Audio Description for TV in the U.S.

Producers who are creating TV spots that will have Audio Description added should be aware of what this service is, who it is for, and how to best prepare and deliver elements to be used by the Extreme Reach team.

What is Audio Description?

Audio Description (AD) is audio-narrated descriptions of key visual elements. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the dialogue. Audio Description makes television more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Does Audio Description change how I create an Ad?

Audio Description is often added well after the production phase is complete, but this often presents a problem. Many ads feature “wall-to-wall” audio, which doesn’t leave any time for Audio Description. In some cases there is no possible way to add any descriptions. Only people who have chosen to enable the SAP channel in their set-top box or television will hear the Audio Description mix.

What elements should I supply to Extreme Reach?

If we’re creating the Audio Description for you and the mix contains enough free space to insert Audio Description, only the final surround or stereo mix is required.

If you have a finished spot with Audio Description, the Audio Description must be on channels 3&4 for a stereo spot (stereo on 1&2) or on channels 9&10 for a surround plus stereo spot (surround on 1-6 and stereo on 7&8).

The Audio Description track is broadcast on the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) channel that all broadcasters air alongside the regular audio channel. In a typical cable/satellite provider scenario, a television viewer can change a setting in the set-top box to switch the audio feed to the SAP channel. This stream could be labeled as “SAP”, “Audio Description”, “Alternate Language” or “Described Video” all these selections will provide the programming assigned to this alternate audio channel.

Additional Resources

Video File Specifications

Any questions?

Contact us at or 800.324.5672 for a more personal discussion regarding your workflow and needs.


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