For the second year in a row, NBC will add description to the national broadcast of their annual, live musical production. And Comcast has added new voice commands to Xfinity X1 that makes finding content with description easier than ever.
This combination of accessible content and technology is not only a benefit to the millions of people, like myself, who have a visual disability, but also underscores our commitment to making sure entertainment can be enjoyed and experienced by everyone.
When Hairspray Live! airs on December 7, NBC will have a describer on set to narrate descriptions of the spectacular sets, elaborate costumes, and dynamic dance numbers associated with the production. The descriptive audio can be accessed by enabling the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) feature on your television or set-top-box. Last year, The Wiz Live! was the first live entertainment program in the U.S. to be presented with description and NBC broke records more recently when they pulled off 15 straight nights of live, primetime Summer Olympic coverage that was described.
At the same time, we are making new and exciting updates to Xfinity X1 that help make it the most accessible TV platform in the country. We have a talking guide that reads aloud on-screen menus and text and a voice controlled TV remote control that makes the search process easy, fast and fun. Now, X1 users can just say "find shows with video description" or type "video description" on the remote’s keypad and jump right to a video description landing page that brings together described programs that are airing right now as well as shows and movies available On Demand with description.
So on Wednesday night, and during the days that follow, people will be talking about Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Maddie Baillio, and the rest of the all-star cast from Hairspray Live!. And thanks to video description, and the technology tools that complement it, I’m going to be able to enjoy the show just like everyone else and join the conversation.
And that’s the definition of inclusion.