Cable Fighting Video-Description Rules

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Washington -- The cable industry said last Thursday that
the Federal Communications Commission has no authority to require cable operators to
provide video descriptions to assist TV consumers with visual disabilities.

"Congress directed the [FCC] to issue a report on
developments in this area. But it gave the [FCC] no authority to act further," the
National Cable Television Association said in an FCC filing Thursday.

The FCC is considering ordering the major TV networks and
large cable operators to provide about four hours per week of video description during
primetime or for children's programming.

Unlike closed-captioning to help the hearing impaired,
visual description would impose new network burdens on cable operators, the NCTA said.

"Numerous changes would need to be made to the cable
infrastructure to create an audio path to provide even a small amount of video-described
programming to a single cable customer," the trade association added.

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