The Accessible Channel: More talk

Here’s one I missed: Cable bills will be going up next year after the CRTC added a new required service (meaning all cable and satellite providers are required to carry it on all packages): The Accessible Channel.

The channel (according to its application) is basically supposed to be an all-day described video service, which would be an improvement over the current spotty DV which will be on maybe one show a day.

It makes sense, I suppose (though saying I don’t support it would no doubt brand me as evil, as would making smart-ass comments like “why is this a TV channel instead of a radio station?”). I certainly won’t mind paying the extra $0.20 a month for it, as long as that money goes toward making more shows accessible to the blind.

One criticism though: “Accessible Channel”? That sounds like programming for people in wheelchairs. Why not “Described Video Channel” or something more precise?

UPDATE (Sept. 23): Accessibility writer Joe Clark files an appeal of the decision which makes some very thoughtful points about ghettoization of blind viewers and passing the buck on a serious problem. Instead, he recommends that all broadcasters be required to provide descriptive audio service like they’re required to provide closed-captioning.

3 thoughts on “The Accessible Channel: More talk

  1. zara

    While this may be better than nothing, obviously, the best thing would be to have all shows on all channels audio-described. Those who would want to activate it, would just press whatever button on the remote, just like with closed captioning.

    To be honest, I wonder if this is just a way of letting Canadian broadcasters off the hook. I am no specialist on television matters but from what I understand, Canada is far behind with regards to audio description (and not doing all that great a job with closed captioning either). Now, they can point to the Accessible Channel and say “look, we do not have to because there is a specialty channel that takes care of all that” (which will probably carry mostly US shows in any case).

    Anyway, thanks for the heads-up on this.

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