Video Description Requirements Begin on July 1, 2012
July 1, 2012, full-power affiliates of the top four national networks
(ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) located in the top 25 markets (based on
the January 1, 2011 Nielsen ratings) must provide 50 hours per calendar
quarter (about 4 hours per week) of video-described prime time and/or
childrens programming. Video description is the insertion
of audio-narration of a television programs key visual elements
into natural pauses in the programs dialogue. Video description
is intended to make video programming more accessible to individuals
who are blind or visually impaired. (See TV
TechCheck from 08/29/2011)
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released
an Order reinstating the video description rules initially adopted
by the FCC in 2000. The FCCs original Video Description Rules
were vacated by U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
on the grounds that the FCC did not have the authority to make those
rules. On October 8, 2010 Congress passed the Twenty-First Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA)
which directed the FCC to reinstate the previous video description
rules, with certain modifications within one year of the CVAA effective
date. (See TV
TechCheck from 10/11/2010). The modified Video Description
rules were reinstated on October 8, 2011.
is sent as a second program audio service carried in a DTV stations
broadcast. Stations must have the ability to acquire the additional
program audio carrying the Video Description track from their network
and have the infrastructure in place in their plant to support the
routing, encoding and transmission of an additional audio service.
Stations that currently broadcast second language (e.g. Spanish)
on an additional audio service already should have this infrastructure
in place. The FCC has stated that second language and Video Description
may share this additional audio service.
broadcast television affiliates of the top four national networks
located in the top 25 television markets must provide 50 hours per
calendar quarter of video-described prime time and/or childrens
programming counts towards the 50 hours per quarter requirement
when it is aired for the first or second time by that distributor.
Although subsequent airings do not count toward the quarterly requirement,
they must include video description unless the exception to the
pass-through requirement applies.
station that is affiliated or otherwise associated with any television
network, regardless of market size, must pass through
video description when the network provides it. This requirement
applies only if the station has the technical capability necessary
to do so, and if that technical capability is not being used for
another purpose related to the programming.
broadcasters who multicast, the obligation to provide video description
applies only to the primary programming stream, unless another top-4
national broadcast network is carried on a multicast stream. The
pass-through requirement, discussed above, applies to all network-provided
programming carried on all of an affiliated stations programming
offering Mobile DTV have until October 8, 2013, to bring those broadcasts
into compliance with the video description rules.
alleging a failure to comply with these rules may be filed with
the FCC by any viewer, and the FCC will act to resolve such complaints
after reviewing all relevant information provided by the complainant
and the video programming distributor.
A copy of the
R&O is available here
on the FCC Web page.
June 30 EAS CAP Deadline
No later than
June 30, 2012, all broadcast stations must have CAP capable EAS
equipment installed and operating in their facilities. FCC rule
11.56 requires all broadcasters to have equipment installed and
operating that can receive and decode National Level (federal) Emergency
messages (EANs) encoded in the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) format.
CAP compliance deadline was March 31, 2011. In response to a petition
filed by NAB and others, the FCC extended that deadline to September
30 2011. On Friday September 16, 2011, the FCC released an order
further extending the deadline to June 30, 2012.
was reaffirmed in the most recent FCC EAS Report and Order released
January 10, 2012 (Fifth Report and Order in EB Docket No. 04-296
5th R&O). The rules adopted in the 5th R&O
also require broadcasters to interface with and monitor FEMAs
Integrated public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) server for those
federal CAP-formatted EAS messages. However, because IPAWS monitoring
will be largely conducted via an Internet connection, the FCC will
consider, on a case by case basis, applications for waivers from
this monitoring requirement based on the physical lack of availability
The 5th R&O
is available here.
The order extending the Cap compliance deadline is here.
Broadcast Technology Society Issues Call for Papers
Call for Papers has been issued for the 2012 IEEE Broadcast Symposium,
to be held October 17-19, 2012, in Alexandria, Va. The Symposium
Committee seeks timely and relevant technical papers relating to
all aspects of broadcast technology, in particular on the following
radio and television systems: terrestrial, cable, satellite, Internet,
- Mobile DTV
systems (all aspects, both transmission and reception)
issues associated with the termination of analog television broadcasting
propagation, reception, re-distribution of broadcast signals
- AM, FM,
and TV transmitter and antenna systems
- Tests and
- Cable and
satellite interconnection with terrestrial broadcasters
stream issues ancillary services
device operation in TV white spaces
technologies and systems for emerging broadcasting applications
- DTV and
IBOC reception issues and new technologies
- ATSC and
other broadcast standards developments
spectrum issues re-packing, sharing
deadline for abstracts has been extended to May 31, 2012. Visit
the symposium website
for additional information. This Symposium is produced by the IEEE
Broadcast Technology Society.