Netflix [Am I flogging a dead horse]

tvOS & Apple TV Apps
It seems as though in their move towards world domination, Netflix have only a token interest in accessibility. I spent a frustrating hour in a chat session where they insisted on reminding me that there is an audio description section and audio description can be turned off. She also insisted on restricting her answers to the web browser interface and disregarded any differences between it and the Apple TV interface. As far as I can make out, although there is an audio description link at the bottom of a web browser, by contrast, the Apple TV version just scrolls aimlessly around and around, without ever getting to an audio description link. I think that I can summarise my gripes, but there is no way to get these to Netflix and my (verging on rude) chat "opponent" advised that Netflix do not have a department that deals specifically with human rights and accessibility. 1. Interface. Netflix is (not surprisingly) heavily graphic oriented and at the home page of either a browser or Apple TV there is a plethora of unwanted information - graphic, text and audio. The answer was "no", but I asked whether there was any customisation option to simplify the home page, ie: remove images; remove audio that conflicts with VoiceOver; show lists instead of tiles, etc. At very least it would be nice to always arrive at the (non-existent in Apple TV) link to content with audio description. The answer was "no". 2. Audio Description Section. As mentioned above, unless someone has clues on how to achieve this on Apple TV [for which I would be very grateful] there seems to be no way to get to the Audio Description link that is available in the web browser version. If this is true, then it is a reasonably major flaw in the Apple TV Netflix interface, for accessibility. 3. Search Function. Faced with a world of potential entertainment, what do you choose and having chosen it are you then destined for disappointment when you have finally navigated to the right place, only to find that there is no audio description? Perhaps even worse, audio description that is so loud that it obscures the movie script, sound effects, music and foley work almost completely - but that a whole separate rant! Sighted users can browse by category [Comedies; Documentaries; Action, etc.] and look through the options. Then, before "going the whole way", they can check the information for an overview and can even go to "Details" for even more, ie" Director; Cast; Genre, etc. Go on then, guess if any of this gives a clue as to whether it includes audio description or even has an AD logo. [That was rhetorical - of course it doesn't]. In the absence of any of the above, surely a simple workaround would be adding metadata to the content so that you can search specifically for audio description by (Ooo, what do you think) using "AD" within the search string!?! So a search could be: AD; Movie; Thriller; Suspense. AD; TV; Comedy; UK. AD; Movie; Harrison Ford; Anne Archer. Please share your method if you can achieve this on your Apple TV already, otherwise, what do you think?



Submitted by Malthe on Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hi ON the whole I find the Netflix experience fairly accessible, though I did run into issues with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which I have reported to them. Back in the day, their player was completely inaccessible on the browser side, and one could not scroll properly on iOS, so things are going in the right direction for sure. You can sort audio described content by genre on the browser interface, but not on iOS. You can browse by audio description though, by tapping series>genre>audio description. Unfortunately I have no experience with how it works on Apple TV. I find it commendable that Netflix makes a huge effort to add audio description to all of their original content and more, so that gets them a big plus in my book. Edit: Something screwed up my line breaks. Best Malthe

Submitted by Lisa on Friday, January 25, 2019

I search the words audio description. You get results that contain audio description. You can also search audio description in English or your language of choice. Just type it in the search field. Works on IOS and apple tv.

Submitted by MaleXLR on Friday, January 25, 2019

Interesting! That would be great, but I just tried your search method and even on the web interface version here, Audio Description is just not there. Perhaps New Zealand is in denial that we have any Blind nor Sight Impaired people.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Friday, January 25, 2019


It is indeed possible to sort Netflix content by Audio Description on the Apple TV.
The updated Netflix interface is a bit tricky, but certainly workable. Here's how I do it...
1. I find Netflix works best with Direct Touch enabled. If in doubt, check your settings by using the Rotor.
2. After signing in to netflix and selecting your User, you will land on a menu that allows you to find Home, search and even filter by TV or Movie, etc. Flicking up and down will interact with this menu, but for our purposes, let's ignore that and flick right one time.
3. Flicking right lands you on the play Button of whichever program Netflix is promoting. Ignore this, and flick right again and you will land on More Info.
4. From More Info , you can now scroll up and down through all of the predetermined Sub Categories. Subcategories such as Action Movies, Continue Watching, Because you watched etc.
Flicking up or down changes the subcategory. Flicking left or right moves through the available titles within each Subcategory.
Note, these subcategories are in a loop. Continuous flicking either up or down will eventually bring you back to where you started.
5. One flick up from the More Info Button (see step 3) will land you on the subcategory titled "Categories" Note, Because of the looping menu, a whole lot of flicks down will also land you on "Categories". Eventually.
6. Flick right from within Categories and the last choice, something like 24 of 24, will be Audio Description in English.
Note, this menu is also looping, so navigate carefully. Go too far and you will zip right past it and find yourself back at the beginning.
7. Clicking on Audio Description will open all of the Titles available with Audio Description. Note that this list is presented in 4 columns, and needs to be navigated using up, down, left and right swipes. The right most column is a hard edge, meaning further right swipes do not work. The Left most column is a soft edge, meaning that a left swipe from the left most column takes you out of the Titles and back to the Categories heading.
So, there you have it, the complete (if totally confusing) guide to finding Audio Described Content on Netflix using the Apple TV.
Additional thoughts, Direct touch works best for navigation but is touch sensitive. Be mindful how large your gestures are as a small swipe moves by small increments whilst a full blooded flick moves by large increments. Particularly important when navigating the Looping Categories sub category.
Untested thought, SIRI is quite good at finding movies on Netflix with a certain Actor or Genre. When I next have a moment, I might try holding the SIRI Button and asking "Show me Netflix movies with Audio Description" and see what happens.

