By Graham Gunning.
If you have not tried audio description or not sure what it is, audio description or AD for short is a narrated audio track that describes the visuals and subtitles for films and tv programmes. If AD is available, it will be shown as English audio description. Not all content will be audio described and not all streaming services support audio description. For films you will find it in the audio language section of the film and tv programmes will have an AD sign next to the programme’ name in the tv guide. Below is a list of the UK’s Tv and streaming services that support AD and how to access it.
Netflix was one of the first streaming services to introduce audio description when they launched their original tv series Dare Devil. Since then, they have added more audio described content including Breaking Bad, Narcos and Seinfeild. The best way to check if a film or tv programme on Netflix has audio description is to go to a film or programme and select the audio language options. You can also access the AD track by selecting the subtitles and audio icon from the playback controls. Netflix have created an Audio description category which you can find in the category section of the Netflix app.
Apple was the first of the streaming services to apply audio description from the beginning of Apple TV and currently the only platform to provide multiple AD languages. Programmes available with audio description include Ted Lasso, See and The Morning Show. The easiest way to find out if AD is available is to select a programme or film and in the synopsis, you will find a list of all the supported formats including audio description. You can also access the AD track from the playback controls by selecting the more option icon. Apple has also added an audio description feature to their accessibility options. When turned on audio description will play automatically. To turn it on go to settings, accessibility and then audio description. You can also buy films that have AD from the Itunes store by searching for audio description.
Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon prime video began adding audio description to their original tv series and films not long after Netflix. In the beginning the audio described content was quite sporadic. You would get a season of a tv programme audio described but not the next season. Since then, Amazon have done an excellent job of adding audio description to their content which include Bosch, Reacjer and The Grand Tour. The easiest way to find AD on prime video is to go to a film or tv programme you wish to watch and go to the language options. If available there will be more than one language to select. You can also select the AD from the playback controls by selecting the language and subtitles icon. Like Apple Amazon has added an audio description feature which will play any AD content automatically. To turn it on go to settings, accessibility and then audio description.
When it comes to audio described content on Disney plus it is a tale of two cities. Like apple, Disney implemented audio description from the start but only for their original content. Such titles include Marvel, The Mandalorian and classic Disney films. There is no audio description for any of the content available from the star play or Nat Geo category. The only way to check if AD is available is to select the audio and subtitles menu from the playback controls of a chosen film or tv programme.
The BBC was the first of the British tv providers to provide audio description for their catch-up service. Like Netflix, The BBC Iplayer has its own category for audio description and is the best way of locating the audio described content. Such content includes Line of Duty, Peeky Blinders and Luther. To access the AD category first select the menu icon. Next go to the category list and select audio described. You can also find the AD track in the subtitles and settings menu in the playback controls.
ITV Hub and STV Player.
ITV have recently added audio description for their catch-up service ITV Hub. Unfortunately, at this time the audio described content is only available on the mobile app. There is an audio description category available and is the quickest path to the audio described programmes. Supported programmes include A Touch of Frost and Family Guy. To access the AD category, select the category tab in the app and then select AD from the list. As for the STV player there is no audio description available.
Channel fours catch-up service All Four has a broad selection of audio description available which include Fargo, Derry Girls and SAS Who Dares Wins. The only way to check if a programme is audio described on All four is to select the AD icon from the programme playback controls. You only need to select the AD icon once to enable audio description for all the supported programmes.
Both of Sky’s satellite boxes Sky Q and Sky plus support audio description. The easiest way to turn on AD on sky q is to use the voice input on your sky q remote and say turn on audio description. For sky plus, press the help button on your sky plus remote, go down once and then right once to turn on audio description. You can also find the AD options for both sky boxes via settings. For Sky Q go to settings, accessibility and then audio description and for sky plus press the services button on your remote, go to accessibility and then audio description. Sky has added an additional AD setting for both boxes called beep for audio description. When turned on you will get a beep sound to indicate that audio description is available. You will find beep for audio description directly under audio description on your sky box. Currently Sky’s catch-up and streaming app Sky Go does not support Audio description. If you are a sky q customer, you can watch recorded audio described programmes from your sky q box via Sky go if you are on the same WIFI network.
Both of virgin media TVO boxes supports audio description. The quickest way to enable audio description is to press the info button on your remote, go down three times to audio and then press select to turn it on. You can also enable it from settings by going to settings, audio, and then alternative audio. virgin media streaming and catch-up app virgin tv go does not support audio description. Like Sky, you can watch your recorded AD programmes from your TVO box via the virgin tv control app if you are on the same WIFI network. If you have Virgin 360 you can also use voice commands to turn on AD using the remote.
Most smart tv’s will support audio description. Depending on your tv make you will either find audio description in either the audio or accessibility settings of your tv.
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