2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics Q&A

Timothy Wynn

Hello all,
A number of questions may come up when attempting to watch the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics with audio description, whether on television or online. This e-mail attempts to clarify matters using press releases from NBC Sports as well as other publicly available resources. Each question is a level-three heading, and there are links to resources throughout. Please let me know if you have further questions not addressed below, and I will do my best to answer.

Timothy Wynn, on behalf of the ADP Media Subcommittee

Where and when can I watch the Olympic and Paralympic coverage with audio description on television?

"For the Olympic Winter Games, all competitions aired during primetime hours and Prime Plus, along with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, will include live audio description on the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) channel, provided by Descriptive Video Works. For the Paralympic Games, NBC Sports will provide live audio description for all broadcast programming, including those aired outside primetime hours, as well as on all simulstreams" (NBC Sports press release). This means that for the Olympic Games, Primetime, Prime West, Prime Plus, and Primetime Repeat coverage will have live audio description on the SAP channel on NBC; for the Paralympic Games, all broadcast programming, regardless of when it airs, will have live audio description on the SAP channel on NBC, the Olympic Channel (OC), and the USA Network. Please consult this page for the Olympic programming schedule and this page for the Paralympic programming schedule (subject to change); see below for personalizing your schedule on the NBC Olympics platform. The audio description Project's daily listing of TV shows with description is also listing the Olympic coverage—look for 2022 Winter Olympics and 2022 Winter Paralympics. Please consult the ADP's audio description on television information page for general guidelines on how to access SAP.

Who do I contact if audio description is not being passed through on television?

It is advisable to contact the necessary parties beforehand with as much detailed information as possible, especially if there were audio description pass-through issues in the past. This allows you time to advocate and educate, but also gives time for engineers to determine the source(s) of the issue and come up with possible solution(s).

If audio description is not being passed through on the NBC broadcast network, it is likely that the problem originates with your local NBC affiliate. Please use the closed captioning contact or the engineering contact to get in touch with the affiliate. If you do not have this information, the FCC maintains a database of contacts for closed captioning feedback which conveniently lists both a contact for immediate feedback and a contact for written complaints—consult the "Resolving Problems Receiving Audio Description" section on ADP's TV info page for a guide on using this database.

If audio description is not being passed through on either the Olympic Channel or USA Network, it is likely that the problem originates with your cable, telephone company (local exchange carrier), or satellite provider/service. If your provider has an accessibility department, please contact them to report a SAP pass-through issue for either the Olympic Channel or USA Network. The ADP's audio description on television information page also lists contacts for the major cable and satellite providers/services.

Can I stream the Olympic and Paralympic coverage live with audio description?

Similar to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic coverage, "[d]igital live streams with closed captions and audio description will also be available on NBCOlympics.com[,] the NBC Sports app[, and on Peacock]" (Previous Tokyo Games NBC Sports press release. For most content on NBOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, a provider sign-in will be required, though in most cases, you can watch the first 30 minutes of a live stream without having to sign in; for the Peacock platform, the premium tier is required to view content. On NBCOlympics.com, you can activate the "Personalize your schedule" button on the Schedule page, and personalize by sport, interest (such as "Audio Description"), and viewing method. Additionally, the streams with audio description can be found by searching for "audio description" on NBCOlympics.com, filtering by the "Audio Description " topic in the NBC Sports app, and looking under the "Audio Description" heading of the Olympics section on Peacock. "All of this audio description and closed captioning will be available to Comcast Xfinity customers who experience the Games on the Xfinity X1 platform, including on the live Olympic Games coverage delivered in 4K, on Xfinity Stream, and on Xfinity Flex" (NBC Sports press release).

Alternatively, if you wish to view a chronological schedule of all live and upcoming streams with audio description for the Paralympics, please consult the schedule on NBCOlympics.com. There is also a page which conveniently lists the replay streams for the Olympics with audio description.

Can I stream the Olympic and Paralympic coverage on-demand after the fact with audio description?

All television coverage live streams are able to be replayed on NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app, and on Peacock after the fact, including the streams with audio description. For the NBC Olympics platform, please consult the replay streams with audio description page. Alternatively, search for "audio description", navigate to the "REPLAYS" level-two heading, and choose the stream you want to watch.

Additionally, if you know that a stream has an audio description counterpart but is not showing up in the search results, suffix the link with "-audio-description" in the address bar and you can access it that way. For example, here's the link to the Prime Plus coverage from August 1, 2021:
The audio described stream would be:

How do I start playback of a live stream or replay on NBCOlympics.com?

As of August 24, 2021, the play button is now properly labeled for screen reader users on NBCOlympics.com. To initiate playback, find and activate the "play" button, located on the second line of the page (right below www.nbcolympics.com), and the player will initialize and the video will start playing. The player controls are usable—the buttons are labeled and you can see the elapsed and remaining times. If focus is on the seek slider, the left/down arrow moves back by 15 seconds, and likewise the right/up arrow moves forwards by 15 seconds—pressing page-up/down or home/end does not seem to do anything, nor does pressing 1-0 to move to different percentages of the video. If you are focused on the volume slider, the arrow keys changes the volume by 10 percent.