Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'll believe it when I don't hear it...

Something else will have to occupy much of senior citizen conversations if this report is true:

And the second piece of TV news?  Something that's close to my heart: broadcasters have promised Congress that by September they will have standards in place that prevent commercials from being wildly louder than the TV programs they're embedded in.  Hooray!  It's only taken them 40 years to finally address this.  "We get it," an industry flack told Congress about loud ad complaints. "As a matter of pure economics, we do not want to lose viewers."
The bad news, however, is that the industry's sweet talk has convinced Congress to halt work on legislation to force broadcasters to address this.  Too bad.  Like the Do Not Call list, this is one of those things where ideology plays no role for me.  I don't care if this is liberal, conservative, libertarian, or anything else.  I just want it to stop, and I don't care a whit whether or not it's a justified interference in the free market.  JUST MAKE IT STOP! [More]
This made me wonder why this occurs. Or is it our imaginations?
Spencer Critchley, writing in Digital Audio last month, explained it this way: “The peak levels of commercials are no higher than the peak levels of program content. But the average level is way, way higher, and that’s the level your ears care about. If someone sets off a camera flash every now and then it’s one thing; if they aim a steady spot light into your eyes it’s another, even if the peak brightness is no higher.”
There’s also what Brian Dooley of calls “perceived loudness.” If you’re watching a drama with soft music and quiet dialogue and the station slams into a commercial for the July 4th Blow Out Sale, it’s going to be jarring. If you happen to go from the program into a commercial for a sleeping pill, one with a subtle soundtrack, it probably won’t bother you. 
Help is on the way! Last month Dolby Laboratories announced it has developed technology to level out the sound differences that take place during shows and between TV programs and commercials. You pick the volume you like and the Dolby software will make the adjustments in real time automatically.
Dolby Volume could show up in some TV sets by the end of this year or early next year. [More]
Oh sure, right after most of us just plunked down for a new flat screen HDTV...

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