Information About Secondary Audio Programming
What is Secondary Audio Programming (SAP)?
A secondary audio program (SAP) service is carried along side a television
channel as an alternative to the standard audio that accompanies the video
portion of a program. Listeners can choose this secondary audio signal
through either a television, a stereo VCR equipped to receive SAP signals,
or a special SAP receiver. A portable SAP receiver allows traveling individuals
to catch all the audio from their favourite television show.
The SAP feature allows a TV station to broadcast other information to
the viewer through the audio receive system. That other information could
be the same program audio in another language, or something completely
different, such as weather information or Descriptive Video Services (DVS)
for the visually impaired. DVS is a service where a narrator describes
the action of a scene during pauses in the dialogue. Audiences can hear
that an actor sadly buries his face in his hands, for example.As another
example of S.A.P. application, ABC regularly provides Spanish audio commentary
during "World News Tonight" and "Monday Night Football" as well as other
selected sporting events and specials. They do this using the Secondary
Audio Program (SAP). Viewers who had the SAP feature turned on could hear
the game in Spanish.
The video descriptions delivered over the secondary audio programming
channel are heard only when that channel is activated. AccessDome is working
on bringing you channel listings of North American SAP programming. Please
check back soon.
How does one get the SAP signal?
Most stereo televisions and VCRs manufactured in 1995 or later have SAP
options. Even if you have a newer model TV, SAP will not be available
if your set has mono sound only. Consult your user's manual for secondary
audio programming directions.
You can purchase a stand-alone audio SAP receiver which will pick up
the secondary audio frequency from your public television station. Check
back for a listing of where you can purchase a reciever
Audio streaming over the internet is a new concept which will hopefully catch
on. SAP signals are picked up and rebroadcast. Currently, the only place we
are aware of this happening is at www.voiceprint.ca.
What are the North American communications regulatory bodies doing to ensure
SAP signals are made available to the public?
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC),
has stated that as of March 12, 2001, cable companies with more than 2,000
subscribers, and multipoint distribution systems (MDS) - such as Look
TV, SkyCable and Image Wireless - operating in English-language markets
will be required to distribute VoicePrint. Direct-to-home (DTH) satellite
providers such as Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice will also be required
to distribute the service to their English-language subscribers.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States has
adopted video description rules that will require local affiliates for
ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox networks to provide a minimum of 50 hours of SAP
programming per calendar quarter (roughly four hours per week). These
rules will commence with the calendar quarter April to June 2002.
Eventually, the FCC wants to apply video description rules to all video
programming distributors, including all TV stations, cable operators,
direct broadcast satellite operators, home satellite-dish providers, open
video system operators, satellite master antenna TV operators, and wireless
see our News Release section for more information