Accessible services

Digital UK aims to help viewers with disabilities access services on DTT (digital terrestrial television - commonly known as Freeview). We work closely with manufacturers, charities and other organisations to stay up to date with developments in this area and, of course, welcome any feedback from viewers.  

Click here for Digital UK's website accessibility page

Download Digital UK's accessibility statement

A large print version of the Freeview channel guide is available from the Freeview website

If you have any questions regarding accessibility on DTT, please contact us

Accessibility support on Freeview equipment

There are a range of services available which can improve Freeview viewing for those with disabilities including audio description, subtitles and signing.

Audio Description

Audio Description is a free service that can improve the enjoyment of TV for people with sight problems by adding additional commentary describing body language, expressions and movements.

Many popular programmes such as Eastenders, Coronation Street and Doctor Who are audio described, not to mention many other dramas, documentaries, cookery shows, travel programmes, children's programmes and films.

A comprehensive schedule of programmes with audio description can be found on the TV Help website www.tvhelp.org.uk/audes/schedule.php.

Many Freeview products have audio description (including all Freeview HD equipment). The RNIB have produced a useful fact sheet with information on products that offer access to audio description programming.

For further information, you can contact the RNIB on 0303 123 9999, or visit the RNIB website for other contact options.

Subtitling

Subtitles allow viewers with hearing difficulties to read the dialogue that is being spoken and this text is usually displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Most programmes are now subtitled on Freeview. When a programme is subtitled, the broadcaster can display an 'S' in the programme synopsis which signals to viewers that this facility is available.

All Freeview products enable viewers to access subtitles and these can be accessed in one of two ways:

  • Pressing the Subtitles button on the remote control of the set-top box or digital television. This may also be shown as SUB depending on the equipment.
  • Pressing the Menu button and following the on-screen options to set language and subtitles.

Action On Hearing Loss have produced a helpful fact sheet with further information on subtitling.

Signing

All signing on television involves a visible signer translating for a particular programme – this is known as open signing. The signer will usually appear in the bottom corner of the screen, with the programme being broadcast full size or positioned away from that corner in a slightly smaller size.

There are fewer programmes available with signing than with subtitling. Where signing is provided, the broadcaster can display 'SL' in the programme synopsis signalling this to the viewer.

You can find out more about signing by visiting the Action for Hearing Loss website www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk.

Specialist Equipment

Many Freeview TVs, set-top boxes and recorders (including all Freeview HD products) have been developed to offer greater access to viewers with hearing or visual impairments.

Talking Devices

Some digital television products include a talking feature (known as voice guidance). This helps guide visually impaired users on what is happening as they navigate television services with the remote control.

To find out more on these devices, visit the RNIB website

Induction Loop

Induction loop systems are designed so that you can hear sounds more clearly because they reduce or cut out background noise. At home, you could use a loop to hear sound from your television and they can be used with most digital TVs and boxes.

Viewers using a loop can adjust the volume of this independently, allowing others in the room to continue listening at a comfortable level.

Find out how to connect an induction loop system to your TV.

Action On Hearing Loss have also produced a fact sheet on induction loops that you may find useful.

For any further information on induction loop systems please contact Action On Hearing Loss on:

Telephone: 0808 808 0123 or Textphone: 0808 808 9000.

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