How to Turn On/Off Talkback on Android TV

Have your friends or family members ever asked you how to turn Talkback on or off on their Android TV? Let’s start by discussing what Talkback is. When purchasing a mobile or Android TV, it is important to consider the Talkback option, especially if you have elderly individuals or those with visual or hearing impairments. Television is a valuable tool that connects us to the world, keeps us informed, and provides access to news, weather, and sports from around the globe. However, have you ever considered how a visually impaired person can watch TV?

These individuals should not miss out on the enjoyment that TV provides, and they should not feel handicapped in any way. Talkback technology is available on both Android TV and Android mobile devices and is a true blessing for those with sight and hearing problems. It allows them to lead normal lives and enjoy the world just like those without impairments. The only difference is that they approach tasks differently. We should allow them to experience everything that we do without having to sacrifice anything.

Nowadays, most Android TVs come with an inbuilt feature called “Talkback,” which is a screen reader that reads aloud everything displayed on the screen. Regardless of what you tap or navigate on the TV screen, a voice assistant will read the text and image displayed on the screen, allowing users to choose programs and navigate on-screen options with ease. In fact, my child accidentally turned on this feature while watching TV, as it can be enabled during the initial setup process through the Accessibility shortcut window.

How to Turn On/Off Talkback on Android TV
How to Turn On/Off Talkback on Android TV

Enabling this option requires holding the mute button for approximately three seconds, which can be frustrating for individuals without visual impairments. When I first encountered this issue, I struggled to turn off the Talkback feature. I searched for solutions online and explored various methods for enabling and disabling Talkback on Android TV.

What is talkback?

In modern times, most smart TVs run on the Android operating system. This open-source platform is user-friendly, optimized for voice search, and includes the Google Assistant feature, which enables users to search for content across apps with ease. Talkback, in simple terms, is a screen reader, voice narrator, and audio description that reads the TV or mobile screen and provides voice assistance for visually impaired individuals. This screen reader collects all input received through the TV remote and works with an internet connection. Top brands of Android TV offer different Talkback features, which vary based on the brand’s model and price range. High-end smart TVs typically offer additional Talkback features.

One of the latest advancements in Talkback features is Talkback voice commands, which make it even more accessible and responsive. This feature can also be referred to as “talking to your Assistant.” To activate voice commands on an Android TV, simply press the Assistant or Microphone button on the remote and begin speaking into the remote’s microphone to issue commands.

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How to Setup On/Off Talkback on Android TV

I have discovered several methods to enable or disable Talkback on an Android TV. All essential elements displayed on the TV screen can be reached and accessed using the remote. You can navigate the on-screen elements by pressing the UP, DOWN, LEFT, and RIGHT buttons on the remote.

To enable Talkback:

  1. Turn on your Android TV and go to the Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the top right corner and select Settings.
  3. Go to “Device Preferences” and select Accessibility.
  4. Under the Accessibility menu, enable Talkback.
  5. Press OK to start using Talkback.

Disable talkback option

To disable Talkback on your Android TV:

  1. Turn on your Android TV and go to the Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the top right corner and select Settings.
  3. Go to “Device Preferences” and select Accessibility.
  4. Under the Accessibility menu, disable Talkback.
  5. Press OK to stop using Talkback.

Change the volume & pitch

After enabling Talkback on your Android TV, you can customize the volume and pitch of the voice narration to your liking.

To adjust Talkback settings:

  1. Turn on your Android TV and go to the Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the top right corner and select Settings.
  3. Go to “Preferences” and select Accessibility.
  4. Under Accessibility, select TalkBack configuration.
  5. Choose an option to customize the Talkback settings.

How to change screen reader settings?

To enable the screen reader option on your Android TV:

  1. Press the HOME button on your TV remote.
  2. Navigate to the top right corner of the TV screen and select Settings. The location of the settings may vary depending on the Android version of your TV.
  3. In Settings, select Accessibility and press the OK button.
  4. Choose the Screen Reader option. Depending on the model and version of your TV, the option may be named differently, such as Text-to-speech or Voice Assistant.
  5. Enable the Screen Reader option.
  6. Press the OK button to confirm your selection.

How to turn on high-contrast text?

To maximize legibility of images or text for individuals with low vision or photosensitivity, high-contrast text can be enabled on an Android TV using the following steps:

  1. Turn on your Android TV and go to the Home screen.
  2. Select Settings from the top right corner.
  3. Choose “Device Preferences” and then select Accessibility.
  4. Look for the High Contrast Text option under Accessibility.
  5. Turn on High Contrast Text to enable the feature.

What are the Accessibility features on Android TV?

Accessibility settings on Android TV offer a variety of options, including Talkback, Accessibility shortcut, Text Magnification, Audio Description, Subtitles, Audio output to Headphones, and more. The settings for these features may vary based on the TV model, configuration, price, brand, etc. Let’s discuss some main features, including Vision Assist, Hearing Assist, and Action Assist, one by one.

