Audio Description Comes to Amazon

Date Posted: 07/07/2017

by Bill Holton, AccessWorld correspondent

Amazon has been on a real tear lately improving the accessibility of their various products and services. In the May issue of AccessWorld, we described how you can now read Kindle books on your PC using the free NVDA screen reader. We also outlined several new enhancements the company has incorporated into the VoiceView screen reader for their accessible Fire TV devices. We noted at the time that we were still waiting for the big daddy of streaming video accessibility—audio description. Well, it’s finally here and, at the time of this writing, audio description was available on more than 100 movies from studios such as Disney, Lionsgate, NBC, Paramount, and Warner Brothers.

Many of these titles are available only for rental or purchase from Amazon, but their initial library of described titles includes 10 popular Amazon Original TV shows available free with a subscription to Amazon Prime—see more news about Amazon Prime below. You can view and search an updated list of video titles that include audio descriptions by going to Amazon.com/video/audiodescription. Audio description is available on Fire TV and tablets and using the Prime Video app for both the iPhone and Android. To enable audio description, all you need to do is access the "Subtitles and Audio" menu on your device during playback. Select the "English- audio description" option from the "Subtitles and Audio" menu. Press Close and audio description will begin immediately. You should only have to do this once; subsequent videos should begin with audio description enabled by default.

If you need further assistance with audio description, contact Amazon at 866-216-1072 and ask for a digital representative. Additionally, Prime Video is an add-on service available to subscribers of Amazon Prime. The service costs $99 per year, but if you are on government assistance, you may be eligible for a discounted no-contract rate of $5.99 per month. Learn more at Amazon.com/qualify.

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