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CVAA Video Programming Requirements – Video Description

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Video description (also called audio description) is audio-narrated descriptions of the key visual elements of video programming which are then inserted within the natural pauses in the program’s dialogue to help blind and visually impaired viewers to better understand the story. Key visual elements are those which viewers with low vision are likely to miss such as actions, costumes, facial expressions, gestures, sight gags, scene changes and onscreen text. A script containing the descriptions is written by a trained describer, read by a professional narrator and then mixed with the main program audio. The process for creating verbal descriptions is… Read More

FCC Requirements for Telecommunications Manufacturers and Providers: Text-to-911

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The legacy 911 emergency system in the United States was developed to facilitate audio communication with emergency personnel. In practice this meant that only voice communications were supported, and that users with hearing and/or speech disabilities were required to use TTY equipment or a TRS to enable communication with 911 calltakers. These methods pose a number of limitations, the primary ones being speed of communication and the fact that TTY is a legacy technology that is not as commonly in use by individuals with hearing and speech disabilities, especially over mobile networks. Many individuals with hearing and speech disabilities today… Read More

FCC Requirements for Telecommunications Manufacturers and Providers: Telecommunications Relay Services

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Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) allow individuals with hearing and/or speech disabilities to place and receive calls over the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN). The national TRS infrastructure is mandated by Title IV of the ADA which grants the FCC authority over TRS and directs the Commission to promulgate rules to set forth requirements and enforcement procedures for telephone carriers and TRS providers. The FCC rules are codified in 47 CFR 64.601 through 64.636. TRS is available in all 50 states and all U.S. territories for local and/or long distance calls including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A caller… Read More

FCC Requirements for Telecommunications Manufacturers and Providers: Section 255

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The Communications Act of 1934 governs electronic communications In the United States and established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the regulating body over such communications. It was later reauthorized via the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which provided the first major overhaul of telecommunications policy in the U.S. in nearly 62 years. Among other achievements, it sought to promote the availability of telecommunications services and equipment to underserved populations, including people with disabilities. Two provisions were added to the Act which solely focus on access by people with disabilities. Section 255 mandates that all manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and providers… Read More

CVAA Video Programming Requirements – Captioning

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In last week’s post on CVAA programming requirements I provided a very high level overview of the requirements. In this post I’ll dig more deeply into the specific requirements for captioning and what is covered. Overview The CVAA directed the FCC to update and extend its rules for captioning of video programming originally authorized by Section 713 of the Telecommunications Act. The pre-existing FCC rules required 100 percent of nonexempt new English and Spanish video programming to be closed captioned, and 75 percent of pre-rule English and Spanish video programming. They also required video programming distributors to pass through all… Read More

CVAA Video Programming Requirements – Overview

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The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was passed to ensure new modes of electronic communication and delivery of video programming are accessible to individuals with disabilities. It builds upon previous laws requiring accessibility of electronic communication and video programming, including the Communications Act and the Closed Caption Decoder Circuitry Act. It expands upon existing requirements for accessibility of video programming requirements including closed captioning of televised video programming, video description, accessibility of programming providing emergency information and closed captioning requirements for video programming delivered via IP. It also builds upon accessibility requirements for apparatus used in the… Read More

CVAA Sections 204 and 205 – Complying with Section 205

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Last week’s post in our blog series on Sections 204 and 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) gave an overview of Section 205. This week we’ll take a more detailed look at who must comply, what is and is not covered, what must be made accessible and how to achieve accessibility as outlined in report and order FCC 13-138. Who must comply? Multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) – Must offer accessible devices through the same means they offer other customers requesting devices Hardware and software manufacturers of MVPD supported devices – Must make the devices available through the same channels that… Read More

CVAA Sections 204 and 205 – Section 205 Overview

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Section 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) covers digital apparatuses designed to receive, playback, and display multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) programming. This requirement applies to manufacturers of MVPD hardware and MVPD organizations and includes the software installed on the hardware by the manufacturer or directed for installation by the manufacturer or MVPD. It also covers software that is provided by the MVPD to access video programming and other MVPD services. Furthermore, Section 205 covers devices such as set top boxes, mobile apps, devices used for navigation, and user guides of video programming. However, only the… Read More

CVAA Sections 204 and 205 – Section 204 Overview

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In this third installment in our blog series on Sections 204 and 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) we’ll take a high-level look at the requirements of Section 204. Section 204 of the CVAA requires that digital apparatus manufacturers who make or import apparatuses for the recording and playback of video programming for sale in the United States make digital apparatuses that designed to receive, play, and display video programming accessible to people who are blind and to people with visual impairments. Section 204 also applies to apparatuses not covered by Section 205. This requirement applies to manufacturers… Read More

CVAA Sections 204 and 205 – Answers to Common Questions

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For the second installment in our blog series on Sections 204 and 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) we answer some of the most common questions on the requirements, complaint process, support and documentation as outlined in report and order FCC 13-138. Requirements and Limitations Are there set performance objectives, technical, or functional requirements? No. The FCC does not provide any performance objectives or technical requirements. It does provide 11 different features that, when present, must be accessible by audio or, when not present, via visual indicators or on-screen text in a manner that is operable… Read More

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