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Netflix boosts support for visually impaired with new feature

Everyone loves a good movie or TV show. Not only are they entertaining, but an opportunity for you to forget about your troubles too.

My favorite thing about TV shows and movies, however, is the ability to be transported into a different world. By watching the film "Gravity", I can travel to space. "Game of Thrones" allows me to travel to the fictional Westeros. You get the idea.

While these are very much a visual affair, the audio plays a huge role too. Besides dialogue and natural noise, the soundtrack plays a huge role too. Star Wars for instance offers a beautiful score. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to see; some people are blind or visually impaired. For these people, the audio is even more important.

Netflix has recognised this important group of people with a new Audio Description feature, starting with the all-new "Marvel's Daredevil".

"Audio description is a narration track that describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes. Customers can choose audio narration just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language", says Netflix.

The company further explains, "over time, we expect audio description to be available for major Netflix original series, as well as select other shows and movies. We are working with studios and other content owners to increase the amount of audio description across a range of devices including smart TVs, tablets and smartphones".

According to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), there were 6,670,300 visually impaired adult Americans in 2012. While not all of these people are blind or would need Netflix's Audio Description feature, it is still a starling statistic. This is a significant portion of the population.

For the time being, Netflix seems to be focused on delivering this feature to its original programming, like "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards". With that said, it is a great start and the company deserves major kudos. Hopefully more film and TV studios will jump on the bandwagon.

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