“This page is a digitally archived AccessInfo Announcement”

On November 20, 2015, the FCC released a Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2nd FNPRM) addressing issues concerning user interfaces on video programming devices, such as televisions and cable set top boxes. This proceeding follows rules adopted in 2013 that had required manufacturers and video programming distributors to make these user interfaces accessible to people with disabilities.  The new rules take steps to ensure that viewers know about the existence of these accessible features and devices,   and get the support needed to use them.

The Report and Order requires that people with disabilities receive access to information and documentation on the functionalities of these devices, including in user guides, bills, installation guides, and product support information, and through technical support. It also requires equipment manufacturers to notify consumers about the availability of accessible devices on their websites. Both manufacturers and video programming distributors must also provide a contact person or office to answer questions about their accessible equipment and features.

In the Order on Reconsideration, the FCC ruled that it is not acceptable to use voice control as the sole means of activation for closed captioning because this will not be “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon,’’ for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, as required by the CVAA.  At the same time, the Order finds that closed captioning and video description activation mechanisms relying on gesture control will be permissible if they are simple and easy to use.

In the 2nd FNPRM, the FCC proposes to require manufacturers and video programming distributors to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning, and seeks comment for the FCC’s authority to adopt these rules under the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990.

The comment due dates will be announced when a summary of the FNPRM is published in the Federal Register.

Links to the Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration and FNPRM:

For further information contact Maria Mullarkey of Media Bureau at Maria.Mullarkey@fcc.gov or (202) 418‐1067.

 

Updated: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2016