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Ban On Loud TV Commercials Takes Effect Today

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the watch-for-workarounds dept.

Advertising 383

netbuzz writes "A new law banning broadcasters from delivering TV commercials at a higher volume takes effect today at the end of a yearlong implementation period. Called the CALM Act, or Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, the law does provide for violators to be fined. TV commercials that crank up the volume have been the No. 1 complaint logged with the FCC over the last 10 years."

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I said (5, Funny)

mozumder (178398) | about 2 years ago | (#42274653)

A BAN ON LOUD TV COMMERCIALS TAKES EFFECT TODAY /an all caps filter? really? people are actually bothered by that?

Re:I said (1)

rynadrk (2787933) | about 2 years ago | (#42274727)

It's to wake the snoozers up so they can make use of the precious comercial time.

sometime it's just stupidity (3, Interesting)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#42275101)

One of our local stations seems incompetently unable to match the line level when they insert their local commercials into the national feed. This also happens on certain cable channels, so maybe it's the cable operator at fault.

I've seen this kind of idiocy many places on many different cable and OTA systems.

Re:sometime it's just stupidity (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#42275215)

So, will this address the commercials compressing their sound so that it SEEMS to sound louder...?

Re:sometime it's just stupidity (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42275315)

They want people who went to the kitchen to hear the commercial.

Re:I said (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42274785)

really? people are actually bothered by that?

I don't know what it sounds like through the TV speakers since I always play my TV through my amp, but when you have the volume set for a TV show and suddenly a commercial comes in which is markedly louder ... yes, it's extremely annoying.

Some commercials are played at a significantly higher volume than the rest of the stuff being aired. Presumably to make damned sure you can hear the commercial.

It can be the difference between a comfortable listening volume and "WTF just happened". It's just the advertisers being asshats, and someone has finally told them they can't do it.

Re:I said (4, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42274915)

The thing about it is that my understanding is that for most "loud" commercials, they are not technically louder than the TV show. It is just that the entire commercial is as loud as the the loudest part of the TV show while the loud point in the TV show is only for a moment or two before the volume returns to much lower normal volumes. I am sure there are exceptions, but I remember seeing a study which made this claim back right around the time this law was passed.

Re:I said (5, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about 2 years ago | (#42275177)

It is just that the entire commercial is as loud as the the loudest part of the TV show while the loud point in the TV show is only for a moment or two before the volume returns to much lower normal volumes.

That's what "louder" means. Put some averages and standard deviations in there if you like, but "peak loudness forever" is louder than "peak loudness for a brief moment." I usually drive my car around the speed limit but I went 100mph once, a car going 100mph all the time is faster than me.

Re:I said (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 2 years ago | (#42275217)

But wouldn't this indicate a monotone equivalent to the decibel peak of the show, if thinking about it as a graph of the loudness?

ISTM the average decibel level of the commercial is significantly higher than the average loudness of the television show. It's why I have to reach for the remote to turn the sound down during commercials.

Re:I said (5, Insightful)

ottothecow (600101) | about 2 years ago | (#42275261)

I am pretty sure that by all reasonable measures of loudness, that counts as technically louder. If I am quietly telling you a story and in the middle of it, I make a loud clap of my hands and then continue telling you the story quietly, you would not say I am loud. The average volume is quite low. If someone walked in after my story and yelled a whole story at the volume of my clap, you would say that they were loud. For something like that, you can't just measure the peak, you have to weight it over some duration.

Compressing the dynamic range of a commercial to make the whole thing as loud as the peak volume of the TV show counts as "technically louder" unless you are using an unreasonable measure of loudness.

I mean, it is a shame that someone has to actually push through regulations to ban this. It's probably complicated and has all sorts of long definitions about what counts as loud (what if you were just watching a particularly quiet part of a show?)...but the advertisers have brought this burden on themselves. If they hadn't been dicks, nobody would force them to monitor the volume of their commercials.

Re:I said (4, Informative)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#42275287)

That's actually a part of the reason the FCC has taken so long to pass the regulation in the first place. However, that argument no long applies. The technical document describing it is here [atsc.org] . That document describes the Normalization process the commercial should be sent though to make it in compliance. Someone could probably try to subvert it, but that's what the reporting is for. If there is a complaint then the FCC will go back and look to see if it was a problem with the Algorithm or if it was someone subverting it.

