“At home, in lockdown and quarantine,
Netflix is our valentine.”
The verse may be extremely sub-standard but at this point, it stands correct for many of us, with many parts of the world in lockdown. Netflix and binge-watching have been a perfect marriage since forever but more time at home almost always means more Netflix. But well, sometimes, it is just not possible to keep your eyes on the screen – you might have some chores, you might actually be working on something and so on. Well, one option is to just keep your favorite show or film running and peek into it from time to time. Another is to keep pausing and playing them. Neither of which is really convenient.
Fortunately, there is a way around this. Your can actually listen to the Netflix show or film just as you would an audiobook – compete with descriptions, music, and dialogue, allowing you to visualise the action, even if you are not in a position to watch it.
Making this possible is a feature called Audio Description. It was initially designed to help the visually challenged experience the Netflix universe, but it is just fine for those times when you simply cannot sit and veg-out in front of your TV but cannot wait to know what happens next either.
What makes Audio Description special is that the descriptions of what is happening on the screen are not mechanised, but very human. You do not feel as if you are hearing a screen reading recite something but the narration itself is well crafted, with appropriate dramatic effects and a tone that blends right in with the content.
So for instance, the Audio Description of Sherlock will be very different from the Audio Description of Stranger Things. The best part is that the dialogue is totally untouched – the narration is built around it. Netflix has a special team dedicated to making Audio Descriptions for shows and films and it has done a very good job indeed, in essence, “audiobooking” Netflix.
There is a slight catch, though. This feature is not available for all the content on Netflix. It is, however, available for all Netflix originals, which in itself is something. It is also available for some content that has not been produced by Netflix – we got a very good description for the Sherlock Holmes film (starring Robert “OnePlus” Downey Jr.). All said and done, this is a great feature for those folks who prefer listening to content (there are those!) Or who simply cannot afford to see the display at a particular time. It actually gives you the option to follow a show through your headphones even while you are working or working out or taking a stroll.
It is pretty simple to activate this feature. Just follow these steps to make Netflix sound a whole lot different:
Step 1: Sign up/ log in
First things first, you need to log-in to your Netflix account. If you do not have a Netflix account you would first have to sign up. The media service provider offers a trial period of one month where you can sign up and access its services free of cost for a month and then select a plan that suits you accordingly. You can log in/ sign up here.
Step 2: Choose TV shows and movies:
After logging in, you will find three options on the top of your screen, right next to the Netflix logo– “TV Shows”, “Movies” and “My list”. Select either TV Shows or Movies depending on what you would like to hear.
Step 3: Go to “All Genres”:
Once you have decided between TV shows and movies, you have to select the option present right next to it, on top of your screen– “All Genres”.
Step 4: Select “Audio Description”:
Tapping on All Genres will open up a list based on which movies and shows are categorized. You have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the list to find what you are looking for, “Audio Description.” Select the genre and you will be presented with all the TV shows or movies that come with this “audiobook” like feature. These Audio Descriptions are not just available for content in English but for content in other languages as well.
Step 5: Choose the program and hit “Audio and Subtitles”:
Now that you have the content that comes with Audio Descriptions, select the one you wish to hear. Once the program starts playing, select “Audio and Subtitles”, from among the options available at the base of the display (the others are “Lock,” “Episodes,” and “Next Episode” in case of a series, and simply “Lock” in the case of a film.) If they are not visible, simply tap on the display and they will appear.
Step 6: Tap on “Audio Description”:
Selecting “Audio and Subtitles” will open a screen with two main categories– Audio and Subtitles. Here you have to select the third option in the Audio category, “Audio Description” and Voila! Your program will turn into an audiobook, ready to be listened to.
Got that? Now you can not only binge-watch but can even binge listen to your favorite shows and films.