Presented by Larry Goldberg, WGBH/National Center for Accessible Media
Open Commission Meeting - November 30, 2010

Introduction to Video Description

Though most of us are thoroughly familiar with closed captioning, video description is a lesser-known but equally essential service used by people with disabilities to access TV. Video description is defined as, "recorded narration of key visual elements of a TV program or movie, timed to fit into the gaps in dialog, and scripted to enable understanding and enjoyment of visual media by people who are blind or visually impaired."

Today, video description is available in some movie theaters, on DVDs, online and on a very small number of television shows. Here is a sample of video description from WGBH's "ARTHUR." [ Play/Download mov file or watch in player below ]

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Introduction to Accessible Set-top Box Developments

As increasingly complex home media components began to proliferate over the past decade, consumers who are blind or visually impaired began to lose the ability to control their own viewing environment, even the ability to change channels or know what program is on. With the advent of DTV, the level of complexity increased even more. R&D projects in the US, UK and elsewhere began building prototypes to enable "talking menus" of all on-screen controls and information, including electronic program guides. In England, the resulting technology is now available on the market. In the US, a grant from the Department of Education enabled WGBH's National Center for Accessible Media to create the following prototype using the open-source MythTV platform. The following clip shows how a blind person can navigate an on-screen programming menu using audio prompts. [ Play/Download QuickTime file or watch in player below ]

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Introduction to Captioning on an iPhone

Web surfing via mobile devices is becoming increasingly common. TV and video viewing on mobile devices is also becoming more common, especially with the recent launch of the mobile DTV standard and devices that support it. And in terms of access to mobile media, both Blackberry and Apple support closed captions on their smart phones. Here's what closed captions look like on an iPhone. [ Play/Download QuickTime file or watch in player below ]

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Updated: 
Thursday, May 14, 2015