Q: I am blind, and I do not subscribe to any streaming video services at the moment. How would you suggest I determine, quickly, whether a good percentage of the original content and current popular third-party content on Netflix and Amazon Prime, for starters, is audio-described and/or dubbed?
A: A good place to start is the Audio Description Project page on the website of the American Council of the Blind. The page, optimized for screen-reader software, has a running list of streaming services that offer videos with “audio descriptions” — added narration about scenes, characters, costumes and more — for people who cannot see what is happening. The list, which is updated regularly, is available at www.acb.org/adp/streaming.html.
According to the council, Netflix has more than “500 audio-described TV series, documentaries, original programming and children’s shows in the USA,” including most of the company’s original productions, like “House of Cards.” Although you must be a member to get access to Netflix’s full list of current videos with audio descriptions, the council’s site has compiled its own alphabetized list of audio-described Netflix content at www.acb.org/adp/netflixad.html.
Amazon Prime Video has about 350 movies and TV shows with audio descriptions, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and a number of popular theatrical films. The council’s own tally of Amazon Prime shows is at acb.org/adp/amazonad.html.
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The Audio Description Project page notes several other streaming services and broadcast shows that are accessible, including Apple’s iTunes Store for purchased and rented video. The WatchABC app for mobile devices and some set-top boxes has audio-described content.
Some other video services have been slow to add audio descriptions, but as technology enables more accessibility with television, expect to hear of more available content. For the curious, sample clips with audio description can be found on YouTube.
How to unstick a frozen Apple TV
Q: I have one app on my fourth-generation Apple TV that freezes every once in a while, and the only way I can get out of it is to unplug the whole Apple TV box. Is there an easier way to get back to the home screen?
A: As with apps on Apple’s Mac computers and iOS devices, you can force-quit a misbehaving tvOS program without having to unplug anything. The next time an app freezes, quickly press the TV button twice on the Apple TV remote. When you do, the Apple TV goes into the app-switching mode used by iOS devices, where you see a series of application preview windows on the screen.
If the misbehaving app is not already selected, use the touch pad on the Apple TV remote to swipe left or right until you land on the app you want to close. With the app’s preview window selected, swipe up on the remote’s touch pad to forcibly close the program.
Restarting the Apple TV may help stop the forcibly closed app from freezing again. You can restart it from the remote by holding down the TV and Menu buttons until you see the light on the front of the box flash. Alternatively, use the remote to navigate to the Settings app to System and select Restart. (While you are in the System settings, you can also check for updates to the Apple TV’s software or turn on automatic updates.)
The remote can be used to rearrange apps or delete them as well. To move an app, select its icon and press down on the remote’s touch pad. When the icon begins to wiggle, swipe across the touch pad until you get to the spot you want. Press the touch pad again to release the icon. To delete a wiggling app, press the Play/Pause button and choose Delete.