NBC to Offer Video Descriptions for ‘Hairspray Live!’

Comcast and NBC said they will support video descriptions to the network’s December 7 broadcast of Hairspray Live!, an element that will make the show accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Comcast and NBC teamed up on a similar feature offered last year in tandem with NBC’s production of The Wiz Live!, calling it a first for a live entertainment broadcast show in the U.S.  NBC also supported video descriptions for its primetime coverage of the Summer Games in Rio.

For Wednesday night’s broadcast, “NBC will have a describer on set to narrate descriptions of the spectacular sets, elaborate costumes, and dynamic dance numbers associated with the production,” Tom Wlodkowski, VP of accessibility at Comcast, explained in this blog post.

Wlodkowski, who is blind, added that Comcast X1 customers will be able to receive the active descriptive audio feature during the show by enabling the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) feature on their televisions or set-top boxes.

Among other accessibility-facing features, Comcast has also introduced a “talking guide” for its X1 platform, a voice-enabled TV menu and interface, and a voice-controlled remote control.

Those customers can use the voice remote to say things like “find shows with video description" or type "video description" on the remote’s keypad to  access a landing page that pull ups other described programs that are currently airing as well as titles that support it that are offered on-demand.