Re:I said (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#42275255)

Well fortuitously my receiver has settings to detect when the dynamic range suddenly becomes less dynamic and will kick its normalization. Anything that stays constantly loud for more than a few ms, an it kick in the normalization and compression.

I can't stand watching TV without that feature on. Even most programs are recorded such that events like explosions will rattle the pictures off your walls if the have base volume level high enough that the dialog is comfortably audible. These settings do ruin the effects of Horror movies some thrillers (have to turn off for those), but they solve the loud commercial problem and make most other programing much more enjoyable.

Luckily the amp does keep these settings tied to source, so i don't have to manually change them for tuner/mp3/cassette/wii/pc.

 

ALL CAPS FILTER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275297)

an all caps filter? really? people are actually bothered by that?

Serverely. It's not because I feel like I am being yelled at, it's because it gives me the impression that I am dealing with someone that is childish and uneducated.

I am so relieved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274665)

This must mean that all those other more important problems have been solved...

Re:I am so relieved (2)

gfxguy (98788) | about 2 years ago | (#42274713)

+1 - I don't like loud commercials, but I question the use of resources to implement and enforce laws against things that violate no one's rights.

Re:I am so relieved (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274895)

If you live in an apartment (or even just share a house with other people), suddenly-fluctuating sound levels can pose quite a problem -- particularly if you like to watch TV at night. Commercials are nothing, though, compared to the foley mix on just about every DVD I've ever watched (why they can't come up with a dialogue-prominent audio track I'll never understand).

Re:I am so relieved (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#42275249)

(why they can't come up with a dialogue-prominent audio track I'll never understand).

That would be the center channel...mostly dialog.

Re:I am so relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275455)

And these are usually the ones without closed captioning or subtitles.

Re:I am so relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275109)

Our legislative process has never operated strictly by order of importance.

Re:I am so relieved (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42275367)

The poepel don't like it. It's annoying, head ache inducing, and rude.

The government responded appropriatly.

I set the volume on the TV, no one should go around changing that.

Re:I am so relieved (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274841)

This must mean that all those other more important problems have been solved...

Really? You think focusing everyone employed by the federal government on one issue at a time will solve it faster? You want the communication guys focusing on the accounting issues, and the accountants focusing on the medical issues, and the doctors focusing on the energy issues?

Re:I am so relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274863)

Look, you may have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, but that doesn't mean that we all do.

How is this loudness measured? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#42274691)

Just interested, do they use ITU-R BS.1770 or EBU R128?

Re:How is this loudness measured? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274919)

How is this loudness measured?

Sleeping babies, annoyed viewers and bleeding ears. I'm sure they have other elements to their scale but these are the basics.

Re:How is this loudness measured? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275035)

BS.1770 (-3)

Re:How is this loudness measured? (5, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 years ago | (#42275429)

ITU-R BS.1770-1 or -3 are measurement standards, they don't prescribe any limits. It gives a way of measuring the subjective "loudness" of a program based on a psychoacoustic model but it presumes total control over the speaker system (which TV doesn't provide), and it doesn't say "how loud."

EBU R128 gives a single standard, and you use it with ITU-R BS.1770. The problem is that it treats a dialogue-heavy program the same as a musical program; a musical program has a lot more signal, over a half hour average, than a dialogue one, so a musical performance will tend to sound quieter when put next to a dialogue heavy one, given they're mixed with the same level normalization scheme.

The CALM Act is actually based on Dolby Laboratories technical definitions and the dialnorm subcode metadata in an ATSC bitstream actually has to be decoded and properly enforced. It's not actually LAW but it's an adopted FCC federal regulation. Dolby's standard is to measure the average dialogue level in the program, and only the dialogue, and to use that to derive the normalization level -- EBU R128 uses the entire program mixed together, dialogue, music and sound effects. I think Dolby's approach is superior but more technically demanding, since it requires the person encoding the AC3 bitstream to have access to the dialogue mix-minus, but on professional productions this isn't an issue.

