Commercials Too Loud, CALM Could be the Answer

Posted by at 3:02 pm on April 8, 2011

“CALM” will be in focus at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) this year with demonstrations on the latest method of addressing a persistent viewer complaint: the commercials are too loud!

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is offering the “CALM Place” at the 2011 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show for attendees to see how broadcasters can best to comply with a new federal regulation that addresses the issue.

“Digital technology can be applied to not only enhance picture and sound, but also to deal effectively with the annoyance of commercials that sound louder than the programs they surround. ATSC is offering the CALM Place during the NAB Show to allow a number of companies to show their solutions to this important consumer issue,” said Mark Richer, President of the ATSC.

Responding to consumer complaints about the relative loudness of TV commercials, Congress in December passed the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act that requires the Federal Communications Commission to adopt the relevant portions of the ATSC A/85 “Recommended Practice” developed by ATSC to deal with the issue.

Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), who introduced the CALM Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, said at the time of the bill’s introduction that “a TV program has a mix of audio levels. There are loud and soft parts. Nuance is used to build the dramatic effect. Most advertisers don’t want nuance. They want to grab our attention, and to do this, they record every part of it as loud as possible. My legislation will reduce the volume of commercials in order to bring them to same level as the programs they accompany.”

The TV broadcasting industry is prepared to fully meet the requirements of the new law, which is expected to be incorporated into new FCC regulations later this year.

Demonstrations on CALM at NAB Include

  • NBC Universal working with FOX on a demonstration of audio mixing, loudness monitoring and transmission/splicing systems;
  • DaySequerra/DTS, showing the new NLC5.1ST Loudness Control, iLM8 Intelligent Loudness Meter and M2DTV Mobile Media Loudness Processor;
  • IneoQuest, which plans to show the Expedus DVA;
  • Linear Acoustics demonstrating multiband audio processing, Aero.qr, Aero.air (S.1), LAMDA –II, and HDX/A5A/Lilliput; and
  • Dolby, showcasing its DP600 Program Optimizer, which provides a range of tools for helping operators comply with the CALM act regulations.


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