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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Audio Description Project

The Audio Description Project (ADP) is sponsored by the American Council of the Blind. This project strives to increase the awareness and availability of audio description among those who are blind or visually impaired as well as the rest of the general public. The American Council of the Blind defines audio description as follows: "Audio Description involves the accessibility of the visual images of theater, television, movies, and other art forms for people who are blind, have low vision, or who are otherwise visually impaired." Audio description is essentially a narration service that describes for a blind or visually impaired person what a sighted person can see. The Talking Book Library has a large and growing collection of movies on DVD and VHS that include audio described tracks. In the past year we have seen more and more DVD distribution companies include audio described tracks in recently released feature films. What many people don't know is that there are also a few primetime television programs that audio described tracks have been produced for as a Second Audio Program (SAP) channel. The problem is that television networks (including cable and satelite television providers) are not required to broadcast this secondary audio feed or modify a subscriber's equipment so that it can be accessed. The movement to make this a requirement has gained momentum lately with the passage of bills in the House of Representatives and Senate that almost guarantees the FCC the authority to mandate audio description to the largest networks in the largest population areas. The next step is to get television manufacturers and the cable and satelite television providers to modify their products and services. The following is a list of local cable and satelite televison providers that you can contact regarding the availability of audio described television in your area:
Comcast: 1-800-226-2278
Dish Network: 1-866-686-2388
DirecTV: 1-800-531-5000
Here is the link to The Audio Description Project: