|Launched||January 29, 2009|
|Owned by||Accessible Media Inc.|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Formerly called||The Accessible Channel (2009–2012)|
|Bell TV||Channel 48 (SD)|
|Shaw Direct||Channel 888 (SD)|
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Check local listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Aliant TV||Channel 888 (SD)|
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 48 (SD)|
|MTS||Channel 888 (SD)
Channel 1888 (HD)
|Optik TV||Channel 55 (SD)|
|SaskTel||Channel 554 (SD)|
AMI-tv is a Canadian English language digital cable specialty channel owned by Accessible Media. AMI-tv broadcasts a selection of general entertainment programming, along with original series relating to accessibility and disability-related topics. All of its programming is broadcast is an "open" format; all programming is provided with closed captioning, and described video is used as the primary audio track.
AMI-tv is licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as a must-carry service; it must be carried on the lowest level of service by all licensed digital cable, satellite television, and IPTV providers in Canada.
On March 27, 2007, the CRTC held a public hearing to consider twelve applications from applicants who were requesting mandatory distribution for their television services in the basic package of all digital television service providers in Canada. Among those twelve applicants, was the National Broadcast Reading Service, a non-profit organization who operates the reading service VoicePrint, which is also a "must-carry" service. The NBRS proposed a service known as "The Accessible Channel", a 24-hour English-language channel which would be devoted to providing programming of interest to those who are blind or visually impaired, in a format which would be accessible to those individuals. This goal would be accomplished through the use of described video on the primary audio track, allowing viewers who cannot properly use or access the second audio program on a television (due to either a lack of knowledge on how to access the function, or technical issues in providing these feeds to subscribers) to still listen to programming with described video. The NBRS also planned to maintain a daily "Disabled Viewing Guide"; special of programs with described video across all Canadian broadcasters, in
On July 24, 2007, the CRTC made its final decision on The Accessible Channel's licensing: the commission acknowledged it had made, stating that "television is a key tool for social integration for all citizens, including persons with disabilities." The commission also recognized that the low amount of described content on television (along with the technical issues NBRS cited) made it difficult for the visually impaired to find accessible television programming. With that in mind, the CRTC approved the NBRS's application to operate The Accessible Channel.
At a gala coinciding with the United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2008, the NBRS officially announced, that The Accessible Channel would officially launch in January 2009. Additionally, NBRS also announced that the channel would carry closed captioning for all of its programming: while the CRTC's standard conditions of license for digital services at the time only mandated TAC to provide 90% of programming with closed captioning, the NBRS felt that doing so for all of its programming would further its goal to make TAC an "inclusive" service. The channel subsequently launched on January 29, 2009 as The Accessible Channel, often referred to as TAC or TACtv in various media. A month following its launch, the network also received permission from the CRTC allowing it to operate a high definition version of TAC.
To reflect its expansion beyond VoicePrint, the National Broadcast Reading Service was renamed Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) in 2010. On January 30, 2012, as part of an effort to unify AMI's services under one brand, TAC was renamed AMI-tv. VoicePrint followed suit on March 5, 2012, becoming AMI-audio.
In January 2013, AMI submitted an application to the CRTC for a new, French language sister channel of AMI-tv known as AMI-tv Français, to be granted mandatory carriage on the digital basic service in French-language markets. The CRTC is scheduled to listen to the mandatory carriage request for AMI-tv Français, along with similar requests from other channels, in an April 2013 hearing.
AMI-tv carries a general entertainment lineup of programming including sitcoms, television dramas, films, talk shows, and documentaries. Although AMI-tv is primarily aimed at adults, a limited amount of programming broadcast during morning hours are aimed at children including such programs as Little Bear and Franklin. The majority of programming on AMI-tv are Canadian productions supplied in conjunction with other major Canadian broadcasters such as the CBC and CTV; a smaller portion of programming is also sourced from foreign broadcasters and studios, but in any case, no more than 33% of its programming can be supplied by a single broadcaster, and at least 50% of programming must by described by companies unaffiliated with AMI. The network also airs four hours a week of programming in French—as with its English programming, it is also closed captioned and contains audio descriptions in French
AMI-tv also produces and airs original programming, primarily dealing with accessibility and disability-related topics. Of these included its 2011 documentary A Whole New Light, which focused on Canada's contributions to the research of vision loss. Notably, audio descriptions were also embedded directly into the film's content as well, instead of being relegated to a post-production task. It also produced an original documentary series to lead up to the 2012 Summer Paralympics, Milestones of Champions: The Journeys of Canada's Paralympians, focusing on the stories of notable athletes at the Games.
AMI-tv has also carried live coverage of special events with described video, beginning with the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in conjunction with CBC News, who offered AMI's audio descriptions on its own television outlets through SAP. AMI also provided similar services during the federal election and Canada Day festivities in Ottawa as well. In conjunction with coverage of the games carried by CTV and Rogers properties, AMI-tv also offered coverage of the 2012 Summer Paralympics; including simulcasts of daily highlight shows with described video, and a daily program featuring interviews with athletes hosted by AMI reporters Carrie Anton (who was a member of Canada's gold medal winning goalball team at the 2000 Summer Paralympics) and Gary Steeves, both of whom are blind.
- Accessible Channel Launches with "Open Format'; Broadcaster Magazine; 2008-12-01
- "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2007-246". Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-821 CRTC 2010-11-05
- Accessible Media Inc. rebrands world-leading broadcast service for Canadians with disabilities: TACtv now known as AMI-tv AMI press release 2012-01-30
- "Accessible Media Inc. rebrands world-leading broadcast reading service for Canadians with disabilities: VoicePrint now known as AMI-audio". Press release. AMI. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "Changes to Ultimate TV". Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-19". CRTC. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "About AMI-tv". AMI. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Canada pioneers audio description methods". Media Access Australia. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Media advisory - AMI reveals reporter lineup for Paralympic Games". Press release. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "How to Watch the London 2012 Paralympic Games". CTVOlympics.ca. Retrieved 25 August 2012.