Accessibility best practices for Android TV

This guide provides best practices for accessibility on Android TV and provides recommendations for both native and non-native apps.

Why is accessibility important for my TV app?

Vision impairments are not uncommon among the TV-watching population. An estimated 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the US, 32 million Americans age 18 and older have experienced significant vision loss, according to the 2018 National Health Interview Survey. In Europe, the estimates point to 30 million blind and partially sighted persons, according to the European Blind Union (EBU).

Most importantly, users with vision impairments enjoy media content just as much as their fully sighted peers. A 2017 survey commissioned by Comcast showed that 96% of users who are blind or have low vision regularly watch TV, with 81% watching more than an hour per day. However, 65% also reported encountering problems with looking up what's on TV. And in a 2020 survey in the UK, 80% of disabled people said they had experienced accessibility issues with video on-demand streaming services.

While assistive technologies can and do help users with low vision, it's important to support accessibility in content discovery journeys for TV apps. For example, pay extra attention to providing navigation guidance and properly labeling elements, and ensure that TV apps work well with accessibility features like TalkBack. These steps can significantly improve the experience for users with vision impairments.

The first step toward improving accessibility is awareness. This guide can help you and your team to uncover accessibility issues with your TV app.

Android accessibility resources

To learn more about accessibility on Android, see our accessibility development resources.

Text scaling

Android TV apps should respect the user's preference for text scaling by supporting different pixel densities.

Take special care to:

  • Use wrap_content for dimensions in UI components.
  • Ensure that layouts rearrange components as their dimensions change depending on the text scale.
  • Ensure that components still fit on the screen at larger text scales.
  • Don't use sp text size units for components that are not flexible.
  • Check the value of FONT_SCALE for adjustment in custom views:

    // Checking font scale with Context
    val scale = resources.configuration.fontScale
    Log.d(TAG, "Text scale is: " + scale)

The text scale can be changed with the following command:

adb shell settings put system font_scale 1.2f

On Android 12 and above, users can alter the text scaling from the device settings.

Keyboard layouts

In Android 13 (API level 33) and higher, you can use getKeyCodeForKeyLocation() to look up the keycodes for expected key locations. This might be necessary if the user has re-mapped some key locations or if they are using a keyboard that does not have a typical layout.

Audio description

In Android 13 (API level 33) and higher, a new system-wide accessibility preference lets users enable audio descriptions across all apps. Android TV apps can check the user's preference by querying it with isAudioDescriptionRequested().


private lateinit var accessibilityManager: AccessibilityManager

// In onCreate():
accessibilityManager = getSystemService(

// Where your media player is initialized
if (am.isAudioDescriptionRequested) {
    // User has requested to enable audio descriptions


private AccessibilityManager accessibilityManager;

// In onCreate():
accessibilityManager = getSystemService(AccessibilityManager.class);

// Where your media player is initialized
if(accessibilityManager.isAudioDescriptionRequested()) {
    // User has requested to enable audio descriptions

Android TV apps can monitor when a user's preference changes by adding a listener to AccessibilityManager:


private val listener =
    AccessibilityManager.AudioDescriptionRequestedChangeListener { enabled ->
        // Preference changed; reflect its state in your media player

override fun onStart() {

    accessibilityManager.addAudioDescriptionRequestedChangeListener(mainExecutor, listener)

override fun onStop() {



private AccessibilityManager.AudioDescriptionRequestedChangeListener listener = enabled -> {
    // Preference changed; reflect its state in your media player

protected void onStart() {

    accessibilityManager.addAudioDescriptionRequestedChangeListener(getMainExecutor(), listener);

protected void onStop() {