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Streaming Video Services Offering Audio Description

Video Streaming"Streaming video" (or VOD, Video On Demand) refers to video (like a movie) which is delivered to an end-user upon request (demand) over the Internet in a continuous transmission or stream.  Typically, the video is viewed in real time, but it may also be capable of being downloaded for later viewing.  When a subscription fee is charged (like Netflix), this delivery mechanism is called SVOD, Subscription Video On Demand.  If you make the purchases one at a time (like iTunes), it is called TVOD, Transactional Video On Demand.  These methods of delivery are different from over-the-air, cable, or satellite television, or a video on disc.  (You can learn about those alternative methods of delivery on our Television or DVDs web pages.)  LAST UPDATE:  Jul 9, 2019.

Streaming Media Players for TV

Many new TV sets offer Internet access with direct access to multiple streaming services mentioned below.  Alternatively, you may purchase a number of devices which plug into one of your TV's input ports (typically the HDMI connector), and from there you switch the input to that port, answer setup questions one time to connect to your wireless internet, possibly download one or more free apps, and then access the services listed below through this new device.  On some TVs, the device is actually built-in.  While there are a few other similar devices, here is a list of the most popular devices:

Airline In-Flight Entertainment Systems Updated June '19

AirplaneThe following airlines are known to provide audio described content via their in-flight entertainment systems:  American, ANA (Japan), British Airways, Delta, Emirates, KLM, Lufthansa, United, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia.  Such services would only be available on flights offering individual screens on seat backs or those which support using your own device (like an iPad or computer).  Note, however, that most services do not offer audio MENUS, so you will probably need sighted assistance to select a movie with AD.  For more information on accessible airline in-flight entertainment systems, see this post in the Perkins Blog:  How to Watch Audio Described Movies on Your Next Flight

Streaming Services Updated July '19

The following section lists all we know about video streaming services, with the ones actually providing some description listed first.  Most, but not all, require a subscription or pay-per-view.  Our table is divided into four categories:

Service Description of Offering Examples

The following services include SOME audio described programming.

Netflix logo

The dominant* provider of streaming video with audio description is Netflix, a subscription service available in nearly 200 countries ($9-$16/month in the USA for unlimited viewing using web browsers, tablets, and handheld computing devices).  They offer over 900 audio described TV series, documentaries, original programming, and children's shows in the USA.  Once a member, you can find a link labeled "Audio Description" at the bottom of the main page when viewed via a web browser, or in a menu on other devices, or you can see our alphabetized list of Audio Described Programs on Netflix anytime.  See our page Audio Description via Netflix for more information.  (As of year-end 2018, Netflix has over 160 million subscribers with over 60 million in the United States.)  NOTE:  Netflix was the recipient of the ADP's 2015 Achievement in Audio Description – Media, as well as the AFB's 2017 Helen Keller Achievement Award.

Criminal Minds (TV Series), Grace and Frankie (Original Programming), Making a Murderer (Documentary), 3 Indiana Jones and Solo: A Star Wars Story (movies), plus lots of children's programming
iTunes logo

Apple's iTunes offers over 1000 movies with audio description tracks for rent (streaming) or purchase (downloading).  They are designated with the icon AD after the movie title in the description.  To find audio described content on iTunes, open iTunes, go to Store, select Movies (Ctrl-2 on a PC, Command-2 on a Mac), and click "Movies with Audio Descriptions" in the Movies Quick Links, which is on the side in a PC or Mac browser, or the bottom on an iPad.  If you have a Safari browser, you can click this iTunes AD link.  You may also check individual movies of interest, or see our alphabetized list of Audio Described Movies on iTunes.  Also see:  How to Rent a Movie from iTunes.  See also the Apple TV App below.

American Sniper, Beauty and the Beast, Ghostbusters, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Smurfs: The Lost Village, Table 19, The LEGO Batman Movie
Amazon Prime Video logo
Updated Jul '19

Amazon began offering audio described videos in June 2017, and they call their service Prime Video.  They now offer over 500 movies and Amazon-produced TV shows with audio description tracks, with multiple viewing devices supported including all the "Fire" products (but not Roku).  Some of the programming is available free to Amazon Prime members, while the majority of it requires a payment for either online streaming or downloading.  For access information and title listing, see our page Amazon Audio Described Programs, or go directly to the Amazon AD Video page for title selection.  (NOTE:  At the present time, you may find that our own page contains a more current listing than Amazon's and is easier to use ...)

