TV commercials may end the loudness war?

aside from solving the obvious annoyance this initiative has the potential to end the loudness war by passing uniform regulations on recording and processing of audio


Senate votes to turn down volume on TV commercials

Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it'll soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.

Ever since television caught on in the 1950s, the Federal Communication Commission has been getting complaints about blaring commercials. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials. So it hasn't been regulating them.

Correcting sound levels is more complicated than using the remote control. The television shows and ads come from a variety of sources, from local businesses to syndicators.

Managing the transition between programs and ads without spoiling the artistic intent of the producers poses technical challenges and may require TV broadcasters to purchase new equipment. To address the issue, an industry organization recently produced guidelines on how to process, measure and transmit audio in a uniform way.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., requires the FCC to adopt those recommendations as regulations within a year and begin enforcing them a year later. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., is the driving force behind the bill in the House.

Its title is the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor, said it's time to stop the use of loud commercials to startle viewers into paying attention. "TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial," he said.
 

SY

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-10-24 10:19 pm
Chicagoland
www.SYclotron.com
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor, said it's time to stop the use of loud commercials to startle viewers into paying attention. "TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial," he said.

Hey, Chuck, how about just turning the idiot box off for a change?
 
It may turn out to be a small (hollow) victory. I think some commercials are highly audio compressed and even if the volume isn't touched, they will sound louder. The stations/advertisers will be happy since they have done nothing "wrong" in their eyes. Unless there are real acoustic measurements with a SLM, how can you prove they have exceeded the limit? What is the limit? It gets dicey to prove it, IMHO.
 
Hi Boris81. I changed the heading to "loudness"
Thanks, Cal!

Hey, Chuck, how about just turning the idiot box off for a change?

I stopped watching TV 5 years in part because I hate how commercials interrupt the programming every 15min. But TV is still the prevailing form of entertainment for most people. If a uniform standard for recording audio is developed it will be driven by the vast majority of TV consumers and not a small group of audiophiles.

After such audio recording standard is required on TV transmission and a bigger audience made aware of it, music artists can start recording albums in that format and use it as a selling point.
 
It may turn out to be a small (hollow) victory. I think some commercials are highly audio compressed and even if the volume isn't touched, they will sound louder. The stations/advertisers will be happy since they have done nothing "wrong" in their eyes. Unless there are real acoustic measurements with a SLM, how can you prove they have exceeded the limit? What is the limit? It gets dicey to prove it, IMHO.

Not really, you just measure average dB over time.
They do tat at outdoor gigs here all the time and in real time.
Seen Hayseed Dixie here outdoors and they were not allowed to exceed an average 90dBSPL at 10m over 10 or 15 minutes. So the guys asked the audience NOT to applaud between songs and the singer told little stories until the average level dropped enough to play the next song really LOUD!
Problem solved…
 
Not really, you just measure average dB over time.
They do tat at outdoor gigs here all the time and in real time.
Seen Hayseed Dixie here outdoors and they were not allowed to exceed an average 90dBSPL at 10m over 10 or 15 minutes. So the guys asked the audience NOT to applaud between songs and the singer told little stories until the average level dropped enough to play the next song really LOUD!
Problem solved…

Well average dB over time wouldn't work on commercials. They will just have a quiet video of smiling people and shout the name of the company at the end.

They will have to come up with some formula that can measure the dynamic range for useful periods of time.
 
Well average dB over time wouldn't work on commercials. They will just have a quiet video of smiling people and shout the name of the company at the end.

They will have to come up with some formula that can measure the dynamic range for useful periods of time.

Personally I don't care if they shout the product name, it's the average volume of commercials that bugs me. Since it's all digital these days they just have to stipulate that the average level cannot be more than say -12dBdfs or better still -18dBdfs.
 
I find the video effects to be at least as equally annoying as the loud commercials. I'm referring to the "bright screen", "black screen", "bright screen", "black screen", all in very quick succession to produce a "strobe" effect, that I assume is done to attract attention. I view this increasingly common practice as similar to watching lightning flashes in your living room, although it now has the exact opposite effect from me. I flip to a music channel during the commercials, and enjoy the music, even if it is of low audio quality.

The overall result of all these annoyances is that my TV viewing time, which never was very high, is now dwindling to the point that I question whether the room space taken by the television, might be put to better use, such as a location for new larger, paper shredder.