UK: Audio description now mandatory on Freeview TV receivers

Monday, 8 August 2011 11:44am

All new HD digital set top boxes and integrated digital TVs sold in the UK will now have to receive audio description to qualify for approval by Freeview (the trademark for free-to-air digital TV services).

"This is great news for blind and partially sighted people, as AD was always an optional feature available on some digital TVs and set top boxes,” said Raheel Malick, Development Officer (Digital Media) at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Audio description is now well established on British television. Most channels which have been broadcasting on digital for ten years are required to audio describe 10% of their programs, butthe BBC, Channel 4 and BSkyB have voluntarily committed to doing 20%. For more information on audio description in the UK, see RNIB’s website.

In its final report from the Media Access Review released last December, the Federal Government announced that a trial of audio description would take place on ABC1 in the second half of 2011, subject to funding approval. It has not yet been confirmed that the trial will go ahead.

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