Vision Assist: This feature includes the screen reader function that can read only some texts and points that are focused or selected. The language to be read by the screen reader should be decided, but not all languages are supported by screen readers.

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To set up the Text-to-Speech feature and adjust the speech rate, follow these steps:

  1. On your TV remote, press the HOME button.
  2. Go to the top right corner of the TV screen and select Settings. The location of the settings may vary depending on the Android version of your TV.
  3. In settings, select Accessibility and press Enter or OK button.
  4. Select Text-to-speech and press Enter option. The name may vary based on the model and version of the Android TV, such as text-to-speech, voice assistant, etc.
  5. Press the down arrow button and select Engine configuration and enter the OK option.
  6. Press the down arrow button to select the Language option. Select the desired language and press Enter.
  7. Choose the speech rate by selecting Speech rate and pressing the Enter option. Then select the desired rate from slow to fast and press Enter.

Hearing Assist: This feature includes Closed Captions, also known as subtitles, which transform audio content into text that is displayed on the screen. Closed captions are the text that appears at the bottom of the screen while the voice is playing on TV programs. This option is used for people who are deaf or have difficulty in hearing. To enable Closed Captions, press the subtitle button (CC) on your TV remote control.

To enable subtitles on your Android TV through settings, follow these steps:

  1. Switch on your Android TV and go to the Home screen.
  2. Go to the top right corner and select Settings.
  3. Go to “Device Preferences” and select Accessibility.
  4. Under Accessibility, select Captions.
  5. Select the source and options as per your choice.

Action Assist: This feature focuses on the remote control, which helps in assisting the actions taking place on the TV. The BRAVIA remote control is widely used and is designed to be used on a tabletop on a flat surface and can only be used with one finger.

Limitations of talkback on Android tv?

Every technology has its own limitations, and TalkBack is no exception. Although it has numerous benefits, its use can sometimes disturb the normal habits of non-visually impaired users. Since it’s specifically designed to cater to the needs of visually impaired users, TalkBack requires a complex process to read out information by passing through all the widgets. Users have to single-tap a button to select a widget and double-tap to activate it, making it an extra effort for the Android developer’s team.

Moreover, TalkBack significantly drains your battery because of its extensive tapping and speaking features, unlike regular users. If non-visually impaired users accidentally enable TalkBack, they might find it challenging to navigate through the options or turn it off without any guidance.


Emerging technologies have made it easier for us to support family members who are aging or visually impaired. With just a tap or click, we can replace all our concerns. Voice feedback keeps them engaged without the need to look at the screen, and the TalkBack feature on Android TV allows for navigation through the entire screen. It provides a real-time experience when watching a movie, and the sound effects balance out the non-speech elements and certain non-speech scenes.

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In some Android TV programs, all key elements on the screen are reachable and accessible through the remote, with navigation enabled by pressing the UP, DOWN, LEFT, and RIGHT buttons. The TalkBack feature offers an amazing experience and support that users will surely appreciate. Once you start using it, you may also discover other features such as voiceover that can enhance your experience even further.

We hope this article has provided enough information about TalkBack, and turning it on or off on your Android TV will no longer be a challenge for you!


How Does the Talk Back Function Work in Android TV?

Google has developed Android TV, a smart TV operating system, which uses various apps and media to provide multiple features for television sets. Users can access additional apps from Playstore as well. Android TVs support numerous features such as voice input, Chromecast, Knowledge graph, and Google Assistant.
One of the remarkable features is Talkback, which allows the user to experience what is happening on the screen. Talkback is pre-installed on most Android TVs and supports 63 languages for the Google text-to-speech feature. To enable Talkback, users can navigate to the home screen, click on settings, then accessibility, then services, and finally enable Talkback. The process for enabling Talkback is the same on most TVs.

How do I turn off Accessibility services?

The accessibility service is designed to make your device easier to use for people with disabilities. One of the key features of this service is Talkback, which provides audio feedback by reading out the text and describing the images on the screen. Voice Guidance, TalkBack, VoiceOver, and closed captions are some of the most common accessibility features available on Android TVs.
Some remote controls have a dedicated button to access these features. To turn off the accessibility service, go to the home screen and open Settings on your device. Then select Accessibility, followed by TalkBack, and toggle the TalkBack feature on or off according to your preference. Finally, select Ok to confirm your choice.

How to resolve Talkback not working on my TV?

Before purchasing a new TV for the Talkback feature, it’s important to research the brand, cost, configuration, model, and additional support features to find the best fit for your needs. If you experience any issues with Talkback after purchasing the TV, the first solution is to contact the customer support center.
In case of future issues, check if your TV is connected to the internet and ensure the accessibility shortcut function isn’t accidentally turning on/off the Talkback feature. This can happen if the user holds the mute button for 3 seconds. It’s also recommended to install recent updates and check for the latest Android version to ensure optimal performance.





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