LOS ANGELES—The HBO Max streaming platform now features nearly 1,500 hours of audio-described content for the audio and visually impaired, the first part of a previous commitment to increasing accessibility to HBO Max, according to a press release from the American Council for the Blind (ACB).
ACB says that it—along with the Massachusetts-based Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) and individual claimants—struck a deal with HBO Max in October 2020 to provide more accessible content.
In this first rollout of audio-described content, 1,500 hours of HBO originals, HBO Max originals, Warner Bros. films and some acquired content is now available on HBO Max’s web and mobile platforms. An audio description category will be prominently displayed in the navigation menu.
Some of the content that now features audio descriptions include “His Dark Materials,” “Genera+ion,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Dunkirk,” “Euphoria,” “Love Life,” “Sesame Street” and more.
There will also be improvements for those who are blind or have low vision and use screen reader software to navigate and interact with digital content. Screen reader software can render content on the screen as either large print, synthetic text-to-speech or as digital braille on a braille display.
New articles on the HBO Max site are designed to support customers with disabilities, including providing instructions on how to perform certain tasks. HBO Max customer service specialists will also be trained to help better support customers with disabilities.
HBO Max plans to make audio description available across all supported internet-connected TVs at some point later this year. Audio descriptions are also being created for all HBO Max original series. By the end of March 2022, HBO Max expects to have 3,000 hours of audio description content, and at least 6,000 by the end of March 2023. Similar advancements are expected for the visually impaired over the next few months and years.
Earlier this month, advocates for the audio and visually impaired met with the FCC to lobby for improved accessibility, including making audio description a requirement for streaming services.
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