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About Video Description Service

Last Updated: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 > Related Articles

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Learn about the Video Description service that is available on some network programming to help assist the blind and visually impaired.


 Video Description Overview


Video Description is audio-narrated descriptions of a television program’s key visual elements. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the program’s English dialogue. Video Description makes TV programming more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

On August 25, 2011, the FCC adopted rules to implement the video description provision of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, passed by Congress in 2010. All video distributors like Cox including DirecTV, Dish, Verizon, and AT&T are required to ensure that programming identified in the rule includes video description.



Currently only the top four commercial television broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) as well as the top five cable networks (USA, Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon and TBS)in the major markets are required to provide video description on a segment of programming provided for distribution. Though not required by the FCC at this time, other networks may also provide programming with video description.

Per FCC rules, video description will be included in 50 hours of prime time and/or children’s programming per quarter, or an average of about 4 hours per week. Actual availability times may vary by network.   

To turn on video description (for television shows enabled with it) on a TV connected to a Cox cable box, the SAP audio setting must be on.  To resume normal audio, the setting must be switched back to primary audio.  

If you do not have a cable box connected to your TV, to access video description you need to switch your TV setting to SAP. 

Note: Do not change both the TV and cable box settings to SAP. If the TV is connected to a cable, only the cable box should have SAP enable.

Changes to Current SAP Functionality


If you have configured your cable box or television to play SAP audio to listen to Spanish language track for a show, when video descriptions are available in televisions shows it will temporarily replace the Spanish language audio track with English descriptions and dialogue.

Once the show is over, Spanish language audio should automatically return to programs which include it. You will not have to change any setting to receive Spanish audio through SAP when this nor can you disable video descriptions on your cable box.

Configuring SAP


For instructions on how to turn on SAP on our cable box to receive video description, see the following articles:

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