Audio description on TV

If you struggle to see your favourite television programmes, Audio Description could be for you!

What is Audio description?

Audio Description (AD) is a free service that can transform TV viewing for people who have difficulty seeing what's happening on the screen. Like a narrator telling a story, an additional commentary describes body language, expressions and movements, making the story clear through sound. Experience clips of AD for yourself.

How to get AD

Our factsheets have the latest information on how to receive AD on TV.


Our Freeview factsheet provides a full list of boxes and IDTV's which can receive AD, as not all can.

We can also offer advice on how to use a hi-fi or an amplifier to receive digital television, in our Sound Only TV factsheet.


AD is available on Sky or Freesat. Our Satellite factsheet provides instructions on how to turn AD on.

Sky's website has more information or telephone 08705 66 33 33.

Freesat website has more information or telephone 0845 313 00 52.

Virgin Media

AD is available on all Virgin Cable devices. Our Virgin factsheet provides instructions on how to turn AD on.

Virgin website has more information or telephone 0800 052 2525.

BBC i-player

BBC i-player, the web based TV catch up service, offers AD. Select the programme you like from the list of the AD programmes available.

Try audio description

Try audio description for yourself by watching clips of AD from Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Tarzan. You can also play a sound-only version of the BBC's Blue Planet.

Talking TV Box with AD

Smart Talk Freeview digital box announces all the on-screen information, including programme guides and menus, using synthetic speech, as well as giving access to AD on Freeview TV.

For more information or to order the device telephone 0303 123 9999.

Helpscheme for Switchover

Our digital switchover pages can offer more advice on this scheme to assist people with Digital TV Switchover including getting AD.

Comments on AD on TV

Broadcasters would like to hear from you about AD.

If you send an email, please send a copy to


All the hard work by RNIB campaigners over the past decade to secure a 20 per cent target for audio description (AD) on TV has paid off. Find out more about our campaign.

Consumer testing of TV

Ricability an independent research charity, has further detailed tests of some of the products that deliver audio description on their website.

Which? magazine also publish test results for digital TV's on their website including audio description services.

More information

For more information email or telephone 0303 123 9999.

Last updated: 5 August 2010

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