Audio description and subtitles have been developed to improve access to television for people with sensory impairments.
This service on digital TV allows you to hear a verbal description of what is happening on screen in between the dialogue. It has been developed as an aid to understanding and enjoyment particularly, but not exclusively, for viewers with sight problems.
AD is available on Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media. The range of channels and programmes covered varies between the platforms and between different broadcasters. It is also available on BBC iPlayer.
The BBC currently has AD on 10% of the content on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC and CBeebies. ITV, Channel 4 and Five also have AD on a number of their programmes.
AD on Freeview
You need a set-top box or digital TV that allows you to receive AD. Currently only a limited number of boxes and TVs are suitable. For more information see the RNIB's Audio Description site.
If you have Freesat or a Sky set-top box, you already have AD.
If you have Freesat:
If you have Sky:
For BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 4, you need to tune to the London regional channel. Outside London, the channel numbers are: BBC One - 974; ITV1 - 993; Channel 4 - 994. For BBC Two, if you are outside England you need to tune to channel 989.
If you have a Virgin Media set-top box, you already have AD. To turn it on:
Virgin Media has separate AD channel numbers for the following: BBC One - 851; BBC Two - 852; ITV1 - 853; Channel 4 - 854; Five - 855. All other channels appear on their normal numbers.
Subtitles are available on all digital TV platforms. Use your remote control to make them appear: press the Subtitles button if there is one, or go to the set-up menu and select 'Subtitles' (usually found under 'Languages').
You can record digital subtitles in the same way that you can record anything that appears on screen.
If you have a problem with subtitles going missing or not appearing correctly, it may be related to your set-top box or digital TV. Try resetting your box or TV.