Q. I am blind, and I do not subscribe to any streaming video services at the moment. How would you suggest I determine, quickly, whether a good percentage of the original content and current popular third-party content on Netflix and Amazon Prime, for starters, is audio-described and/or dubbed?
A. A good place to start is the Audio Description Project page on the website of the American Council of the Blind. The page, optimized for screen-reader software, has a running list of streaming services that offer videos with “audio descriptions” — added narration about scenes, characters, costumes and more — for people who cannot see what is happening. The list, which is updated regularly, is available at www.acb.org/adp/streaming.html.
According to the council, Netflix has more than “500 audio-described TV series, documentaries, original programming and children’s shows in the U.S.A.,” including most of the company’s original productions, like “House of Cards.” Although you must be a member to get access to Netflix’s full list of current videos with audio descriptions, the council’s site has compiled its own alphabetized list of audio-described Netflix content at www.acb.org/adp/netflixad.html.
Amazon Prime Video has about 350 movies and TV shows with audio descriptions, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and a number of popular theatrical films. The council’s own tally of Amazon Prime shows is at acb.org/adp/amazonad.html.
The Audio Description Project page notes several other streaming services and broadcast shows that are accessible, including Apple’s iTunes Store for purchased and rented video. The WatchABC app for mobile devices and some set-top boxes has audio-described content.
Some other video services have been slow to add audio descriptions, but as technology enables more accessibility with television, expect to hear of more available content. For the curious, sample clips with audio description can be found on YouTube.
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