Audio description on DVD

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Audio described DVDs can be found at any local rental store or DVD retailer. If a distributor releases audio description on a title, every single copy of that title should have the access feature.

Audio description levels

The number of audio described DVD titles released onto the Australian market (Region Four) is roughly 35% of mainstream new release rental titles containing audio description. This may be considered low, but this figure is generally on par or higher than international markets, including the USA and UK.

Advances have been made in DVD access through this process, with the level of DVD access increasing considerably since 2006.

If a title is audio described, then every single copy of that title should have audio description. This means that audio described DVDs are available from any outlet where DVDs can be purchased.

Please visit the DVD Reviews and how tos section for information about identifying audio described titles and watching titles with audio description.

Audio menus are DVD menus that narrate the options to a viewer from the moment you insert the disc into your DVD player, although at this time no Australian distributor has developed audio menus.

View a list of audio description suppliers for DVD.

DVDs with audio description internationally

Australia turns to international DVD Region Two for a comparison of DVD access. This is because the majority of mainstream releases to the Region Four market are imported from the United Kingdom, which is part of Region Two. DVDs with audio description in the USA, which is part of Region One, are significantly lower although inroads have been made from early 2010 onwards which is seeing Region One increase its levels of access.

Visit the Royal National Institute of Blind People's website for information on audio described DVDs in the UK.

Visit the American Council of the Blind's Audio Description Project website for information on audio described DVDs in the USA.

DVDs currently available with audio description

The level of audio description on new release DVD rentals has grown significantly since 2006. When statistics were first recorded they were regularly less than 5 per cent of new release rental titles.  After initial consultation with AHEDA members via the Australian Human Rights Commission, this rate has steadily increased to the current level of approximately 25 per cent. 

Generally you will find that most 'Hollywood' blockbuster titles will have audio description, plus others. 2008 was the first year when all AHEDA members acknowledged that they were importing access files from international sources. 

MAA maintains a database of DVD titles that are audio described.  The database is searchable by genre or alphabetically.

Alternatively, you can search for audio described DVDs and Blu-rays on EzyDVD: under 'DVD' in the main menu select 'See All'. Scroll down to 'All Languages' in the left-hand column and select 'More'. In the pop-out box select 'English - AD'. You can also search for audio described titles on Amazon via the Browse Format options.

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