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Why Are Commercials so Loud?


Let’s set the scene: it’s Friday, you are finally done with your work week. You are ready to relax and watch your favorite TV show to kick-off your weekend. All starts off well with a big bowl of popcorn and cozy atmosphere. You have the environment adjusted to just how you like it. The new episode starts and everything sounds great- until commercials appear. All of a sudden you start scrambling for the remote in order to turn down the volume that sporadically decided to go full-blast, leaving you angrily mumbling about the rude disruption. Sure, it makes sense that these companies want to grab your attention with said commercials, but is the sudden uncomfortable blast to your eardrums really necessary? Also, who allows this to happen, anyway? Shouldn’t something such as this be regulated? Here’s the thing: they’ve tried.

Commercials being significantly louder than the program they interrupt has been an ongoing issue for television consumers. “Why are the commercials SO loud?!” is a very common question among those who watch any kind of TV. So much so, that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) officially began enforcing the enactment of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (also known as the “CALM” Act), in December of 2012. This act would require commercials to play around the same average volume level as the shows or movies themselves. Initially, many have found a loophole due to the use of the word “average” within the law’s language. For example, the beginning of the commercial can be extremely loud, as long as the middle/end is quiet- meaning that the “average” sound level is normal when considering its entirety. The FCC actually had to issue an update to their standard that disregarded any audio below a certain volume level.

So why do TV viewers still constantly experience this issue?  The FCC only regulates “over the air” broadcasts (aka any channels you can receive with an antenna).  This means any channels you watch on cable TV are still NOT regulated by the CALM Act.

Here at dbx-tv, we recognize that overly-loud commercials are still a huge disturbance in today’s television world, which is why we have been taking every measure possible to fix it. This has lead to our “Total Volume” technology- a part of our audio enhancement that uses intelligent algorithms to automatically adjust the level during loud volume spikes. Additionally, Total Volume can also be used to make content louder during very quiet parts where it’s difficult to make out speech.  This “AI for your remote control” means no more constantly playing with the volume and no more being startled by sudden changes.

Learn more and experience the best possible sound at dbx-tv.com.