions for Netflix Movies and TV Shows
Netflix External
Links to titles on Netflix with audio description, lists devices that will play audio description on Netflix, and provides contact information to get technical support.

Captioning and Video Description for the Web
Media Access Group at WGBH [PDF]External
Discusses adding captions and descriptive video to videos on websites.

Disney Movies Anywhere Audio Description
Disney Movies Anywhere External
Discusses how to enable audio description for the Disney Movies Anywhere app currently available on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, VIDI, and Microsoft Movies and TV.

Find audio-described content in the iTunes Store
Apple Support External
Provides step-by-step instructions for finding, downloading, and viewing descriptive video for iTunes content from a Mac or PC computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple TV.

How to Audio Describe a YouTube Video
Media Access Australia External
Discusses different options for adding audio description to YouTube videos.

How to Find Accessible Media
Media Access Australia External
Guidance on how to find audio description and closed captioned videos on iTunes and YouTube.

New and Future Releases External
Lists new and future releases of movies and TV shows with descriptive audio. Includes DVD and Amazon Video, Amazon’s streaming video service.

Streaming Video
American Council of the Blind, Audio Description Project External
Lists programming with audio description available from streaming video providers and web services.

Vimeo: Audio Described
Vimeo External
Allows users to search for videos with audio description on the streaming web service Vimeo.

Further Reading on Audio Description

Descriptive Video Technology, Training, and Vendors

3PlayMedia External
Accessible media company provides descriptive audio and closed captioning serves.

Accessibility Solutions and Research Center External
Non-profit educational organization providing audio description for students accessing video as part of their classroom experience.

Access-USA External
North American production house for all types of alternative media.

Arts Access External
Non-profit organization providing audio description on demand. Works with movie theaters to supply the Arts Access Audio Description headset for live performances. Website includes a list of services, a schedule of current audio described performances, and a directory of individuals and companies that supply audio description for live performances on demand.

Audio Description Institute
American Council of the Blind External
Source of training in audio description. Held as part of ACB’s Annual Conference in July and at several other times throughout the year.

Audio Description Training and Education Resources
American Council of the Blind, Audio Description Project External
Organization providing information on audio-describer training, educational description, and articles on the methods used to create audio description.

Audio Descriptive Associates: Training External
Audio description vendor offering training and workshops.

Descriptive Narration for TV, Films and Web-based Video
Media Access Group at WGBH [PDF]External
An introduction to described video.

The Development of the Descriptive Video Services
National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education through Technology, Media and Materials External
A detailed history of the development of descriptive video.

DV Works External
Organization providing audio description services for NBC, CBS, the Discovery Channel, Viacom channels (including Bravo, Comedy Central, VH1, and MTV), and the A&E channel. DV Works has described more than 11,000 television shows, including the recent Rio Olympic Games, and 800 major movies. Member of the Netflix Post Partner Program.

Media Access Group at WGBH External
Provider of closed captioning and descriptive video.

Use Audio Descriptions to Hear Narration Describing a Video Clip, Show, or Movie
Apple Support External
Instructions on how to turn on audio descriptions to view iTunes content on a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and how to create descriptive audio in Final Cut Pro X.

Performing Arts, Museums, and Tours

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability
The Kennedy Center External
Describes methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments, communicates information about arts and accessibility, and shares resources and knowledge among professionals.

Making Museums & Cultural Institutions Accessible
Media Access Group at WGBH [PDF]External
Includes ways to enhance the museum experience for visitors with disabilities.

Performing Arts with Audio Description
American Council of the Blind, Audio Description Project External
Offers overview of audio description of live performances.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)

Consumer Guide: Twenty-First Century Communications and Video
Accessibility Act
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [PDF]External
A short introduction to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), including what it means for consumers.

Consumer Help Center: Access for People with Disabilities
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) External
Guidelines for filing an accessibility complaint with the FCC.

Legal Requirements for Audio Description
3Play Media External
Article explores federal laws and regulations regarding descriptive video services.

Media Bureau Announces Comment and Reply Deadlines for Video Description Expansion Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Federal Communications Commission [PDF]External
Official public notice of the FCC’s intention to expand the hours that broadcast networks are required to offer descriptive audio.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
Federal Communications Commission External
A line-by-line consumer guide to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. Also available in Spanish.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
Federal Communications Commission External

Summary of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.
Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
US Government Information [PDF]External
Official text of the 2010 act to increase the access of people with disabilities to modern communications.

Video Description of Video Programming
US Government Publishing Office (GPO) External
Text of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47 (Telecommunication), Part 79 (Accessibility of Video Programming), §79.3.


Aafaq, Nayyer, Syed Zulqarnain Gilani, Wei Liu, and Ajmal Mian. “Video Description: A Survey of Methods, Datasets, and Evaluation Metrics.” ArXiv:1806.00186, June 1, 2018. Retrieved from External

Alamri, Huda, Vincent Cartillier, Rapheal Gontijo Lopes, Abhishek Das, Jue Wang, Irfan Essa, Dhruv Batra, et al. “Audio Visual Scene-Aware Dialog (AVSD) Challenge at DSTC7.” ArVix, June 1, 2018.