Bosch (TV series), Arrival, Divergent, Fences, Office Christmas Party, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Hulu logo
Hulu and advocates from the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) reached a settlement agreement in October 2018 to increase the accessibility of Hulu's streaming service to individuals who are blind or have low vision. As a result, Hulu is undertaking efforts to make its website and software applications accessible via screen readers and will provide audio description tracks for streaming content where possible.  Content rollout began in 1Q19.  See our Audio Description on Hulu page.  (The Settlement doesn't require full compliance until January 2020, so implementation is limited so far.)  Read Hulu Becomes Latest Streaming Service to Commit to Accessibility for Blind Users, including case documents.  Hulu is jointly owned by Disney and Comcast (33%), but with Comcast agreeing to sell its share in the future (2024). A Handmaid's Tale (Original Series), Fyre Fraud (Original Documentary), TV Series like Bones and Family Guy
Youtube TV
Updated Jul '19
YouTube TV is a paid OTT (over-the-top) streaming subscription service which streams live TV from the five major broadcast networks in the USA, plus over 50 other channels for $50/month.  They refer to this service as Cable-Free Live TV.  Our testing indicates that audio description is available, though not 100%.  For instance, one user tells us that on-demand content does not have AD, while another user says it is difficult to navigate with an Apple TV.  We have also been told that Roku Sticks do not support AD here.  We offer this guide to accessing YouTube TV AD, and a user offers this review. Depends on network
Watch ABC logo

The Watch ABC App offers access to live content and select previous episodes from iOS mobile devices and Apple TV in select markets for free.  Generally (but not always), if an ABC show offers audio description, the show will be described using the appNOTE:  To activate description, you must do so via your device settings, not the app itself.  For example (with iOS devices):  Settings, General, Accessibility, Audio Descriptions, On.  NOTE:  ABC Digital was the recipient of the ADP's 2017 Achievement in Audio Description - Media for this app!

black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, Modern Family, Shark Tank
Vimeo

Vimeo is a free streaming service where users upload their own videos.  A very small number of the uploaded videos contain audio description and are generally so-designated in their titles. Our link takes you to the list of titles matching "audio description" or "audio described," as both terms are used, but many of them are demos, movie trailers, or discussions of audio description.

Driving Blind (movie), Muse of Fire (documentary), Movie Trailers, Short Films
Pornhub

The Pornhub website provides a subset of their "adult" videos in a category named "Described Video." Further information is available in this article in the SFO Guardian.

n/a

Dropped or Status-Unknown Described Streaming Services.
Please email the webmaster with any updates.

Disney Movies Anywhere Logo

The Disney Movies Anywhere service closed on February 28, 2018, with conversion to the Movies Anywhere app, which does NOT contain the "Sync & Play" ability to deliver audio description tracks like its predecessor.  Movies Anywhere is simply a consolidator for your own movies purchased separately.  The ADP has contacted Disney regarding the lack of Audio Description Support, without a response...  Disney's Announcement.

Note that Disney plans to offer a streaming service in 2019 to be called Disney+.  We are hopeful that the service will offer audio description, but we do not know.  See more information on Disney+ below.

n/a
Passport The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) offers a feature called Passport within their PBS Video App which streams much of their programming.  If a program has an audio description track, SUPPOSEDLY you can activate it just before the program plays.  To use Passport you must be a Sustaining Member of your local PBS station ($5/month or $60/year).  The PBS Video App is available for multiple devices, including iOS, Android, Roku, and Amazon Fire products.  Update October 2018:  Someone who tried this said it didn't work, so we have moved it to the Status-Unknown category.  If you can confirm this AD service still works, please notify the webmaster. ?
Tell Me TV This service was removed from our listing above in November 2017 because their website is not being updated and the support email address does not work. n/a

Other TV Network Streaming Services, NONE of which offer description as far as we know.
They are included here so that you can urge them to do so!

