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Section 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) covers digital apparatuses designed to receive, playback, and display multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) programming. This requirement applies to manufacturers of MVPD hardware and MVPD organizations and includes the software installed on the hardware by the manufacturer or directed for installation by the manufacturer or MVPD. It also covers software that is provided by the MVPD to access video programming and other MVPD services.

Furthermore, Section 205 covers devices such as set top boxes, mobile apps, devices used for navigation, and user guides of video programming. However, only the features that are required for video programming and user guides, controls, and user interfaces features used to access the programming are covered. For example, on-screen menus must provide audio output for people who are blind or visually impaired, and any physical buttons must be accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. MVPD and manufacturers are, however, only required to provide an accessible device upon request. Customers cannot be charged more than the amount that customers without disabilities pay for the same device or level of service. A feature such as a key, button, or icon to enable closed captions must be provided on all devices for all users who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In next week’s post in the CVAA Sections 204 and 205 Series we’ll delve more deeply into who must comply with Section 205, what is and is not covered and how to achieve accessibility.