FCC Invites Public Comments on the Accessibility of User Interfaces for Video Programming

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
January 8, 2014

The FCC invites public comments related to the usability and accessibility of user display settings for closed captioning of video, on-screen text menus for video programming guides, and audible emergency information to accompany on-screen emergency information. The FCC also would like feedback on whether it would be beneficial to notify consumers of the availability of accessibility features. The deadline for public comments is February 18, 2014.

The FCC specifically invites comments on:

• Whether the Commission should adopt rules to define the term “usable” for purposes of implementing Section 204 of the CVAA;

• Whether the phrase “accessibility features” in Sections 303(aa)(3) and 303(bb)(2) of the Act includes user display settings for closed captioning and whether those sections can be interpreted to require covered entities to ensure that consumers are able to locate and control such settings;

• Whether there are possible sources of authority for the Commission to require MVPDs to ensure that video programming guides and menus that provide channel and program information include high level channel and program descriptions and titles, as well as a symbol identifying the programs with accessibility options;

• Whether the Commission should require manufacturers of apparatus covered by Section 203 of the CVAA to provide access to the secondary audio stream used for audible emergency information by a mechanism reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon;

• Whether the Commission should impose additional notification requirements on MVPDs regarding the availability of accessible equipment and, if so, what those notification requirements should be; and

• Whether equipment manufacturers subject to Section 205 should be required pursuant to Section 205(b)(1) to inform consumers about the availability of audibly accessible devices and accessibility solutions.

Additional information is available in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM).

See the related Final Rule for Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus, published in the Federal Register on December 20 and entering into effect on January 21, 2014.