How to receive audio description? You can access audio descriptions on a variety of devices including but not limited to cable TV, Amazon Fire TV and tablets, and TiVo. Because there are many devices, there is no single standardized method for receiving description. However, most systems depend on the concept of a “Second Audio Program,” or SAP, which is now defunct and all that’s left of it is its name. Some devices are easier than others, but at some point, you might need to call your local cable or satellite provider for help. Please go forward and file a complaint with the FCC if they didn’t respond or refused to help.
Major TV channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, USA, the Disney Channel, and The History Channel are required by law to provide 50 hours of audio descriptions, and that will increase to 87.5 hours by July 2018. Local stations, satellite providers, and cable companies are also obligated to provide audio-described prime time or children’s programming per calendar quarter.
The audio description on TV is somewhat entangled due to unclear law and rules. Interestingly, a group of blind individuals took AMC theatres to court in light of poor audio description service. They won the case, and AMC is now obligated to provide top service to blind and low vision people.
Is audio description available on Netflix? Mostly yes, audio description is downloadable for most Netflix original titles, and other handpicked movies and TV shows. Soon audio descriptions will be available for more shows and on more devices.
How to become an audio describer? It is a noble profession that requires a lot of patience and resilience. You will work on tight deadlines, and you must be able to think and react quickly especially in a live performance. You must have a good command of your voice’s tonality to convey important elements from the visual aspects. It also helps to have other talents in acting, broadcasting, and voiceover work.
Many unions and organizations can train and certify you, one of them is The American Council of the Blind. There is still a lot of work ahead so be prepared.