This post was brought to you by the letters C a t e g o r and y.

Submitted by MaleXLR on Friday, January 25, 2019

In reply to by Lisa

Thanks muchly. I haven't got access to the Apple TV until this evening but will give it a shot. I had tried this exact thing on a web browser, but got a very limited shortlist of what I know is available. It seems there may be regional differences and my search just gave TV results with no movies on the list.

On the contrary - not confusing at all and thankyou for doing this. Sadly, I never get to a field called "More Info", nor "Categories", but before you send more (deeply appreciated) ideas I'll have another concerted effort this evening and will report back. However, don't you agree that a simple search string would save a lot of swiping? We have the remote app on iPhones, a bluetooth keyboard and the original Apple TV remote. Do you have a preferred or favourite remote? Von. Two. Three. Four. Arrh, arrh, arrh, arghh, Count von Shane.

Submitted by MaleXLR on Friday, January 25, 2019

[Yo Ozzy! Warm enough for you over the ditch? Sounds awful - 49 degrees yesterday!?!] Because of the impersonal nature of posts, if it appears that I am at all ungrateful, let me assure you that I am extremely grateful for your assistance. Any frustration is directed at Netflix who, like many others, seem to go halfway towards accessibility and then loose interest (or funding!). Yay... [It's like taking your "faulty" computer to a Technician and it works flawlessly] Today (I swear) instead of being in an endless loop, as you so correctly stated, incredulously I ended up on the Categories heading. Further indignity as I scrolled along about 21 times and found "Audio Description in English". "Ah ha" I thought "I have been here before and only found a few titles". Imagine my surprise - in excess of 900 titles! In my defence, going through genres on the iPhone or searching for "Audio Description in English" only revealed (and still only reveals) 42 titles. Hard on the heels of such a victory, when I started again, after selecting my Netflix Profile I was able to scroll up (rather than down) twice and landed on the mythical Categories heading. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou. Wah... Unless I am missing something [very possible], faced with 916 titles or so, seemingly in no particular order, aside from stepping through every one of them, how do you find or choose a movie or TV show to watch? At least they are in four columns, so if I really wanted the 916th title I would only have to scroll, or arrow down 229 times! Why is it so difficult? So, the sighted world gets to choose by genre, actor, director and any other of a number of keywords, but there is no way to do a further search restricted to the "Audio Description in English" category. I am perhaps being awkward and possibly "Devil's Advocate" and I know that there are a number of websites that list Netflix movies with audio description. The whole reason behind the Apple TV was to have an accessible media player that can be used by the whole family without having to attach a computer or cast a video from a connected device. To find a movie I need to access a computer and look through a list (with no description) to find a title that sounds interesting. Then I can search for it on Netflix, read the description and decide that I don't really want to watch that, or: I can search for a movie that I have already watched that know has audio description, or: Using the "ordinary" Netflix categories, genres and search I can find the precise type of movie that I am in the mood for tonight. Get out the beers (or a few tinnies), heat up the pizza (or toss another shrimp on the barbie), invite a few mates around and then find out that my perfect movie has no audio description... or: [This suggestion left intentionally blank...] I am not really that bitter, but it is Friday evening and no friends are coming around!

Submitted by Seanoevil on Friday, January 25, 2019


Some further thoughts, in no particular order:
Content. I am in Australia, so expect that if you are in NZ, we should have very similar if not exactly the same content. Though you might have more shows about sheep, :) . Or documentaries on what it's really like to win the Bledisloe Cup :(. There are usually between 600 and 800 Audio Described titles available at any time.

System: The above walk thru was written with the assumption you are using an Apple TV 4th Gen or 4k, with an up to date TVOS and current Netflix version.

Remote: My preference is for the SIRI Remote that came with the Apple TV 4K.

