"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 (DVD or Blu-ray). You can learn about these alternative methods of delivery on our Television or DVDs web pages. LAST UPDATE: Oct 7, 2019.
Many new TV sets offer Internet access with built-in access to multiple streaming services. Alternatively, you may purchase a number of devices which plug into a TV input port (an 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 and its own remote. On some TVs, the device is actually built-in. While there may be a few other similar devices, here is a list of the most popular ones:
The following airlines are known to provide audio described content via their in-flight entertainment systems: American, ANA (Japan), British Airways, 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.
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:
Note: Any reference to pricing is subject to change and is rounded up to the nearest dollar. Some services offer a discount for paying for a full year.
|Service||Description of Offering||Examples|
The following services are known to include at least some audio described programming.
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|
Apple's iTunes (which is being replaced on iOS devices by Apple TV, below) offers over 1000 movies with audio description tracks for rent (streaming) or purchase (downloading). They are designated with the icon after the movie title in the description. To find audio described content on iTunes on a PC or Mac, 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. 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|
|From Apple: The
Apple TV App brings together the different ways to discover
and watch shows, movies and more in one app, and is available in
over 100 countries on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, all 2019 Samsung
smart TVs and select 2018 models. Customers can subscribe
to Apple TV channels within the Apple TV app - paying for only
the ones they want - and watch on demand directly in the app.
Subscribers can watch and download shows and movies both online
and offline. Through Family Sharing, up to six family
members can share subscriptions to Apple TV channels using just
their Apple ID and password. Apple TV app users worldwide
can enjoy personalized recommendations of shows and movies from
more than 150 video apps and streaming services and over 100,000
iTunes movies and TV shows to browse, buy, or rent.
Customers can find their purchased movies and TV shows from
iTunes in the redesigned Library tab. For more information
about how to find audio-described content, please visit
In November, Apple will introduce their own subscription service
called Apple TV+, which will also be
available via this existing app.
Sep 6: Robert Kingett reports that to view TRAILERS with
AD for Apple TV+ shows, do the following: Open the Apple TV app; On the Watch
Now tab, go to the heading that says, "Apple TV Plus first
looks." The trailers have AD! Select a trailer. And you should hear the audio description, if you have it
turned on, on your device.
||For Apple TV: Depends on provider ...|
||On November 1, Apple TV+, "the first all-original video subscription service," will be available in the Apple TV app for $5/month for a family plan. Apple TV+ is the "new home for the world's most creative storytellers featuring exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries. It will feature a brand new slate of programming from the world's most celebrated creative artists, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon M. Chu and more." All original content is scheduled to be audio described in eight languages! For more information about Apple TV+, click the Apple TV+ name or icon above or see the Apple TV+ Press Release, in which audio description is specifically mentioned; or Sep 26: read Launch date, price, shows and movies to expect. Sep 6: Robert Kingett reports that to view TRAILERS with AD for Apple TV+ shows, do the following: Open the Apple TV app; On the Watch Now tab, go to the heading that says, "Apple TV Plus first looks." The trailers have AD! Select a trailer. And you should hear the audio description, if you have it turned on, on your device.||All original content; titles to include: See, The Morning Show, The Elephant Queen|
Amazon began offering audio described videos in June 2017, and they call their service Prime Video, available to the over 100 million Prime subscribers. They now offer over 800 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 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; but at present, it is only accessible via PC web browsers and Apple TV. 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 (full control) and Comcast (33%, silent partner, agreeing to sell its share in 2024). It costs $6/month for the advertising-supported version; $12/month for no ads. They also offer an upgrade to Hulu + Live, but we have no reason be believe it supports description. Hulu plans to offer the coming Disney+ service as an add-on subscription option this fall. Hulu has over 28 million subscribers.||A Handmaid's Tale (Original Series), Fyre Fraud (Original Documentary), TV Series like Bones and Family Guy|
will begin streaming in the USA and Canada on November 12, 2019 for $7/month with a
focus on family-friendly shows and movies from Disney, Pixar,
Marvel, Lucasfilm (the Star Wars franchise), and National Geographic.