Mixed feelings. (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | about 2 years ago | (#42274697)

I don't know if I like government to get involved in regulations like these. I can't say I don't like this particular one, of course - it pisses me off when the kids are sleeping and we need to turn up the volume to hear the show, then the commercial comes on and wakes up the whole f-ing neighborhood. But I have to wonder if this is the best use of government, and if we eliminated these positions that come up with and enforce rules against things that don't violate your rights, how much money we could save?

Re:Mixed feelings. (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 2 years ago | (#42274857)

Suppose you were a HAM operator and you randomly radio people and after they tune in blare obnoxious loud music. You could even set up a machine to do this randomly. Should you loose your license?

Re:Mixed feelings. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275157)

loose: the opposite of tight.

lose: something you had, you have, no more.

English: FUCKING LEARN IT

Re:Mixed feelings. (5, Insightful)

fermat1313 (927331) | about 2 years ago | (#42274875)

I don't know if I like government to get involved in regulations like these. I can't say I don't like this particular one, of course - it pisses me off when the kids are sleeping and we need to turn up the volume to hear the show, then the commercial comes on and wakes up the whole f-ing neighborhood. But I have to wonder if this is the best use of government, and if we eliminated these positions that come up with and enforce rules against things that don't violate your rights, how much money we could save?

I see where you are coming from, and we shouldn't need government interference here. But if government doesn't create laws like this, then the alternative is that big business sets defacto policies for us, because they hold all the cards. Your only choice as a consumer is to just turn off TVs.

I liken this to the CAN SPAM act. Technically it's a limitation on free speech, but if the government doesn't step up to create policies that benefit consumers, who will? Trust me here, the media companies don't have our backs here. Never will.

Re:Mixed feelings. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274967)

Your only choice as a consumer is to just turn off TVs.

Which, BTW, is an excellent choice.

Re:Mixed feelings. (2, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#42274877)

This is EXACTLY where the government needs to step in. Stupid, annoying things like this. When I heard the ban was coming I prayed then and there on the spot and my atheist heart warmed knowing there is a God who loves and cares for us.

Re:Mixed feelings. (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | about 2 years ago | (#42274907)

The thing is, the networks are using your resources to send this to you, and in exchange for the right to do so without interference from other things, they have to live up to certain requirements.

This is just an additional requirement tacked on in response to quite honestly horrific behaviour on their part.

Think of it as being told to turn down the volume at an excessively loud party, because it's pissing off your neighbours.

Re:Mixed feelings. (1)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42274981)

I don't know if I like government to get involved in regulations like these. (...) how much money we could save?

Methinks it's safe to assume that one can measure -- and fine -- it automatically.

If not, end users will find all sorts of reasons to sue.

Re:Mixed feelings. (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 2 years ago | (#42274995)

I look at it this way. People have complained and the market did not fix itself so now government has to step in. I'm no fan of big government either.

Re:Mixed feelings. (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#42275005)

It is good for the government to step in when competition creates a situation that is counter-productive, even for the "winner" of the competition. If advertisers are allowed to turn ads up to 11, then they are effectively forced to do so (by competition) even though in the end they're right back where they started (all the same volume), but now with lower sound quality (clipping) and annoyed consumers. You could view this as a rule imposed on advertisers, or instead as a negotiated truce among them.

Re:Mixed feelings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275023)

Its neccissary because theres is major syndication (and in some cases monopolization) on TV and advertisements and no consumer control. Infact we arent even allowed DVR's that skip commercials entirely. Not officially, and not without paying a "fee" to the content producers.

Look at it like this, on the internet we have adblock plus, this has helped curb places like youtube, were without adblock we likely would have 4 minutes of adds and they would be uncontrollable and have no skip button.

But the advertisers got smart because they knew people were blocking lousy/bad adds and they know that the people who like to support good channels dont, but they dont want their entire business to fold. This in turn creates a comprimise between the consumers of ads (youtubers), the viewers (us), and the ad companies.

So when the power is taken out of the publics hands and your forced to go with syndications rather then publicly owned broadcasting, you need some kind of agency working in the favor of the little people and minorities to bring equality to the equation. Its not perfect, and bound to be corrupted at some point along the line, but I am greatful that people in our government finally even considered this an issue worth dealing with.

