ABC TV audio-description trial to begin mid-2012

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Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.

Lost among the kerfuffle of Kevin versus Julia last week was an announcement that will gladden the hearts of those suffering from blindness: the ABC will begin a trial audio-description TV service in the middle of 2012.

The trial will run for roughly 14 hours per week during primetime viewing hours on ABC1. The trial will last for 13 weeks, starting on an as yet unspecified date.

The audio-description service will describe events, actions and characters involved in the scene of dramas, documentaries and comedies. These descriptions are broadcasted whenever participants in the TV program aren't speaking.

A compatible TV or set-top box is required to receive the "receiver-mixed" audio stream.

Once the trial is complete, the ABC will report back to the government about all aspects of the trial, including end-user feedback, programming acquisition and technical issues.

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