Described TV and DVDs

Descriptive Narration

Many people are familiar with closed captioning, the means by which the dialogue and sound effects of a film or television program are made visible via on-screen text. However, description, for viewers who are blind or have low vision, is less familiar. Description conveys the key visual aspects of a film or television program by describing scenery, facial expressions, costumes during natural pauses in dialogue.

You can listen to a clip of Disney's The Lion King with descriptive narration created by The Media Access Group at WGBH. Because people who are deaf or hard of hearing have few opportunities to "experience" description, this clip also has closed captioning.

Audio Description Project - This site contains extensive information about audio description, from what is it, to samples, to who does it, to how and where it is available in various media.  (An initiative of the American Council for the Blind.)

Television networks to provide described programming

Several television networks, including ABC, CBS, Fox, and TNT, have each added approximately four hours a week of described video programming. (October 17, 2012)

These accessible offerings are required under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). For more information on the CVAA, a list of described programs, and instructions for accessing described video, visit http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/video-description.

Mainstream Movies

In the fall of 2009, several studios announced that they would be releasing mainstream movies on DVD with captions and described narration.

  • Accessible DVDs for Movies at Home - A list of films that have been released on DVD with captions and descriptive narration, as well as information about the effort to increase their availability. (From the Media Access Group at WGBH.)
  • MoPix (Motion Picture Access) - "Making movie theaters accessible to disabled audiences."


Last Updated: February 26, 2014