The particular ‘Wonders’ of Video Description Technology

A few months ago, Stevie Wonder visited the FCC to speak 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 Accomplishment Grammy Award. When he advised 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 sixteen, 2015, thanks to the leadership of CBS TELEVISION STUDIOS CEO Les Moonves, CBS will use video description on its broadcast of “Stevie Wonder: Songs within the Key of Life – an All-Star GRAMMY Salute. ” It is the first time video description has ever been used for a musical performance system.

If you’re not familiar with video description technology, it’s a function that allows consumers who are blind or even visually impaired to listen to an sound track describing a video program’s visual elements when there is no audio associated those elements. The audio identifies non-verbal actions taking place on the display screen, such as a body language, scene changes, setting, visual jokes, costumes or some other content. People who can see take for granted these types of silent but essential aspects of programming, but , without video description, people who are blind miss them.

Many popular television applications today offer video description solutions, including Fox’s “Bones, ” NBC’s “Grimm, ” PBS’s “Downton Abbey, ” Nickelodeon’s “Go Diego Move, ” USA’s “Royal Pains, inch and many more. You can experience what movie description offers to the public simply by watching this video clip.

Current FCC rules require major broadcast networks and their affiliate marketers in the 25 largest TV marketplaces and the top 5 cable networks to provide a minimum of 50 hours every 3 months of video-described prime-time and kid’s programming. I am pleased to note that several networks – for example CBS, PBS and Fox – are going apart from current FCC rules. We thank them for their efforts to make their programming accessible, and we look forward to July, when new rules will require more markets to air described programming.

In the coming weeks, the FCC’s new Disability Advisory Committee will be addressing video explanation issues, along with other accessible technology problems, as we work to encourage conversation among technologists, networks, and the window blind and visually impaired community. Hopefully to explore the potential for development of new applications that can sync video description in order to smart devices that can be used while watching movie programming. These efforts continue the particular Commission’s ongoing work to make availability a reality for all users.

This week, I met using a group of students from local colleges for the deaf. The fact that their concerns were similar to those raised within my conversation with Stevie Wonder verifies the importance of this agency’s role in assuring that communication and media resources are available and accessible in order to everyone. Whether it be the Commission’s utilization of sign language by video on this customer support line or private sector leaders going beyond the minimum amount in providing accessible content such as Monday’s Stevie Wonder special, it is necessary that we continue striving toward to the goal of providing greater gain access to for people with disabilities.

To access the description track of an application, use the menu system of your tv and select the “secondary audio function, ” or “SAP. ” A few TV sets identify this as “Spanish” or “SPA” since that track also is sometimes used to supply translations into Spanish or some other languages .


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