April 2015, Netflix began offering select streaming videos (not discs)
with audio description tracks, starting with Marvel's Daredevil,
and they have been adding described titles at an impressive pace
(27/month at last count). Here are some of the
more than 250 offerings in the USA:
Original Series Like ...
- The Crown
- House of Cards
- Marvel's Daredevil
- Orange is the New Black
TV Series Like ...
- About a Boy
- Criminal Minds
- Longmire (2015 and on as Netflix Originals)
- The Office
Movies Like ...
Children's Animated Series and Movies Like ...
These Netflix offerings are divided nearly equally between
children (G/PG), teen (PG-13), and adult (R) programming.
To see the complete list of audio described videos
available in your country, on a PC or Mac click the
audio description link at the bottom of your
Netflix Home page
(URL may vary by country) after signing in. (You must have a
Netflix account to access the list. You may sign up for Netflix
free for the first month if you wish to sample the service; after that
it costs about $10/month for unlimited streaming.) You can also
view the list on an iPad (last entry in the category
list on the pull-down menu, just prior to App Settings), Apple
(under Categories), iPhone (via pull-down menu on top
left), and other devices such as Android phones.
Alternatively, you may
view our alphabetized list of described USA
Netflix titles, which is updated frequently.
NOTE: If you want audio described DVDs (as opposed to
streaming video), after you are signed in as the primary user, click
"DVD" at the top of the screen; then hover your cursor over BROWSE, and
Audio Description will appear as an option. The fee structure is
different if you want DVDs, so you have to sign up for this. If
you normally sign in on the DVDs page, click "Watch Instantly" to get to
the page mentioned above.
In April, 2016, an agreement between the ACB and several others was
announced with Netflix. While some of the points of agreement had
been previously announced or implemented, several items are new.
Key points of the agreement are:
- Netflix will request audio description tracks in all its new
contracts with streaming content providers. For third-party content
that is already in the Netflix streaming library, the company “shall
make reasonable efforts to obtain existing audio description assets”
for those videos.
- Netflix will provide audio description for TV and movies branded
as “Netflix Original,” assuming it has the necessary rights for
creating audio descriptions. If Netflix doesn’t control the audio
description rights, it will “make commercially reasonable efforts to
secure and offer audio description.”
- For DVD subscribers, Netflix “shall make commercially reasonable
efforts” to offer discs with audio description on videos from
third-parties, “whenever such videos are available.”
- Netflix has agreed to add audio description search
functions and will also make its website and mobile applications
accessible to individuals who are blind and use screen-reading
- The agreement specifies that by Dec. 31, 2016,
Netflix will have updated all apps for all applicable devices to
provide blind individuals using screen-reading technology with
access to the same features available to sighted users. [If you
find this to be untrue in 2017, please notify us.]
- Reference article:
Disability Rights Advocates (the negotiating organization)
- Reference article:
- Reference article:
While Netflix is the first streaming service to offer description,
this agreement both takes its commitment to a new level AND sets the
stage for negotiated agreements with Amazon, Hulu, and other streaming
- Comcast XFINITY X1 boxes
- Browsers on Windows PCs or Apple Macs
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple iOS 8 or higher iPhones and iPads (see
Additional Resources below)
- Apple TV (on a
third generation or higher Apple TV -
see this article to check generation number)
- Sony PlayStation 3 and 4
- Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One
- Roku 3
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Many newer models of Blu-ray players, Smart TVs, and other
Activating Audio Description on
Netflix (subject to change, of course):
- Here's the good news: Once "English - Audio
Description" is selected, it will be remembered across devices
for the current program and all future programs containing
description. So set it once and forget it!
- On a browser, there is no easy way for a screen
reader user to select description; so have a sighted person hover
the mouse over the screen of a video with description to activate
the control bar, then use the Languages icon
(the next to last one as shown on the bottom of the figure below) to
select the Audio menu.
- For all other devices, Netflix has
created a help page entitled
do I adjust subtitles, captions and alternate audio on my device?
However, given the popularity of iOS devices (and our personal
possession of such ...), we have created our own help information
- On iOS devices, you may be able to skip the
following directions by doing the following: Under Settings,
General, Accessibility, turn the Video Descriptions option ON.
Netflix, like many other apps, reportedly honors this setting.
Alternatively, again understanding that you may need sighted
- On an iPhone, a screen similar to the first
one below should appear when you open a stream for viewing. The
Language Options menu is the third button. When you click it,
the second menu appears, and you select English Audio
Description, which is generally the second one down on the
left. Click the Done button, top right.
- On an iPad, a menu similar to the one shown
above appears via the Languages pull-down at the top of the
- On an Apple TV, the process depends on
whether or not you have a new Generation 4 (available in late
2015) with a touchpad on the remote, or the previous model
(Generation 3). The Generation 1 or 2 Apple TVs do not support
- For the new 2015 Gen 4 model, start by swiping down
on the remote's touchpad to activate the Options menu. The
rest of the process is close to what is described below,
except that the initial options may be Info, Subtitles, and
Audio, and you want to start by moving to the right to
- For previous models without a touchpad (Gen 3 only), you
press and hold
the large Select button on the 3-button remote to
activate the Options menu.
- In either case, there are two or three categories
available: Subtitles, Audio, and maybe Speakers. Initially
the cursor is found on the first option under Subtitles,
which is "Off." To get to the description option, you must
cursor up once to get to the categories list, cursor one to
the right for Audio, then cursor one down to get to the
Languages list. The first option should be "English - Audio
Description." Double-click it to select it, and in a moment
the video will begin again with that option.
These menus are subject to change, so the order
may not be exactly correct. If you are unable
to access these menus, then perhaps you have a first or
second generation Apple TV, which does not support these
options. See the link in the earlier section on how to
verify your generation number.
- Other devices should be similar to the options shown above. Or
see the referenced
Netflix help page.
The ACB worked behind the scenes with Netflix on introducing
description, but congratulations are also in order to Robert Kingett for
spearheading the effort to get audio description on Netflix. Read
Accessible Netflix Project blog, including his post on
Netflix's quiet introduction of AD.