Disney+ product announcement, they have announced support of Audio Description
in the following statement about one of their App's features:
"Accessibility: The app offers support for closed
captioning, descriptive audio and navigation
assistance to help subscribers with disabilities discover and
enjoy their favorite stories." The service will
stream on iOS and Android devices, smart TVs, and video game
consoles (but not Amazon devices at launch) in
resolutions up to 4K and with HDR when available. See the
Wikipedia entry on Disney+.
An August announcement: $13/month will get you Disney+,
Hulu, and ESPN+.
Oct 7th: An Unofficial List of Disney+ Movies With Audio Description has been published, claiming over 200 movies will have description on day 1; however, caution, as the list came from a beta test in The Netherlands, not the USA! The writer also says that once you have selected audio description, it will continue to activate the tracks for any additional videos which have description, which is a great feature. You may also be interested in The Ultimate Parent Guide to Disney+ | Disney’s Streaming Service, though it does not discuss description.
|tbd officially, but see link to left|
|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|
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 app. NOTE: 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|
|The CBS All Access App offers access to live content (in select markets) and over 10,000 previous episodes via streaming devices like Apple TV and ChromeCast, plus iOS and Android devices. There is a fee for service for most content ($6 or $10/month). In August 2019, they began to offer some audio described content. A user who has tested this on an iPhone and Apple TV has reported some difficulty with accessibility of the App, but is otherwise pleased. He recommends using Safari on iOS. Another user says: "When playing a show, swipe down for a menu: info, closed captions, and audio. Go to audio, then languages. If AD is available, it’ll be there. At least that’s how to do it on Apple TV." On an iPhone, the Audio Description option under Accessibility Settings is the only control.||Star Trek Discovery, The Twilight Zone, The Good Fight, NCIS (latest season)|
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|
TV Network Streaming Services, NONE of
which offer description as far as we know.
|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|
|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|
|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 below.||None|
Other Streaming Services, NONE of which offer
description as far as we know.
AT&T TV Now
(formerly 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.
AT&T has a new box and is beta testing a new streaming service called AT&T TV to replace DirecTV itself as a service. It is separate from AT&T TV Now, with a different lineup. The AT&T TV link above will tell you when the service is coming to your area. As of August 19th, it is available in Orange County, CA, Riverside, CA, West Palm Beach, CA, Topeka, KS, Wichita, KS, St. Louis, MO Springfield, MO, Corpus Christi, TX, El Paso TX, & Odessa, TX. You may be interested in reading: AT&T & Netflix Announce a New Partnership For AT&T’s New DIRECTV NOW & AT&T TV Set-Top Box. We don't know if this new service supports AD. We requested more information from AT&T, but have received no response. AT&T TV pricing is discussed in this article.
|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. In October 2019, they said that AD was a "great suggestion" that would be passed to their Editorial Team for review.||None|
|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|
|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 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. Sep 2019: In mid-2019, the ACB began informal negotiations with HBO regarding AD. We will report progress here. 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|
|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 for a projected cost of $15/month. 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 (but is in negotiation with the ACB). You can read an article from June 2019 on this service and the July 2019 announcement of the new name. Sep 2019: In mid-2019, the ACB began informal negotiations with HBO regarding AD. We will report progress here.||tbd|
|NBC has announced that it will begin its streaming service named Peacock in April 2020. A lot of content has been announced, and we know this includes The Office and Parks and Rec, both of which have audio description tracks available. They will also offer films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination, and other major studios, plus original series, news, sports, late-night, and reality. Until we hear for sure that the service will offer description, it will remain in this section. Read the September 2019 Peacock announcement from CordCutters.||tbd|
|PlayStation Vue (owned by Sony) combines live TV (cable stations and some broadcast networks), on-demand programming, and a DVR for streaming to a PlayStation console or other supported devices (such as Apple TV or Amazon Fire stick/TV). We have no reason to believe they support AD.||None|
|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 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, 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 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, 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|
|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. See however YouTube TV above.||None|
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 (not the same as PlayStation Vue), Xbox Video ...
If you learn that any service above has started offering described programming, please advise the webmaster!
Dropped or Status-Unknown Described Streaming Services.
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.
See also Disney+ above.
|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. 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.||n/a|
|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|
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."
(From Yahoo! Finance article, April 2019)
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: