DVS Home Video® Sales Effort Comes to a Close
Boston, MA. May 6, 2008. DVS Home Video, a project begun by Boston public broadcaster WGBH in the early 90's to make movies on video accessible to the nation's blind and visually impaired viewers, came to an end on May 12, 2008. The Hollywood studios ceased manufacturing VHS or tape versions of films for sale and rental. WGBH's work to make media accessible via description goes on, with efforts focused on television, feature films in theaters, DVDs and online video.
The DVS Home Video effort, started over a decade ago with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, resulted in more than 300 videos made accessible through narration of key visual elements inserted into natural pauses in dialogue. From the very first DVS Video's debut, the reaction of the community was immediate and actually profound. Films came alive in a whole new way, and the eagerness for new titles only grew. Many of the videos sold over the years were purchased by libraries and schools, which multiplied the number of individuals and families who took such enjoyment in described movies.
Films are now being distributed for sale and rental via DVD, BluRay DVD and through video on demand (either rental or download to own) services via the Internet. WGBH's Media Access Group, home to the Descriptive Video Service®, has been working to transition the home video efforts to DVD and to these online movie delivery outlets. Lack of available memory space on DVDs has been stated as the reason why more description tracks, created for theatrical release in the over 350 movie theaters with WGBH's Motion Picture Access® (MoPix®) systems, are not making the migration onto DVDs. WGBH maintains a list of DVDs that have description tracks on them at the Web page listed with other description-related links at the bottom of this post.
Advocacy is needed from the community of description fans to make this transition happen. Please see the link below for a list of Hollywood studios' home video/home entertainment divisions. Help show the providers of video on these formats that there is a market and that you would be willing to purchase movies with a description track included as an optional feature.
All of us at the Media Access Group appreciate the unyielding support our efforts have generated over the years, and we are looking forward to the next chapter. Here is a list of links to information about ongoing description work from WGBH:
DVS on Television
DVS in Movie Theaters
DVS on DVD
Link to Contact List for Hollywood Studios
(please include "Home Entertainment Division" in the address)
Media Access Group at WGBH