Netflix, Video on Demand, and Streaming services
AD is currently available in a subscription capacity on Australian television via video on demand (Netflix, iTunes), pay TV (such as Foxtel offerings via the Big Access Media Describe app), and DVDs for rent or purchase. For more detail on these web services, see below.
Audio Description is available for most Netflix original titles, as well as other select movies and TV shows. Titles that currently have audio description available can be found at netflix.com/browse/audio-description (note: you must be logged in to use this search function). Closed Captions are listed as ‘subtitles’ but use the ‘CC’ icon on selecting the English Subtitle option. Once played, captions and audio description can be turned on and off via the ‘speech bubble’ icon.
Apple TV and iTunes
Apple give detailed instructions on how to access audio description via the iTunes store. Both captions and audio description are available for many titles. There is also a ‘remote free’ access option, including Switch control and bluetooth keyboard, and Siri remote. VoiceOver allows access to subtitles with a braille display, and the Accessibility Shortcut can be used to access specific features. Apple TV user guides are available in braille.
Following in the footsteps of Netflix and iTunes, Amazon Prime introduced their own audio description service in 2017. The inbuilt audio description search function makes finding audio described films and TV quite simple. Captions are found within the ‘subtitles’ category.
Video streaming website Hulu (available in Australia via VPN) became somewhat notorious for being inaccessible and not providing audio description. In late 2017 a class action lawsuit was filed against Hulu claiming that the platform “discriminates against those who are blind and visually impaired by not providing audio description on any of their movies or TV shows.” In February 2019, Hulu began offering audio described content; instructions on how to access these titles can be found here.
Australian streaming company STAN now offers both captions and audio description for most, but not all, of their titles. Instructions on how to activate these features on STAN can be found here.
Disney Plus provides audio description for some, but not all, of their titles. When available, audio description can be activated by clicking the ‘tool’ icon in the upper right corner of the screen while a show is playing and selecting English AD from the drop down menu. Information on how to activate closed captions on Disney Plus using different devices is available here.
Binge provides captions for some content, but no audio description as yet. Detail on how to activate captions on Binge using different devices is available here.
Tubi provides captions for some content, but no audio description as yet. Detail on how to activate captions on Tubi using different devices is available here.
Kanopy provides captions for some content, but no audio description as yet. Detail on how to activate captions on Kanopy using different devices is available here.