A few months ago, Stevie Wonder visited the FCC to talk about how we can harness the power of technology to make performance art more accessible. At that time, I discovered that Mr. Wonder would be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. When he urged the FCC to raise awareness about and availability of audio description of video programming, I thought the Grammy special would be a wonderful showcase.
On February 16, 2015, thanks to the leadership of CBS CEO Les Moonves, CBS will use video description on its broadcast of "Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life - an All-Star GRAMMY Salute." It is the first time video description has ever been used for a musical performance program.
If you're unfamiliar with video description technology, it's a feature that allows consumers who are blind or visually impaired to listen to an audio track describing a video program's visual elements when there is no audio accompanying those elements. The audio describes non-verbal actions taking place on the screen, such as a body language, scene changes, setting, visual jokes, costumes or other content. People who can see take for granted these silent but essential aspects of programming, but, without video description, people who are blind miss them.
Many popular television programs today offer video description services, including Fox's "Bones," NBC's "Grimm," PBS's "Downton Abbey," Nickelodeon's "Go Diego Go, " USA's "Royal Pains," and many more. You can experience what video description offers to the public by watching this video clip.
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