US Senate Against Loud Commercials

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.

However, the Senate unanimously passed a bill last Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to limit the volume of commercials and keep them at the level of 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.

There’s one little problem, 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.

I love the idea of not jumping out of my seat every time a local commercial shows up on the screen, specially the Verizon ads that I hate so much, you pay for the damn service and they still slap their service ads on your face, it’s frustrating.

Until the Senate works out all the knicks and knacks on this bill you could also try a TV volume controller, it’s not that wonderful but it gets the job done.


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