Descriptive Video Service

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The Descriptive Video Service (DVS), created by WGBH-TV in Boston, is used by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the U.S. to provide video description for the visually impaired, so they can better understand what is happening on the video portion of the program. This, especially combined with at least a low level of vision (i.e. not fully blind), greatly improves the experience and makes it much more valuable to these "viewers".

An example might be on a program about Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. As the geyser starts, the DVS announcer would describe the scene:

"Boiling water bubbles up from the hole in the middle of the flat ground, and quickly begins shooting into the beautiful cobalt blue sky above it. The 100-foot tall stream sprays water and steam downwind, until it begins to gradually subside and retreat back into the earth."

While this may be obvious to those who can see the screen, these details must be described to those with vision impairments, which is the purpose of DVS. The DVS announcer is usually the opposite gender of the main announcer, to eliminate potential confusion between the two.

DVS is accessible on any TV with multichannel television sound (MTS) on the second audio program (SAP) setting. When DVS programming is not being transmitted, the local National Public Radio station (or state NPR network) is often heard instead.

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