In an ideal society, your TV would be able to adjust the volume of the commercials at will with a little fancy programming.

Re:Mixed feelings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275039)

No mixed feelings necessary. If auto-skipping/auto-muting commercials was legal than this wouldn't be needed.

Re:Mixed feelings. (1)

runeghost (2509522) | about 2 years ago | (#42275209)

I think regulations like these are why we have government. Of course it would be better if we didn't need such regulations, but as long as we're going to allow the amoral psychopaths called corporations to exist, we also need to keep them reigned in. As for the cost, I expect that the total expense of enforcing this law for the next century will be a pittance compared to wars and corporate welfare.

Re:Mixed feelings. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42275257)

people have not acted responsibly toward each other, and so, bigger bullies have to step in.

if people (broadcasters, etc) showed some sense of taste, style and wisdom, we would not have to be ruled with big sticks.

just that simple.

our system shows, time and time again, people can't be trusted to self-police. look at the financial industry, if you doubt me.

Re:Mixed feelings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275347)

when the kids are sleeping and we need to turn up the volume.....the whole f-ing neighborhood.

I think the entire neighborhood is giving you sensible clues as to what you both need to be doing when the kids are asleep ;-)

Re:Mixed feelings. (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42275437)

Why do you think the governemnt has one use? IN fct, why do you think 'the government is a single separate entity from the people?
And save money compared to what?

The government agency, which is run by citizens, are responding the the people. That's their job.

Do you also think the police should handle it when your neighbor is playing music at 120 db when it's 2 in the morning?

You mean I can watch TV again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274707)

This was my family's biggest problem with watching TV growing up as a kid. You'd be enjoying a show, cut to commercial, "WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A GREAT NICE BIG JAR OF CRISCO SMEARED ALL OVER YOUR SANDWICHES?!"

Maybe now the remote's volume control can take a much needed vacation.

10 Years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274711)

Yeah, I guess thats about the right amount of time it takes for the Govenment to move on a #1 compaint...

Re:10 Years (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274873)

Good thing the free market fixed it long before!

Re:10 Years (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#42275415)

They've actually been working with the advertisers and TV networks for years on this problem, with endless promises and no delivery of results...

Now decrease the amount of ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274721)

How can you be paying $100/mo on cable and still have 4 ad breaks during a 20 min long tv show?

Re:Now decrease the amount of ads (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#42274849)

Because if you have any more, they wouldn't have time to tell their story and if you had any less they wouldn't make as much money?

Myth TV plugin? (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42274745)

It seems that the FCC is relying on citizen complaints for enforcement. I think a great opportunity is to be had by a Myth TV plugin that automatically checks the RMS amplitude of the commercials and forwards a complaint if it's outside of spec. Clearly we can't rely on the FCC to actually monitor the airwaves for enforcement, but we could do so ourselves pretty easily.

Re:Myth TV plugin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274933)

"It seems that the FCC is relying on citizen complaints for enforcement."

Yes, free market in action. It's just that it takes 10 years before it's finally regulated - and it did not regulate itself.

Re:Myth TV plugin? (5, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#42274939)

RMS amplitude

That's GNU/amplitude, please.

Re:Myth TV plugin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275163)

slow clap

Re:Myth TV plugin? (3, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42275303)

uhuh. clip RMS and he'll certainly go non-linear on you.

Re:Myth TV plugin? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275009)

It would be a great plug in for myth but the bigger issue is this probably breaks commercial skip. It keys off the volume change.

Re:Myth TV plugin? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 2 years ago | (#42275055)

All I know is VLC added a real compressor plugin and its made my movie watching so much better. I actually looked into finding an HDMI audio decoder chip to run the analog audio through a hardware compressor and then re-encode it.

Re:Myth TV plugin? (2)

ottothecow (600101) | about 2 years ago | (#42275409)

I don't know why you would want to do this full time. The director chose to have some things louder and some things quieter and it is a part of the movie. Explosions should be big and rumbly, quiet conversations should be soft and draw in your focus.