CBS All Access Logo The CBS All Access App offers access to live content (in select markets) and over 7500 previous episodes via streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku, and ChromeCast, plus iOS and Android devices.  There is a fee for service; however, they do not offer any audio described content at this time, replying to our 2016 inquiry that they would "forward your suggestions to the programmers/developers for further review and future feature consideration."  We asked again in February 2018 and received no reply. None
Fox Now Logo The FOX NOW App offers free access to Fox shows for iOS, Android, and other mobile devices; however, they do not offer any audio described content at this time.  (They replied to our February 2016 inquiry:  "it is not a feature we offer on online streaming at this time.")   We asked again in February 2018 and received no reply. None 
NBC App Logo The NBC App offers free access to new and classic NBC shows on various devices, including iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, and Roku; however, they do not offer any audio described content at this time that we know about.   We asked for an update in February 2018 and received no reply. None
PBS Anywhere Logo The PBS Anywhere App is available for select platforms like Windows 10, iOS, and others.  They offer "a rich and varied selection of countless videos."  However, as far as we know, they do not offer any audio described content at this time.  We asked for an update in February 2018 and received no reply.  Please see the PBS Passport entry above. None
DirecTV Now DirecTV Now is a fairly new service at $35-$70/month which offers "your favorite live sports, on demand, premium channels, popular shows, and hit movies right to your tablet, smartphone or TV."  While they do not offer any audio described content, we were advised in February 2019 that they consider it a high priority and will keep us informed. None 

Other Streaming Services, NONE of which offer description as far as we know.
Please contact them to urge them to do so!

Apple TV 
New
Jul '19
The Apple TV App (also known as Apple TV Channels) became available recently for iOS devices, but it is a work in progress.  It does or will offer content from popular services such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime and make it easy to access those programs alongside existing content you might already have through a cable TV subscription.  You have to subscribe to channels separately.  This fall, the App will be expanded with Apple TV Plus, which is expected to feature original programming using "big name" actors, producers, and directors.  None that we know of 
BritBox BritBox bills itself as "The biggest streaming collection of British TV...ever. Dramas, comedies, mysteries, documentaries, soaps, lifestyle and more."  Alas, none are audio described.  They did not respond to our inquiry in September 2017. None
Crackle Crackle is a free video streaming service for movies, TV series, and some original programming via Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Microsoft Xbox, Roku, and Sony PlayStation; however, it does not offer any audio described content at this time.  They said they "will pass along your suggestion."  As of late April 2016, Crackle is also available on Comcast's Xfinity TV via their On Demand Guide.  The good news here is that Crackle is owned by Sony, and Sony has produced a lot of described content. None
Disney Plus Logo  Disney+ will begin streaming on November 12, 2019 for $6.99/month with a focus on family-friendly shows and movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm (the Star Wars franchise), and National Geographic.  We know nothing about their plans regarding audio described content, but Disney has been a premier provider of description for a long time, so we are hopeful.  Right now, the best source of information about their plans is probably this Wikipedia entry on Disney+, which had this to say:  "Disney announced plans for streaming via web browsers on PCs, as well as apps for digital media players (including Roku, and "likely" Apple TV according to Iger), smart TVs, video game consoles, and mobile platforms.  Content will be streamed in resolutions up to 4K and with HDR when available."  And here's a June 2019 article on Disney's plans. tbd
FandangoNow logo FandangoNow (formerly M-Go) is a pay-as-you-go rent or purchase site for both movies currently in theaters and previously released, plus current or previous TV series.  It operates on a variety of devices; however, it does not offer any audio described content at this time.  As of September 2016 they were not able to confirm any plan to offer audio described content. None
HBO HBO and its two streaming services HBO Go and HBO Now do not offer any audio description.  See the article HBO’s ‘My Brilliant Friend’ Discriminates Against Blind People.  The ACB has begun informal negotiations with HBO regarding AD.  Update July 2019:  Technically speaking, HBO has offered at least two programs with AD long ago:  "Educating Peter" and "Monica and David," both of which focused on people with disabilities; and they may offer "Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements" in December 2019.  But since this is so rare and with no further commitment, we leave them listed as not offering description. None
HBO Max
Updated Jul '19
In October 2018 AT&T announced that it planned to unveil a digital video service featuring WarnerMedia’s films and television shows.  In July 2019 they named it HBO Max and said it would begin in Spring 2020.  They intend to include content from properties like DC, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, HBO, plus original programming.  Since Warner Brothers films are now mostly audio described, we are hopeful they will include audio description in their new service.  AT&T owns HBO, which does not currently offer AD.  You can read an article from June 2019 on this service and the July 2019 announcement of the new name. tbd
Redbox Redbox, known for its red self-service DVD and Blu-ray disc kiosks, also has a streaming service that it calls Redbox On Demand.  As far as we know, you cannot access an audio description track as an alternate language.  Let us know if you can! None
Showtime Showtime offers a streaming service, but no audio description.  In January 2019 they responded to an inquiry from someone as follows:  "Unfortunately, at this time Showtime does not offer any described video for any of its content. Neither for original or licensed content." None
Sling TV Logo Sling TV, owned by Dish Network, is an OTT (Over the Top) streaming service which offers over 65 channels including CNN, ESPN, TNT, TBS, The Cartoon Network, and Blockbuster on Demand, and supports the usual cadre of devices like iOS and Roku.  Subscriptions start at $25/month, discounted for the first three months.  Their smartphone App itself does not support audio description; however, they tell us you can access Sling TV via devices that DO support description, such as ROKU sticks.  In April, 2019, one of our users tested on an Apple TV and said he could not access description.  Until someone can verify description using Sling, it remains here ... None that we can verify...
Toon Googles Logo Toon Goggles is one of several children's programs video streaming services, supporting iOS, Android, and Windows.  They do not offer any audio described content at this time.  In February 2018 they indicated they had no timetable for adding it. None
Vudu Logo Vudu, owned by Walmart, offers movies for streaming rental or sale on a variety of devices; however, it does not offer any audio described content at this time that we know about.  They passed our February 2016 inquiry along for future consideration.  Note:  We previously reported that Walmart was planning its own service; but in January 2019 they abandoned that plan. None 
You Tube Premium Logo YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) is a subscription streaming service; however, it does not offer any audio described content at this time.  They responded to our inquiry in February 2016 by saying they would pass the request along to their product team. None
OTHER
SERVICES

