Descriptive Video Service

Definition of Descriptive Video Service

Descriptive Video Service (DVS) is a form of audio narration that provides scene-by-scene descriptions of visual elements in movies, television shows, and other video content. This service aims to improve accessibility for visually impaired and blind users, allowing them to understand and enjoy the full content. The narration usually plays during pauses in dialogue, detailing key elements like character actions, settings, and scene changes without interfering with the existing audio.


The phonetics of the keyword “Descriptive Video Service” would be: Dih-skrip-tiv Vee-dee-oh Surr-vis

Key Takeaways

  1. Descriptive Video Service (DVS) is an accessibility feature designed to provide additional narration and descriptions of visual elements of films, TV shows, and other media content for visually impaired or blind individuals.
  2. DVS uses a separate audio track to provide information regarding actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen texts, and other visual content to help the viewer understand the context and storyline of the media.
  3. Many broadcasters and streaming platforms, such as cable and satellite TV providers, movie theaters, and online video services, offer DVS content as a part of their accessibility program to create inclusive and equal access to media for all users.

Importance of Descriptive Video Service

The technology term Descriptive Video Service (DVS) is important because it plays a crucial role in making audiovisual content more accessible and enjoyable for individuals who are visually impaired or blind.

DVS provides a narrated description of a program’s essential visual elements, like settings, actions, and expressions, without interfering with the original audio.

This allows visually impaired viewers to better understand and appreciate the content, thereby promoting inclusivity and equal access to entertainment, education, and information.

In addition to enhancing the viewing experience for individuals with disabilities, DVS demonstrates the ongoing commitment of content creators and distributors to cater to diverse audiences and create a more inclusive society.


Descriptive Video Service (DVS) is designed with the specific purpose of enhancing the entertainment experience for visually impaired or blind individuals. This innovative service bridges the gap of understanding visual content in films, television shows, or any type of video production, by providing detailed audio descriptions that explain crucial non-verbal elements.

The carefully crafted narrative incorporated within the original audio aims to precisely convey nuances like character expressions, actions, and even the environment, ensuring that the visually impaired have equal access to a comprehensive depiction of the story being conveyed on the screen. DVS plays a fundamental role in fostering an inclusive environment within the realm of media consumption, enabling visually impaired and blind individuals to enjoy and consume entertainment on essentially the same level as sighted individuals.

Furthermore, its application extends across various platforms, such as television programming, digital streaming services, and even in cinemas. Producers and content creators have increasingly acknowledged the importance of providing this service, reflecting a transcending effort to break down barriers and ensure accessibility in the entertainment sector for all, irrespective of their physical abilities.

Ultimately, the Descriptive Video Service has not only broadened opportunities for engagement with visual media but has also enriched the lives of those who rely on it, empowering them to partake in shared cultural experiences.

Examples of Descriptive Video Service

Descriptive Video Service (DVS) is a technology that provides audio descriptions for people who are visually impaired to help them better understand and enjoy visual media content. Here are three real-world examples of DVS technology being used:

Movie Theaters: Many movie theaters around the world, especially in the United States, provide audio description services for visually impaired patrons. They can request a special headset that plays the DVS track along with the movie’s audio. This enables them to follow the on-screen action without the need for assistance from someone else. Select movie releases are available with DVS, and movies with this service are usually advertised with the description “audio-described” or “DVS.”

Television Broadcasting: Several TV broadcasters, such as the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the UK, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Australia, offer descriptive video services for a selection of their programming. This service provides an additional audio track with a narrator describing the on-screen visuals to make it more accessible for people with visual impairments. Programs with this feature are typically indicated with a DVS or AD (Audio Description) logo or notation in program guides or online listings.

Streaming Services: Popular streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, have increasingly incorporated descriptive video services for some of their content to accommodate visually impaired viewers. In addition to providing subtitles, many of these platforms now offer audio description as a separate audio track for select movies, TV series, and documentaries. This allows users to easily switch to the DVS track and enjoy their favorite content with added accessible features.


Descriptive Video Service FAQ

What is Descriptive Video Service (DVS)?

Descriptive Video Service, often referred to as DVS or video description, is an accessibility feature that provides verbal descriptions of key visual elements in films, TV shows, and other video content. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the dialogue, allowing blind or visually impaired individuals to understand what’s happening on-screen.

How does DVS work?

DVS utilizes a separate audio track containing the descriptive narration, which can be accessed by choosing the alternate audio or language options on the video player. This narration is synchronized with the video content, ensuring that users receive relevant descriptions as the scenes unfold.

Is DVS available for all video content?

Though DVS is offered for a growing number of films and TV shows, not all video content is available with video descriptions. Generally, broadcasters and streaming services are increasing their efforts to make more content accessible with DVS. It’s recommended to check the availability of DVS with your video content provider or consult the specific content’s product details to find out if video description is available.

How do I enable DVS for a video?

To enable DVS, you’ll need to access the language or audio settings on your video player, TV, or streaming device. In most cases, you can find these options through the main menu or via a dedicated button on your remote control. Once you’ve accessed these settings, look for the audio track labeled “Descriptive Audio” or “DVS” and select it. This will enable the descriptive narration for the video.

Do I need any special equipment to use DVS?

No special equipment is required to use DVS, as long as the video content you’re watching supports it, and your video player, TV, or streaming device can access the DVS audio track. In general, most modern devices should be compatible with DVS. Just make sure to enable the “Descriptive Audio” or “DVS” track in the audio or language settings.


Related Technology Terms

  • Audio Description
  • Visually Impaired Accessibility
  • Voice-over Narration
  • Assistive Technology
  • Text-to-Speech

Sources for More Information


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