Obviously there are times when you might want compression--you might want to bring the high volume sections down late at night, or bring the low volume sections up if you are watching it while doing something noisy (sanding a woodworking project, running on a treadmill, etc) but doing it all of the time kind of ruins the idea of dynamic range. It's like listening to pop music on FM radio. Great for a car when you can't hear the soft spots, but not really the ideal listening scenario.

My last two receivers had something called "Midnight Mode" which was essentially a compressor. I don't know how well it works since I never really touch it, but this might be an option if you aren't watching something through a computer where you can use the VLC plugin.

Re:Myth TV plugin? (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#42275103)

It seems that the FCC is relying on citizen complaints for enforcement.

and what would lead you to this conclusion? that after ten years the denizens of the airwaves have had a paper tiger unleashed upon them in response to the number one complaint of the people a regulatory body is sworn to protect? the FCC is no more charged to protect content consumers than is the FDA or USDA, they are all charged to protect and promote the consumer capitalism that drives the american economy. in this case it appears the FCC have finally been forced to act in the interest of consumers if only to avoid the infallible appearance as a corporate lapdog.

Ban On Loud TV Commercials Takes Effect Today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274753)

WHAT?

Fast forward. (2)

csumpi (2258986) | about 2 years ago | (#42274757)

Loud or less loud, commercials get the skip button treatments.

IPTV? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42274761)

Does this apply to IPTV? :\

And Internet Streaming? (4, Interesting)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | about 2 years ago | (#42274799)

Does the law encompass Hulu and other internet streaming services? Loud and repetitious ads are worse than merely repetitious ads.

Re:And Internet Streaming? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275063)

Does the law encompass Hulu and other internet streaming services?

No [wired.com]

Re:And Internet Streaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275235)

On our Roku box, my wife and I noticed that the Hulu ads are actually quieter than the shows we were watching. It was like this for about a month or so (we since canceled it for other reasons).

Hat to US politicians for their acronyms (2)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42274803)

Whether the law itself works or not, one has to hand this much to US politicians: over the years, they've turned finding acronyms into an art form. Few -- if any -- other countries have politicians who can boast the same.

Re:Hat to US politicians for their acronyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275273)

There's a secret government program that does nothing but manufacture acronyms.

Perhaps I've SAID too much.

PBS (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#42274831)

PBS in Austin is terrible with the volume of "commercials", which are usually segments promoting PBS. After the PBS News Hour you have to be quick on the remote or get blasted with twice the volume. I expect this from a commercial channel, but even the public channels are pulling this stupidity.

Re:PBS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275097)

PBS is exempt. But some of the PBS stations with better budgets are implementing this anyway. The PBS network content and promos should all get normalized, but the local promos may not.

This also doesn't go into effect for all commercial stations today. This is just phase 1.

Almost a little too late (1)

Timmy D Programmer (704067) | about 2 years ago | (#42274833)

It's about time, almost a bit too late to matter. This is because dish box, cable box, and tv manufacturers have reached the point that they are phasing in volume spike control options on their devices on their own.

Re:Almost a little too late (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#42274909)

I'd say, it's more because TV itself is quickly becoming irrelevant.

Re:Almost a little too late (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#42275359)

I'd say, it's more because TV itself is quickly becoming irrelevant.

Seriously?

I mean...for Joe and Susie Sixpack, you think the television is irrelevant?

Hmm..if that were the case, they way are all those big screen LCD/Plasma tvs still flying off the racks at XYZ stores all over the US?

Re:Almost a little too late (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#42274917)

If we relied on providers to solve the problem (and it is a problem) it would take another 10 years. I understand they are doing this, and I do see a difference, but not much and all it will do is give them a reason to add a dollar or more as soon as they make it a "service". This way, they don't need to do it, and it gets regulated across the board. This is a good thing.

Great Taxpayer Spending (2, Insightful)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42274899)

It's great to know our money is going to a good cause such as making TV commercials quieter and erections last twenty hours....I honestly want to punch someone. What the hell!? How about using that money to fix our roads or our education!?

Re:Great Taxpayer Spending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275305)

Right, because it has to be one or the other. If you're going to punch someone, try to do it for a less stupid reason.