There are many other streaming video services that we don't know anything about, but we don't have any reason to believe any of them offer audio described content.  If you find any, please let us know!

Crunchyroll, Funimation (the two previous sites are working together, but we've been told there are licensing issues regarding Crunchyroll preventing description), Google Play, PlayStation Video, PlayStation Vue, Xbox Video ...

None

If you learn that any service above has started offering described programming, please advise the webmaster!

*/strong> Several studies from late-2015 to 2018 have shown that the dominant player in the fee streaming video market is Netflix by large margin over its nearest competitors:  Amazon's Prime Video, HBO Go, Walmart's Vudu, and Hulu.  (These statistics do not include the free videos on regular YouTube, a very highly used service.)  iTunes actually has more described movies than Netflix has described videos, though if you count individual series episodes, Netflix exceeds iTunes.  Also, iTunes only offers movies, while Netflix has a constant influx of new content, and it is all included for one fee, so we still consider Netflix "dominant."

Streaming Service Comparison Chart
(From Yahoo! Finance article, April 2019)

APPENDIX:  Guide to Accessing YouTube TV's Audio Description Updated Jul '19

The following information was supplied by ADP Media Committee member Timothy Wynn in October 2018 based on his experimentation with YouTube TV and has been updated with additional user input.  One user reported in July 2019 that Roku Sticks do not support AD.  All information here is, of course, subject to change.  Please submit your own experience to the webmaster.  [Note:  SAP means AD, as in has audio description.]

SAP access method:

  • Via YouTube TV iOS app:  Tab More Actions, Primary (with a triangle next to it), and then Secondary.
  • Via web browser:  Left-click the Settings button to the right of "Closed Captions, left-click on the Audio track (2) sub-menu, then left-click on the Secondary radio-button.  For some reasons most controls on this site have to be clicked upon rather than using Enter/Space.

Broadcast networks:

  • Local channels (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC):  Have SAP.  Primary and secondary audio feeds appear to come directly from local affiliate.
  • PBS: Unavailable from YouTube TV.

Non-broadcast networks:

  • Cartoon Network: Seems to have SAP as indicated by mono audio stream.
  • Disney: Has stereo SAP.
  • TBS: Has SAP.
  • TNT: Has SAP.
  • Turner Classic Movies: Has SAP.
  • USA: no SAP. Note that though it indicates that it can switch to secondary audio, but it's the same as primary audio.
  • The History Channel: Unavailable from YouTube TV.

Miscellaneous:

  • Has built-in DVR function which does record the SAP feed.
  • On-demand content (not in library): No SAP.
  • Recordings (in library): Has SAP if channel passes it through.
  • Difficult to operate via Apple TV per user (who also reviewed other aspects of the service).