[blindkid] DV in Theaters and on DVD specifically the Hobbit..Help!

lindashalm at aol.com lindashalm at aol.com
Mon Apr 1 13:42:48 UTC 2013

Thanks for all your feedback.  I can't believe they didn't make a movie dvd available in DVS when the original was!   And the movie Lincoln was not described but it looks like the DVD is!  

Now I'm interested in a dvd player that my son can use without assistance.  Any recommendations?

All info greatly appreaciated.

Linda, NJ

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Holloway <rholloway at gopbc.org>
To: Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children) <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Sun, Mar 31, 2013 11:29 pm
Subject: Re: [blindkid] DV in Theaters and on DVD specifically the Hobbit..Help!

There is probably a little closer to a 4-year window of films where a larger 
number of DVD titles on DVD. To help create a clearer picture, I think the 
following is a pretty accurate count of movies released with DVS (Audio 
Description) on DVD. I borrowed the data from the link I provided earlier. These 
titles run the gamut from kid friendly G-Rated films like Toy Story (all three 
Toy Story movies have DVS) to grown up R-Rated films, but there are roughly 50 
to 70 films available which most parents would probably find appropriate for 
family viewing now available.

Year	Quantity

2013	22 (as of this date, March 31)
2012	86
2011	80
2010	49
2009	12
2008	7
2007	4
2006	4
2005	3
2004	1
2003	4
2002	0
2001	1
2000	0

Clearly, the big jump started in 2010. I wrote an article last summer on this 
topic though the information changes so fast it is hard to keep things current. 
Lots more local theaters now run films DVS options. Many Regal cinemas (and some 
others which Regal owns) now offer every screening of every film with DVS. 
Unlike watching a DVD, the blind patron wears a headset which adds ONLY the 
description while they listen to the standard soundtrack over the theater sound 

With DVD's the background sound is generally turned down to make the DVS easier 
to hear. The theater option is to make the description a bit too loud but it 
works quite well with the newer system. The older system we tried a few times at 
several AMC theaters had many more issues. I can explain part of why if anyone 
is curious, but the reasons don't matter a lot. It was bad before, now it is 
getting better. (I'm an audio engineer by training, so I actually find the 
details interesting.)

DVD's can offer many audio track options, like alternative languages (as 
mentioned before) plus director's interviews and the like. Frequently they offer 
more than one release, adding extra features or deleting them and changing the 
price point. The $5 budget DVD's are often less feature-rich than the expensive 
copies, though I've seen DVS on cheap discs too, now and then. The point being 
there are many options they leave off of many discs. I wish DVS was always 
there, but as of now most every feature film that comes out gets at least one 
DVS track recorded. FAR fewer get released with them.

Again, I'd suggest checking out the link. http://www.acb.org/adp/dvds.html  Find 
the films you want, then check THOSE packages in the store to confirm content, 
but in most cases, the retail release of the DVD will have DVS listed. The main 
problems in the past were with certain rental titles where the distributor did 
not include DVS on the rental copies.

There are exceptions, especially where multiple releases exist. Finding Nemo was 
recently re-released with DVS. The original DVD did not have this option. 
Generally Blu-ray releases are the same as DVD's in that both will have DVS or 
neither will. The Incredibles DVD's I checked did not have DVS listed and the 
Incredibles Blu-ray set I bought showed only to have DVS on the Blu Ray version 
but when I checked it was on the (included) DVD too.

Now if you want DVS for Star Wars, there is 6-disc Blu-ray ONLY set with DVD on 
all six movies. (I do not think the 3 bonus discs in the set have any DVS.) So 
far, I have not seen DVS on any Star Wars DVD's.

In case you are not familiar, Blu-ray is a higher definition format that looks 
physically like a DVD (and like a CD) but just as most CD's will play on most 
DVD players but not vice-versa, so you can play DVD's on a Blu-ray player, but 
Blu-Ray's play only on Blu-ray players.

Here's the article I mentioned- https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr31/3/fr310312.htm

The acb.org link has a DVD section (clearly marked) which has a listing by year 
of every commercial DVD the administrator of the page is aware of with Audio 

Each year has a separate page. 2013 is first, and the list runs newest to 
oldest, so to find new releases, look at the top of the list. DVS movies 
generally appear within a day or two of release.

I have traded quite a few emails with the fellow who runs that part of the site 
and even helped clear up a couple of mistakes / omissions he had, but the site 
was generally very accurate to begin with. He updates the site regularly. 
Nothing else I have found on-line comes close in completeness, accuracy, and 
timely updates!

We have something like 60 or 70 DVS titles here at home, nearly all are 
kid-friendly titles. I think there were maybe 2 or 3 discrepancies between my 
list and the site I mentioned. I suspect site movie lists for older kids and 
adults are similarly accurate. I keep hoping he has forgotten or overlooked some 
titles because we have very nearly every DVS family title which he has listed. 
So far, that's not the case, so we watch for new releases all the time. When new 
releases come out with DVS (like recent 2013 releases: Frankenweenie, Hotel 
Transelvania, Monsters Inc. (the re-release) Wreck It Ralph, and Rise of the 
Guardians), every time I find a new one with DVS, it is already posted on the 
site. I know I found one DVS DVD was on the site the second day it was out.

It is a bit late now, but Rise of the Guardians is a good Easter Title (much 
Easter Bunny content) as well as (no surprise here) Hop, which is also a DVS 

As I understand it, other countries such as the UK and Canada have had legal 
mandates in place for quite a while, which seem to cause a much larger number of 
DVD's to be released with DVS there. There was a legal loophole which delayed a 
lot of DVS programming for broadcast here, and I think it did the same for DVD 
releases to some degree. Be aware that you can order these titles from other 
countries BUT they may not play on your home player. There are work-arounds but 
they are complicated. I keep thinking of getting all the UK Harry Potters with 
DVS because I know they released those there with DVS. I have tried to contact 
Warner Brothers and ask why they don't offer DVS on these US releases. So far my 
inquiries have been ignored. Most people I contact about audio description tend 
to ignore me. I assume there are not enough potential users of the product to 
concern these huge companies.

For older films, there is one other alternative, but it is entirely hit-or-miss. 
There are existing VHS (as in Video Tape!) copies of many programs with DVS 
which exist and float around. Many of those were never released on DVD (at least 
with DVS). I'm not certain of how they were made. I suspect they may have bought 
standard VHS tapes and re-recorded them with modified audio. The tapes have 
retail packaging but the DVS info on the package is clearly added with stickers.

Also, don't forget there are DVS movies on TV as well as TV shows and those 
numbers are growing as well. It is all quite frustrating and confusing, but way 
better than it was even 3 or 5 years ago! Those CAN be recorded (with DVS) in 
some ways as well. Once you figure our the process it is pretty easy, if you 
have the right equipment. The biggest problem there is finding what is on when, 
though I have recently learned that the NFB Newsline lists a number of DVS 
programs on TV schedules.


On Mar 31, 2013, at 5:33 PM, Penny Duffy wrote:

> I spent a  hour in the dvd section looking for dvd that had descriptions.
> Different studios list it differently its rare to find it in movies older
> than 2 years (though there are some)  Disney seems to have gotten good at
> adding descriptions in recent movies.  I could take 5 movies
> WITH descriptions and its listed 5 different ways. Sometimes they have a
> icon sometimes they don't. Some times its listed under languages. I just
> found the back to the Hobbit and its surprising like you said  its not
> included. Since there was a track made it would have been additional
> content to include.  They have it in French and Spanish though.

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