What is Video Description?

Comcast customers who are blind or have low vision can enjoy increased access to TV programs with video description.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is video description?
Video description refers to audio-narrated descriptions of key visual elements of programming inserted within natural pauses in dialogue. Video description makes television programs, feature films and other media accessible to people who are blind or who have low vision, creating a richer, more independent experience. For example, video description describes key visual elements such as actions, facial expressions, costumes or scene changes in a program that a blind or visually impaired viewer would otherwise miss.

How do I access video description?
For more information, please see: For video description on Android devices using XFINITY apps, see: How do I find programs that have Video Description?
The cable networks and broadcasters determine what content receives video description and how information on that programming is provided to the public. Video description is available on select programs as they air live, when you watch them later on your DVR and on select XFINITY On Demand programs.

When XFINITY X1 customers browse the On-Screen Guide on their TV, the information for each program will note whether video description is available, indicated by the video description logo:
Video Description logo.

If enabled, voice guidance will announce the availability of video description as you explore the program's information in the Guide - see X1 Talking Guide: The Voice Guidance Feature.

The XFINITY TV web and mobile platforms also support video description services. Currently these platforms are only available to XFINITY X1 customers in select markets. Learn more about Comcast's Accessibility services at http://www.xfinity.com/accessibility.

Some programmers may label programming with video description through logos that appear on your television screen and audio tones as a program begins.

Regulatory Requirements

Is video description a legal requirement?
On August 25, 2011, the FCC released an order requiring video description on certain TV programming as directed by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. The new rules requiring video description went into effect on July 1, 2012. The goal of these rules is to improve access to TV programming for people who are blind or have low vision. Over time, this will lead to more programming containing video description.

What does Comcast have to do?
Comcast needs to ensure that all Comcast-leased TV Boxes and DTAs are capable of selecting video description services (and passing through video description where provided). Comcast must ensure that the top five non-broadcast networks (i.e., cable networks) provide at least 50 hours per calendar quarter of video-described prime time or children's programming.

Which broadcasters and programmers are required to offer Video Description?
Broadcast stations affiliated with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC must provide at least 50 hours (roughly four hours per week) of video-described prime time or children's programming each quarter. In addition, as noted above, the top five cable networks (USA, Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite and TBS) must provide at least 50 hours per calendar quarter of video-described prime time or children's programming. Select programs with video description are also available on PBS and Turner Classic Movies.

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