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First audio description trial in Australia concludes with hope for permanent solution

Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, announced the conclusion of the technical audio description trial conducted on ABC television, signalling the possibility of a more permanent solution in the future.

Audio description is intended to assist viewers with vision impairment by providing an additional verbal commentary that explains what is happening visually during television programs to complement the underlying soundtrack.

The 13-week trial was designed to test how broadcasters capture audio description through to its transmission in the broadcast signal and how it is received in the home.

“It’s clear that audio description is a service that is strongly desired by the vision-impaired community, and the trial was embraced with real enthusiasm by participants” the Minister said. “I share that enthusiasm for what new digital technologies can provide to enable improved access to television and other electronic media for people with a disability” he added.

The ABC will continue to collect feedback on the trial through a survey that is available online on the ABC website until Wednesday 7 November 2012. The audio description trial is an important first step on the pathway to establishing a permanent audio description service on Australian television.