Star Trek Fan Complains About Audio Tracks for Visually Impaired, CBS Responds With “Buy Our Stuff”

Trying to talk sense into corporations is never easy, especially if you are just one person. Combine that with the idea of “Ableism” – meaning things that hinder folks with various disabilities from doing things that aren’t a problem for able-bodied people, and therefore leave those disabled people in the dust – and you have a recipe for disaster. Enter CBS, and one Star Trek fan’s fight to be able to enjoy his franchise the way they needs to watch it.

In a reddit thread for Star Trek Discovery, one user wrote about their experience with CBS. This particular person was hoping to get audio description tracks for the visually impaired for “Star Trek Discovery”, which exclusively streams in the US on CBS All Access. They sent a message to the company, and received an unexpected reply.

Here was their response, via the thread:

“Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, at this time we don’t have much information about audio tracks for the visually impaired, but with CBS All Access, subscribers enjoy more than 10,000 episodes from over 90 CBS series on their mobile devices, computers or streaming devices without a cable subscription. Subscribers can also stream their local CBS station live (in select markets) and binge-watch our ad-free TV Classics. If you’d like to try CBS All Access and take advantage of our FREE TRIAL for first-time subscribers, visit http://www.cbs.com/all-access and click and click the “Try it FREE” icon. If you still need assistance, click the “Contact Us” tab on the right side of this page and complete the form, or call (888) 274-5343 , 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. (ET) to speak to an agent. Regards, CBS All Access Customer Service”

In other words, we can’t really help your inquiry, but you can buy our stuff. Buy our stuff!

CBS already produces these descriptions for a number of their programs, but have not made them available on CBS All Access.

The battle to get proper closed captions and audio description tracks on streaming services is sadly not an old fight. It took some lawsuits to get Netflix to agree to do it, but it has still been a horrible mess, including shows missing entire sentences or sometimes being completely erroneous.

Here is the original posting:

Oddly enough, since Discovery is on Netflix outside of the US, the show has audio descriptions there – meaning they already exist, but not on CBS’s platform.

Not to sound like we are using this as a chance to self-promote, we do want to add that we here at NN2D have only recently begun adding closed captions to some of our videos on Youtube, and have found the user interface to be a bit user-unfriendly. We hope to continue adding CC to our newer videos, and some of our more popular older videos. It’s a time consuming process, especially for a site manned by one person, but it is in our radar, and something we aim to do so everyone can enjoy our content.

For now, the fight to get CBS to agree to this continues. You can make your voice heard as well by flooding them on social media to help make this happen.

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