Does this include online content? (1)

mjoseff (792283) | about 2 years ago | (#42274929)

I wonder if Hulu, YouTube, and other content providers will be included under this; if not, will they follow suit?

Loudest commercials? No problem! (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#42274951)

Watch.

This will definitely create a new market for TV commercials. See example:

Weekly commercial run off prime-time: $750
Weekly commercial run during prime-time: $1500
Daily commercial run off prime-time: $5500
Daily commercial run off prime-time: $10,000
Additional fee for "enhanced attention grabbing services": *$?

* Since we can't find finite penalty amounts in the Act, you agree to pay whatever they happen to be, plus legal fees, plus an additional $1000 "Service Fee".

Re:Loudest commercials? No problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275197)

You're doing it wrong, because you can easily tack on an additional charge, to verify that the volume does not exceed the permitted levels, to all your standard prices. Additionally, you can offer an extra cost service to maximize the volume to exactly match the highes level allowed.

Re:Loudest commercials? No problem! (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | about 2 years ago | (#42275403)

This is essentially what already happens on TV and radio networks that break the FCC rules on indecent language. I worked at a college radio station, and the going was "try not to let any swear words slip on the air - either from your mouth or from a CD. If you do and the FCC is listening, we can be fined $[insane amount]." Larger networks or shows can predict what that will cost and go ahead and pay the fines to the broadcaster in order to have "unedited" content hit the airwaves, although I think there are certain words that are absolutely a no-go.

A good thing to have in this Act, and I'm only assuming it's not in there because tl;dr, is to have penalties for repeat offenders so that a system of pay-to-play-(very-loudly) won't crop up - of course, that means limiting the amount of fines coming in to the FCC and thus will likely not happen.

Re:Loudest commercials? No problem! (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#42275453)

A good thing to have in this Act, and I'm only assuming it's not in there because tl;dr, is to have penalties for repeat offenders so that a system of pay-to-play-(very-loudly) won't crop up - of course, that means limiting the amount of fines coming in to the FCC and thus will likely not happen.

That is very insightful. I didn't think of that, but it really is a deterrent.

I guess the first large company to test it will show the numbers. *coughwalmartcough*

We should all thank God (2)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 2 years ago | (#42274965)

Billy Mays isn't around to see this sad day. RIP.

Re:We should all thank God (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#42275075)

Shut your mouth, fool! The Billy Mays didn't need any artificial means to boost his sales skillz into the minds of men! His marketing kung fu transcended mere volume!

Re:We should all thank God (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42275317)

Shut your mouth, fool! The Billy Mays didn't need any artificial means to boost his sales skillz into the minds of men! His marketing kung fu transcended mere volume!

Seconded.

Mays had the unique ability to sound like he was yelling, even if he wasn't. Volume regulations would do nothing to protect you from Billy's voodoo voice.

Re:We should all thank God (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#42275293)

BILLY MAYS HERE WITH MY LOUD-ASS VOICE! Are you bothered by new regulations limiting the volume of commercials? FEAR NOT, MARKETERS! With just ONE EASY COMMERCIAL STARRING ME, I can overcome ANY regulation limiting decibels simply by YELLING AT YOUR CUSTOMERS! I yell so loud, I can SHATTER THEIR MUTE BUTTON INTO A THOUSAND PIECES!

Re:We should all thank God (1)

caknuckle (2521404) | about 2 years ago | (#42275457)

Oh Billy, I somehow knew you were on that secret Island with Elvis, Tupac, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Whitney.

Whoa, slow down there. (3, Funny)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 2 years ago | (#42274983)

Took the FCC 10 years to fix this? Whats the rush!?

leave politics out of this! (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#42274985)

Politics should be left out of this. Like telemarketing some things should be banned because they are annoying as hell.

I wouldn't notice... (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#42275021)

...since I always mute commercials on the rare occasions I'm watching commercial television.

Co-mmerc-ial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275043)

TV commercials? What the hell are those things?

Oh, wait, are you talking about those advertising thingies that disrupt your TV show watching constantly? I think I remember seeing them at my in-laws place when their TV is on. Shit man, I haven't seen one of those in my place for about 6 years now.

