Some Apple TV questions

tvOS & Apple TV Apps

In my search for a blind accessible TV, I am considering an Apple TV as an option but have some questions.

1. In their descriptions of the videos, does Amazon and/or Netflix indicate whether each one has audio description or not?
2. I've heard that Netflix supports audio description, does anyone know if Amazon Instant Video supports it too?
3. I don't think Amazon can, but does anyone know if Netflix can be set up to only display content that has audio description?
4. Can Apple TV access my Amazon account so that if I have Prime I can access the free Prime instant videos that are available as well as access videos I've purchased? I ask this because I've seen streaming players that can only access Amazon through some in built account so you don't get the free Prime videos or videos you've purchased.

I'd really rather find a blind accessible TV like the Talking Viera models Panasonic developed and just get what programming I can over the air or through basic cable that doesn't need a set top box to access, but those models only showed up in the UK and Austrailia. I've also heard about an act the was passed that promised equaly accessible TV for the blind and vision impaired by 2015, but I don't think that's going to happen.



Submitted by John Diakogeorgiou on Friday, November 6, 2015

Thus far, Their is not an app for Amazon video. However, it can be streamed to the Apple TV through your IDevice. Also, as far I know, Amazon Video does not provide audio description. I hope I'm wrong though.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, November 6, 2015

Netflix is now offering descriptive audio tracks to some of their programming; however, not all viewing options offer this just yet. Having said that, from what I have read, I think they intend on migrating all of their stuff, eventually.

Beyond Netflix, I have completed extensive research of the other streaming media boxes such as Rocu, etc. In my opinion, regardless of whether or not descriptive audio is offered inside a specific app, the Apple TV wins hands down for the visually impaired. Some of the other streaming media options indicate that you can talk to them and otherwise interact. Don't buy into the hype, though. Apple has done its homework for an accessible option in their Apple TV. I wholeheartedly endorse the Apple TV as a solid purchase.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Friday, November 6, 2015

I realize that this is slightly off topic, but I just wanted to let you know that Samsung has talking TV's that have functionality similar to the ones you described from Panasonic. I have the Samsung JU7500, and it reads all of its own menus as well as telling me what channel I'm on and which source I've selected. None of its "smart" functions are accessible, but that's where the Apple TV takes over. As for Amazon Instant video, I wouldn't count on it becoming available on Apple TV; Amazon isn't even selling the Apple TV since it competes with their products. I have Amazon prime, but instant video has never been a feature I took advantage of; typically get any content I want from either ITunes or Netflix. I can't really speak to any of your other questions regarding audio description on amazon, but if you are able to acquire the Samsung TV, I think any model with a number of 6400 or higher has the accessibility features built in, and get an apple TV to go with it, you'll be pretty much good to go. Accessing the audio description on broadcast channels is slightly tricky on my TV, but now that I've got the hang of it, it's very doable. I hope this helps you in some way. I've also heard that LG has talking TV's now, but have never bveen able to check one out in person. Good luck!

Submitted by Josh Kennedy on Friday, November 6, 2015

well apple tv netflix and netflix in general has over 100 audio described tv shows and movies so does the itunes store. well worth it if you ask me.

Submitted by Josh Kennedy on Friday, November 6, 2015

wow! i could never afford that ju7500 tv! I'm on SSI, my oil bill went down significantly so thats why i could afford the apple tv. hopefully they will make smaller 22 or 24 inch tvs that talk in the future.

Submitted by Josh Kennedy on Friday, November 6, 2015

maybe someone will make an amazon app for apple tv that can be sideloaded onto it using the USB-c connection like someone already did with a sega emulator.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Friday, November 6, 2015

In reply to by Josh Kennedy

I just wanted to say that the only reason I could afford the 7500 is that I saved up for it. Also, I have SSDI and get $8 an hour working full time. Still, I would have been a lot happier if a TV in a lower price bracket had accessibility features built in, and I would also like a smaller TV, something 22 inches or less, that had talking features; would be ideal as a bedroom tv. Still, if you ever are able to save up for it, I would highly recommend the Samsung. As I understand it, though, all TV's made from 2016 onward have to include accessibility features, so hopefully that means that something more budget friendly will be on the horizon soon.

Submitted by Orko on Friday, November 6, 2015

I have no interest in voice command, from personal experience, it's often unreliable at best. My only handicap is blindness so I'm more than capable of handling a remote. I just need the TV to tell me what it's doing when I press a button. Like, "Tuning up to channel 10.1" or "Switching to secondary audio program".

Thanks for that info about Samsung! I searched for JU7500 on Amazon and got back quite a few models ranging in size from 40 to 75 inches. The lowest price was just under $1000, whether that model had verbal feedback or not, I don't know.

