DVD discs themselves offer a method of choosing the audio track through the disc’s own menu system. However, these menus vary from title to title and most do not talk, making it difficult for a blind user to select the AD independently.
Audio menus are DVD menus that narrate the options to a viewer from the moment you insert the disc into your DVD player. They assist you to navigate through the menu options to select the options you wish, including AD. The development of audio menus, also called audio navigation, is still in its infancy both in Australia and internationally.
The first talking menus for DVD were on the box set discs of Dr Who Series Two, produced by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and 2entertain Ltd in 2006.
When the first disc of the series is inserted into a DVD player, the disc says, “Dr Who, series 2, disk one”. It will then give the viewer the option of selecting audio menus which, if selected, will be spoken and also shown in large print.
Audio menus are available on the following titles in Australia:
- Dr Who Series 2 box set
- Dr Who Series 3 box set
- Dr Who Series 4 box set
- Dr Who Series 5 box set
Other titles are available from the UK with talking menus but are Region 2 DVDs. These can only be played on a DVD player that can access Region 2 DVDs. Find a list of these titles from the RNIB's list of audio described DVDs. This list is regularly updated and titles with audio menus are mentioned in brackets as 'Talking Menus'.
At this point in time, no Australian DVD distributor has developed audio menus.
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