Yeah, I guess it'll be nice for them to not be louder than the TV show itself, since the 60 year olds tend to fall asleep in front of the TV and let it play all night.

Another law so full of loopholes that it's useless (0, Troll)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42275053)

Only applies to over-the-air broadcasters, no cable channels

Allows for a one year exemption for anyone requesting.

Does not apply to any commercials put in by your cable or satellite provider

There are no real provisions for fines or enforcement.

Who actually complains to the FCC? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#42275085)

And about commercials? If you don't like your TV, turn it off. When commercials come on and they're audio-compressed, hit the mute button, or PVR past them.

All of this is fixable without government intervention.

Audio Compressor (1)

Colourspace (563895) | about 2 years ago | (#42275173)

It got such a problem for us I just bought a cheapish Behringer audio compressor (volume compression, not data!), strapped it across the TV audio output and in to my amplifier. Set the controls and forgot about it. Works incredibly well.

Re:Audio Compressor (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42275405)

any pro audio store can help with a box like this.

there used to be a cheap small box called RNC (really nice compressor). analog in and out and not hard to use.

dbx makes them, lots of companies make them.

the thing is, people run digital audio these days. and the hdmi TRAP that people fell into means their audio is drm's too, along that path. I prefer to avoid hdmi AUDIO and go with spdif and simple 2ch audio, at that. movies get mixed down to 2ch so that I can send spdif in to most any system I want.

then, you have a hope of doing compression in digital domain. behringer does actually make spdif-in boxes in their 1u rackmount form factor. you can take spdif in, compress, eq, even do delays and stay all digital.

Not necessary (1)

kaybee (101750) | about 2 years ago | (#42275181)

I don't think this is the government's place... nonetheless, people can just fast-forward through commercials on their PVRs or download the content via bittorrent instead. Seems like the problem would quickly work itself out.

I don't expect much fanfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275187)

This will be implemented quietly

To little to late. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42275243)

Congrats on the ban, however it is too little to late for me. I pulled the plug on television around 2006 because of the rise of reality TV shows. Once those are off the air I might want to return and enjoy the new quieter commercial standards. By not having a TV, it's amazing when you suddenly discover you have a lot of free time you didn't have before.

Loud DVD/BR trailers (1)

wwalker (159341) | about 2 years ago | (#42275267)

I wonder if this also applies to the trailers on DVDs/BRs? Whenever I put a new disk into the player, I have to reduce volume quite a bit for the trailers, until the movie starts, which is mighty annoying.

And while at it, dear FCC, make them stop putting a buzillion of unskippable FBI/etc. warnings on every disk! It only makes me want to switch to PirateBay exclusively.

BTW, WTF is a "digital theft" they keep mentioning in those warnings lately?! Specifically, which digits are more valuable, so that I keep mine locked up. Is it 13? 42? 3.1415926?

Best solution, stop watching TV (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 2 years ago | (#42275279)

TV is a complete waste of time. There is very little programming that is worth watching. If it wasn't for having a wife that loves her shows, the only thing connected to my television would be a PBox, and an XBox 360.

What about... (1)

commodore73 (967172) | about 2 years ago | (#42275301)

What about audio advertisements on the Internets, such as on Hulu (which specifically seems to lengthen its ad breaks every few months)? Why not a ban on the sound of alarm clocks in all ads, which is clearly a tactic to wake people who fell asleep before turning off the media? What about a ban on mandatory warnings and previews on digital media disks for which we pay? What about annoying HTML and Flash flyover ads on web pages?

Very surprising, if true (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 2 years ago | (#42275371)

Congress has become government of the highest bidder, by the highest bidder, for the highest bidder. I assume the advertising industry donates quite a bit to Congress. I'd be quite surprised if they did anything to annoy a big donor, or do any harm to that business model. The example of the financial sector is illustrative. [rollingstone.com] Trillions of dollars of FederalReserve and government spending (which the taxpayers will ultimately pay [bloomberg.com] ) have been funneled directly to the financial sector, and yet there's been no serious reform in that industry to avoid a crash in the future.

So - we'll see how this goes.

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