How do I enable my Video Description?

Video Description for DIRECTV

Learn how the Video Description feature can make television and other media accessible to blind or visually impaired subscribers.


How Video Description assists the blind or visually impaired

With the Video Description feature enabled, audio descriptions of a TV program’s key visual elements are inserted into natural pauses in the program’s dialogue. Video Description supplements the regular audio track of the program when information about the visual elements that is not contained in the audio portion of the program. With Video Description, subscribers can listen to audio descriptions of TV shows on a secondary audio channel. Please visit the FCC Video Description Rules page for additional information and a schedule of described programs.

  • Video Description is provided through the receiver’s secondary audio feature and can be accessed using the on-screen menu.
  • The secondary audio may also be identified as a language feature, such as Spanish or SPA, because it is also used to provide Spanish or other language translations of English language TV programs. You can change your preferred global language to Spanish with your DIRECTV remote control and the menu screen.
  • When listening to the secondary audio, and depending on the program, you may hear the primary audio with Video Description, Spanish or other language translation, a duplicate of the primary audio, or, in cases where no secondary audio is being transmitted, silence.

To enable Video Description and Change Language you will need to use these DIRECTV remote control buttons:

  • INFO – a rubber triangular button located 4 rows below the power off button on the far right of the remote.
  • Navigational arrows – The up, right, down, and left arrows are plastic semi-circular buttons on the top half of the remote.
  • Select – The circular button in the center of the four navigational arrow buttons.
  • Exit – A rubber triangular button located to the right of the up arrow and 2 rows below the power off button.


Change Audio Language

There are two ways to enable Video Description. You can temporarily update the audio setting for the channel being played, or you can change the default audio language from English to Spanish. While changing the default language may make it easier to hear audio described programming as you change channels, some may broadcast silence on the secondary audio channel or use it for Spanish when not airing described programs. For this reason, it may be preferable to temporarily modify the audio language for the current channel only. Once the channel is changed, it will default back to English language.


Temporarily change the language for current channel

With your DIRECTV remote control you will use the Info button, the arrow buttons, the select button, and Back button. If you have talking guide turned on, you will hear spoken feedback throughout this entire process. For help enabling talking guide, click the following link: Talking Guide FAQ

1. Press INFO on your remote control.

2. Press the right arrow four times. The audio/video menu for the current channel will display. The first item in the menu is screen resolution. If talking guide is on, it will announce the current screen resolution.

3. Press the down arrow twice. If secondary audio is available, it will be highlighted. If talking guide is on, this option will be voiced as “SAP”.

4. Press select once to change from English to secondary audio (abbreviated as SAP). If secondary audio is available, audio will pause briefly while the language change is updated. If there is an extended silence, secondary audio is likely unavailable for the current program even if the channel provides 2 audio streams.

5. Press Exit to exit from the menu.

Note: If English is your only choice is the language menu, you will hear a low pitch beep when pressing the down arrow for the second time while in the menu.


Set default Audio Language and On-Screen Language preferences

If you want to hear video description automatically when changing channels, perform the following steps using your DIRECTV remote.

1. Press MENU on your remote control. Menu is the center button in the first row below the power buttons.

2. Press the down arrow 5 times for Settings.

3. Press the right arrow six time to reach Audio. Press select to enter the Language menu.

5. The default language will be shown on screen and spoken by talking guide. Press select to modify it.

6. Press the down arrow until you hear Spanish or another language, then press select.

7. Press the exit button to leave the settings menu.