Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Descriptive Video Service (DVS): Making Television And Movies More Accessible

Descriptive Video Service (DVS) is a national service that makes Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television programs, Hollywood movies on video, and other visual media accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. DVS was launched nationally in 1990 by the WGBH Educational Foundation (the producer of many prime time public television programs and a leader in the development of accessible media).

DVS provides a narrated description of key visual elements without interfering with the audio or dialogue portions of a program or movie. The narration describes visual elements such as actions, settings, body language and graphics.

To take advantage of DVS, a viewer must live within range of a PBS station that carries DVS and also must have a stereo TV or VCR that includes the Second Audio Program (SAP) feature. (This feature comes standard on most new stereo televisions and videocassette recorders.) Inexpensive receivers that convert TV sets to stereo with SAP also can be purchased. Viewers subscribing to cable should ask the cable company to "pass through" stereo with SAP.

Over 200 described popular Hollywood movies and PBS programs are available for purchase by direct mail. A viewer needs only a regular VHS videocassette recorder (VCR) and a television to watch these videos and to hear the descriptions. The SAP feature is not required.

DVS home videos are also available for loan from more than 1,200 libraries nationwide and can be rented at a select number of Blockbuster video locations. The DVS Home Video Guide and Catalog are available in large-print, braille, and audio via the DVS Information Line.

Descriptive Video Service (DVS)
125 Western Ave.
Boston, MA 02134
Toll Free: 800-333-1203
Phone: 617-492 2777

Searching for DVS? Check These Major Movie Chain Websites

Many blind and visually impaired people are looking for theaters equipped with DVS so they can better enjoy big screen movies. As several theater chains are now listing accessible films and showtimes on their Websites, we want to take this opportunity to provide you with those site addresses. Helpful hint: some chains require you to know which theater in your area is equipped prior to finding the info on their sites. For a full list of MoPix locations, searchable by state, first go to and link to "View Theaters". The following list of theater chains is from WGBH, a leading provider of DVS and was last updated January 2007.

Here's another informational website where you will find information about what audio description is and how it works, as well as details about the history of audio description. This site is constantly updated with audio description developments happening both in Australia and internationally, and it contains information about other organisations that help with audio description services.

This website benefits people looking for a technological solution to media accessibility, not only the blind and vision impaired but other groups as well.

Other information about DVDs, Cinema, TV and the Arts is also available here, including a complete listing of DVD titles available in Australia.

Click this link to visit

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