As I understand it, according to the Communications and Video Accessibility Act, all TVs are supposed to be equally accessible to sighted and vision impaired people by or after 2015. Considering how close that is, I'm kind of surprised that we haven't heard about more accessible TV models by now.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Friday, November 6, 2015

I agree with you 100 percent regarding voice commands; I actually did what I could to disable them on my Samsung. It definitely does everything you're describing, and will usually even tell you what program is on the channel you turn to. Like I said above, the understanding I got fron an AFB Access World article is that any Samsung TV with a model number of 6400 or higher has the voice guide feature. I just went with 7500 to be absolutely certain I would be covered; got the 40 inch model, and it's great. The 7100 isn't curved, so may be a cheaper option; otherwise, so far as I know, it's the same TV. The quick connect box it comes with is really great; makes wiring things up a breeze.

I also agree that we should have heard a lot more about available talking TV models by now. Maybe a bunch of them will pop out of the woodwork next year.

Submitted by Joe on Friday, November 6, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

I'm not sure that televisions themselves have to talk but more your cable box. I know Comcast already has a talking box but I wasn't aware that televisions had to fallow the same suit. Time Warner U-verse and the satellite companies have to get something in place by December 31 not sure they're going to make this my guess is they'll just pay the fine.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Saturday, November 7, 2015

As someone who has gotten rid of cable, I would respectfully disagree. My TV is far more accessible now than it was when I had cable; it works flawlessly with an antenna. Of course, if Comcast was available in my area, I'd probably get cable again, but since they're not, I'd rather save money where I can. You're probably right about Time Warner just paying a fine; they only have a couple of months left, and I haven't even heard any rumors about a talking set top box. I know my former provider, Cincinnati Bell Fioptics, had no plans to provide a talking set top box. Bottom line, I think all equipment of that nature, cable boxes, TV's, etc. should have built-in accessibility featurs. It'll probably never happen in our lifetime, but it sure is nice to dream.

Submitted by Orko on Saturday, November 7, 2015

I agree that blind accessible cable or satelite boxes would be more useful since most people in the US get their TV that way, but enough people still use antennas to get their TV over the air that blind accessible TVs would still be wanted.

Thats good to know about the Samsung models with voice guidance. If the 7500s were the only models to have it, that would mean that the only TVs they were making blind accessible were TVs with additional picture features that the blind don't need, like 4xHD,high contrast, curved screens, etc. Which is a dirty trick I wouldn't put past most companies.

What I really found annoying is that they don't mention voice guidance in the list of features on any model so its really hard to tell if the TV you're looking at is one you can use.

In response to someones comment about not being able to afford these blind accessible TVs. I was lucky. My last employer paid for both short and long term disabiity insurance as part of my benefits package. So I'm getting disability insurance payments as well as SSDI.

For everyone else, I believe as 2015 goes by and the US start punishing companies with products that aren't in compliance with the CVAA, you'll begin to see much more affordable accessible TVs appear on the market.

So far, Comcast is the only cable or satelite TV provider that is offering a blind accessible box. Unfortunately, I'm not in an area where Comcast is available.

It would really be great if TiVo made their products blind accessible since their DVRs can be readily substituted for the cable or satelite box on most systems.

For myself, in my new apartment, over the air TV reception is poor, so when I am ready I plan to get basic cable which doesn't need a cable box so if the TV is accessible, that'll be all I need. After that, then I'll decide if Apple TV has anything to offer that I'd want.

Its a pity that Amazon isn't on Apple TV and that they probably dont support audio description tracks. Unlike Netflix which has to wait until the season of a particular TV series is over before they get the content, Amazon gets new shows the day after they air for the first time.

If all Netflix has is about a 100 or so movies or shows, I'll probably just keep doing what I'm doing, which is download the audio description tracks as MP3s from the Blind Mice Movie Mart. They don't have everything but they do have a lot of stuff. I find it somewhat disappointing that 99% of the audio description seems to have been recorded in the UK.

And it looks like I'm hijacking my own thread with all this related but off topic stuff. Oh well, I won't complain if nobody else does, it's turning out to be an interesting discussion.

well if dish network and direct-tv and other companies do not come out with something i will go to the fcc website and I will file a complaint with the fcc who is in charge of this. and then i will go to the ACB who is also pushing this and i will let them know the satellite companies and others are not cooperating. and i will post it on social media also.

i live in a pretty rural area and according to the fcc channel finder i would get no channels. so we all have cable here in williamstown pa. some have directtv and dish and those companies better make their boxes talk or i will complain to the fcc

Josh, while you are at it, don't forget to complain to the NFB (National Federation of the Blind), those people really like to get into peoples faces when they think the blind are being slighted. They are the blind communities equivalent of the NRA (National Rifle Association), very militant in their approach.

I personally hope they do more than just slap fines on non compliant companies. Something like refusing to allow them to import their non-compliant products or hit them with very stiff import tarrifs to make it difficult for them to compete. My fear is if all they do is levy fines at them, most companies will opt to just pay the fine rather than develop blind accessible products.

Submitted by Orko on Saturday, November 7, 2015

To the person with the Samsung TV.

I notice that some of the TVs have electronic program and channel guides. Does the TV read those or does it just read its own menus and prompts?

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