The above was written from memory, I just tried it and would make the following amendment :
After selecting "who is watching Netflix" you will be taken to the main screen. The above notes say you will land on "Home", inside a menu and to flick right twice to "More Info". In reality, I found this not to always be the case. Some times it was just as described. Other times Focus would already be on the "Spotlight" section, which contains the "Play" and "More Info" buttons described above. Either way, one flick up from the Spotlight/Play/More Info is the "Categories" sub-category.
The Categories subcategory contains 22 elements, not 24. Audio Description is still the last.

There was a time when I would have preferred a filter such as you describe. I think that years of training by Google, Facebook and now Netflix have conditioned me to accept what their algorithms serve, in the order in which they serve it. All hail our Techno-Overlords...



Submitted by Seanoevil on Friday, January 25, 2019

I am really glad to hear that you have it working!
I wish there were an easier or more precise way to filter programs with AD. If there is, I am yet to learn of them.
My only advice is to keep on contacting @netflix and @NetflixANZ with your queries and concerns. Be they software related or program specific.

Keep posting on your Social Media how good it is when AD works and how disappointing it is when marqee shows, such as Season 2 of Star Trek Discovery, are aired without AD.

Unless we cheer when it works and complain when it doesn't, we can't expect resources to be allocated for AD.

Have a great weekend.


Submitted by MaleXLR on Friday, January 25, 2019

Roger that and thanks again... Baaaaah! Depending on how geeky you are, this may interest you and possibly it should be in a new topic. I freely admit that this goes completely against the grain and tone of my previous posts as accessibility is utterly cack and audio description is completely hit and miss. We have loaded KODI onto our 4th Generation Apple TV and for the uninitiated, KODI is completely legal unless you venture beyond the KODI approved add-ons. There is a screen reader add-on, but I don't think it likes cohabiting with VoiceOver. This gives us live TV from just about anywhere in the world, but you quickly realise that what they are feeding us on our stations is just as rubbish as the Europeans are being fed. We can get live radio in just about every language and even without unapproved add-ons we can grab most movies that are older than three years, without Sky or Netflix subscription. The geekery bit is that, unless you have a full Apple Developer account, it will time out in seven days. However, when you reload KODI none of your settings are lost. After you have done it once, reloading is easy, but we downloaded a simple and free macro editor so that the process is automated and happens in the wee hours when sane people should be asleep. We have gathered a heap of information and resources in getting this to work and I am happy to share specific details, but... Once loaded it is a short shrift to loading non-KODI approved add-ins that instantly contravene copywrite and broadcasting laws. For that reason it probably needs a moderator to check and approve any post that gives specific details, even though the information is out there [albeit in various locations] for the taking. Chur.

Submitted by MaleXLR on Friday, January 25, 2019

All that access to quality media and last night we watched Stingray - the one with Marina, not the one with the car!

Submitted by kool_turk on Friday, January 25, 2019

someone might want to confirm this, but it appears the netflix app on windows doesn't have the audio description category.

On iOS, you have to go to movie or tv shows, then all genres, then go right down to audio description, and even that isn't a complete list.

I find that the easiest way to get a listing of described content is to just use the site, then add what I want to watch to my list.

Netflix is also available on Kodi now, whether or not it's legal is anyones guess at the moment, in other words, while you still need a netflix account to use it, it prompts you to use an addon called widevine, which has some sort of DRM.

I still think it has a while to go before it's completely reliable, you can't start watching something on kodi, then continue on another device for example, but it is definitely usable.

I use it because I happen to like the audio quality from Kodi, at least on windows.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, January 25, 2019

I concur with this poster's description of how to interact with Apple TV 4th generation. Although Netflix has changed their interface a bit recently, and I don't like their changes, I still have had no problem interacting with said interface. Hopefully those who are having issues can get them sorted through this thread because Netflix has some great content.

[Yo, Kool one. Is this a dot com dot AU site, or is Australia generally taking over?] Thanks for asking this. It revealed a difference between the AppleTV and the Windows version. Allowing for regional differences, there should be a "Audio Description" link at the very bottom, below all the graphics. If you search for it when you open Netflix you won't get a hit, because it only propagates the page as you scroll down. You may have to be in your profile, but you might be able to get there by bookmarking: The difference is that with Windows you then have a "Genres" drop down menu to narrow down your choices. Very kool!

Submitted by kool_turk on Saturday, January 26, 2019

Don't let the username fool you, I'm actually from Australia and netflix redirects you to your local region.

unless you're using a VPN, which Netflix blocks most regions, either that or they're playing a cat and mouse game.

I've seen stuff described in one region, while it's not described in another, and they have the nerve to say it's up to the studios to determin what region gets description and which doesn't.

I try not to watch 3rd party content on netflix anymore because not every episode of a tv show, or not all movies with in a series are described.

I say if you're going to have something described, do it all, or none at all.

I'm sure I can give many examples, but we'd be here all day.