Anderman, Gunilla, and Jorge Diaz-Cintas, eds. Audiovisual Translation:Language Transfer on Screen. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Cintas, Jorge Diaz, Pilar Orero, and Aline Remael, eds. Media for All: Subtitling for the Deaf, Audio Description, and Sign Language (Approaches to Translation Studies 30). 1st ed. New York, NY: Rodopi, 2007.

Cryer, Heather and Sarah Home. “Exploring the Use of Synthetic Speech by Blind and Partially Sighted People.” RNIB Centre for Accessible Information. Birmingham, UK: Literature Review #2, November 2008.

Cryer, Heather and Sarah Home. “User attitudes towards synthetic speech for Talking Books.” RNIB Centre for Accessible Information. Birmingham, UK: Research Report #7, May 13, 2009.

Douze, Matthijs, Hervé Jégou, Cordelia Schmid, and Patrick Pérez. “Compact Video Description for Copy Detection with Precise Temporal Alignment.” In European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV ’10), 522-35. Proceedings of Compact Video Description for Copy Detection with Precise Temporal Alignment, Greece, Heraklion. Vol. 6311. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2010.

Kent, Michael, Katie Ellis, and Kathryn Locke. Audio Description and Australian Television: A Position Paper. Working paper. School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry (MCASI), Curtin University of Technology, School of Media. 2018.

Kent, Michael, Katie Ellis, Gwyneth Peaty, Latter Natalie, and Kathryn Locke. Mainstreaming Captions for Online Lectures in Higher Education in Australia. Working Paper. Curtin University of Technology, Department of Internet Studies. 2017.

Laokulrat, Natsuda, Naoaki Okazaki, and Hideki Nakayama. “Incorporating Semantic Attention in Video Description Generation.” In LREC. 2018. Retrieved from [pdf]External

Contact Information

Accessibility Solutions and Research Center
512 Means St. NW, Ste. 250
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 894-8000
866-279-2964 toll-free
866-418-2750 customer support toll-free
[email protected] External

PO Drawer 160
242 James St.
Clayton, NY 13624
800-263-2750 toll-free External Inc.
410 Terry Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 266-1000 External

AMC Entertainment, Inc.
PO Box 725489
Atlanta, GA 31139-9923 External

American Council of the Blind
1703 N. Beauregard St., Ste. 420
Alexandria, VA 22311
(202) 467-5081
800-424-8666 toll-free External

American Foundation for the Blind
2 Penn Plz., Ste. 1102
New York, NY 10121
(212) 502-7600 External

Apple Accessibility and Assistive Technology Support
877-204-3930 toll-free
800-694-7466 iPhone support toll-free
800-275-2273 corporate toll-free

Arts Access Inc.
PO Box 10574
Raleigh, NC 27605
(919) 833-9919 External

AT&T DirecTV
800-531-5000 customer support toll-free External

Audio Description Associates
6502 Westmoreland Ave.
Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 920-0218 24-hour messaging service
[email protected]

Bow Tie Cinemas
641 Danbury Rd.
Ridgefield, CT 06877
(203) 659-2600
[email protected] External

CaptionFish External

CineMark USA, Inc.
3900 Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 500
Plano, TX 75093
800-246-3627 toll-free External

Columbia Broadcasting System
51 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019
888-274-5343 toll-free External

Comcast Center
1701 JFK Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
800-934-6489 Comcast XFINITY
customer service toll-free External

Cox Communications
6205 B Peachtree Dunwoody Rd. NE
Atlanta, GA 30328
888-278-6660 toll-free External

Described and Captioned Media Program
National Association of the Deaf
1447 E. Main St.
Spartanburg, SC 29307
800-237-6213 toll-free

Disney/ABC Television Group
77 W. 66th St., Rm. 100
New York, NY 10023
(212) 465-7777
[email protected] External

Fandango Media
12200 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. 400
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 954-0279
866-857-5191 customer service toll-free External

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
445 12th St. SW
Washington, DC 20554
888-225-5322 toll-free External

Fox Broadcasting Company
10201 W. Pico Blvd., Bldg. 1003220
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 369-1000 External

Government Publishing Office
732 N. Capitol St. NW
Washington, DC 20401
(202) 512-1800 External

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) Conference
The John F. Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW
Washington, DC 20566
(202) 416-8727
800-444-1327 toll-free
[email protected] External

Media Access Group at WGBH/MoPix Motion Picture Access
One Guest St.
Boston, MA 02135
(617) 300-3600
[email protected] External

Regal Entertainment Group
7132 Regal Ln.
Knoxville, TN 37918
865-922-1123 corporate toll-free
877-835-5734 option 2 customer service
toll-free External

Sandy Luna
M&E Digital Operations Group
345 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
[email protected]

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