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Television Government Entertainment

"Loud Commercial" Legislation Proposed In US Congress 636

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-have-my-grandmother's-vote dept.
Hackajar writes "Have you ever caught yourself running for the volume control when a TV commercial comes on? Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has, and is submitting legislation that would require TV commercials in the US to stay at volume levels similar to the programming they are associated with. From the article: 'Right now, the government doesn't have much say in the volume of TV ads. It's been getting complaints ever since televisions began proliferating in the 1950s. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials.'"
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"Loud Commercial" Legislation Proposed In US Congress

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  • I'd much rather... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <rratnanab>> on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:35PM (#30437274) Homepage

    I hate loud commercials too, but this is just too much government IMHO. I'd much rather just have intelligent TVs or receivers that turned the volume down upon detecting a commercial...based on the settings *I* want, not what the government thinks is best for me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dan667 (564390)
      MythTV allows you to record programs and the commercials are automatically skipped without even needing a button press.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ark42 (522144)
        From a technical aspect - How? And is it 100% correct in what it does and does not skip, or just 99% correct? I was not aware of any specific flag in streams that marks content vs commercial.
        • by canajin56 (660655) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:26PM (#30438016)
          Using the same reasoning as the law in TFA: Ads are loud as fuck. Thus, any time it fails to skip an ad, it wasn't an obnoxiously loud ad to begin with, so your eardrums are likely intact. While you might say "What about loud bits of shows like explosions!?" no, they've got nothing on ads. I'd watch BSG, loud explosions, etc. Then it goes to ads. "MY LITTLE PONY" is screamed at a volume that absolutely dwarfs the loudest things in the show itself. It's been getting worse lately. Compression can't really make ads any louder than it already has, so the networks are actually turning the shows down more and more so you crank your TV and will get absolutely BLASTED by ads. I don't know why, its making it more and more desirable to skip them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          I assume it looks for blank frames. when the stream switches from the content to the ads.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by yurtinus (1590157)
      Which is technology I recall being advertised over a decade ago, I *think* by Philips.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So you'd rather have to pay more for your TV then to just force the networks to stop being assholes?

      If *you* want loud commercials, then turn your TV up louder. I'm tired of the networks jacking the commercial sound up, its bullshit and I shouldn't have to be responsible for fixing it. If I have the movie or TV show at 70 dB, I want the commercials at 70 dB as well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        On principle, yes.

        • by Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:54PM (#30437566)
          What principle? You, as a consumer, have no power in this. Every broadcaster does it, and even if some didn't, you can't "vote with your wallet" short of just not paying for TV. Regulation is good, especially in monopolistic situations
          • by CharlieG (34950) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:04PM (#30437712) Homepage

            No, the broadcasters do NOT turn up the level on the commercials, the producers of the commercials do so - the guys running the tranmission chain at the stations run the tapes at the standard levels

            It's the whole "Music loudness wars" all over - just for TV

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by AK Marc (707885)
              No, the broadcasters do NOT turn up the level on the commercials, the producers of the commercials do so - the guys running the tranmission chain at the stations run the tapes at the standard levels

              Irrelevant. The broadcasters know the commercial levels are high, compared to the show, and, given the option and technology to turn them down, do not do so. They are complicit. They could even the levels out and choose not to. Whether they are physically turning them up, or accepting them knowing they are
          • by The Living Fractal (162153) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <rratnanab>> on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:15PM (#30437866) Homepage

            Firstly, this is not a monopolistic situation, it is closer to an oligopoly.

            Secondly, regulation is only good if what it regulates has a more negative effect on the economy than the increased government expenditures (which translates into higher taxation). I cannot see that this is proven to be the case; what negative impacts do loud commercials have vs. introduction of new laws which must be enforced using resources that may have been used elsewhere?

            Just because you are 'tired of it' does not mean we should raise our taxes to appease you.

            • by scot4875 (542869) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:31PM (#30438100) Homepage

              Similarly, if you have loud neighbors, you should just move and boycott the loud neighbors. Get rid of your HOA rules or local ordinances, because they clearly have a negative impact by being enforced -- in fact, they require even more enforcement than this proposed rule would: local police have to enforce noise rules, whereas this would be a simple, network-level enforced rule, easy to monitor and issue fines for offenders.

              So, clearly, this proposed legislation is a bad idea, and noise ordinances are a bad idea as well.

              Sarcasm aside, it sure would be nice if the broadcasting industry could have come together and implemented something like this to begin with. It would be really nice if they'd just said, "ok, hey, we're going to normalize our content so that typical conversation will play at 50dB. Commercials will be compressed to have a maximum volume of 55dB." Then I wouldn't have to readjust the volume every time I changed channels, or be blasted out of the room when I have the volume set high for a quiet show on a quiet network, then flip channels and hit a Dodge truck ad on Spike. I guess the invisible hand of the free market hasn't sorted that one out yet.

              --Jeremy

          • Audio Compression (Score:4, Informative)

            by wooferhound (546132) <tim@woofeMENCKENrhound.com minus author> on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:19PM (#30437918) Homepage
            I used to work at a TV station and we never did anything to alter the sound of any of the programming or commercials. I am sure that almost all other broadcasters have the same policy. In fact the sound Can't be louder because of the technology, if the audio is too loud the audio will become distorted or unlistionable.

            The problem actually occurs when the commercial is edited down during filming and production. This is where the sound is Compressed which essentially brings all of the Lower volume portions of the sound Up to much higher volumes often equaling the the Higher volume portions of the sound. This is not really any louder. The highest levels are not affected so it's not actually louder, but since the lower volumes have been pumped up, it appears to be louder.

            The summery here is that, it's not a problem with the Broadcasters, the problem is with the Advertisers. The ability for a broadcaster to detect and correct this problem would be huge if not impossible. I can understand why the FCC gave up on it the first time.
            • by BluBrick (1924) <blubrick @ g m ail.com> on Monday December 14, 2009 @09:24PM (#30439360) Homepage

              The problem actually occurs when the commercial is edited down during filming and production. This is where the sound is Compressed which essentially brings all of the Lower volume portions of the sound Up to much higher volumes often equaling the the Higher volume portions of the sound. This is not really any louder. The highest levels are not affected so it's not actually louder, but since the lower volumes have been pumped up, it appears to be louder.

              This is exactly the sort of bullshit excuse that broadcasters/advertisers will use to get around any legislation introduced. "The ads really aren't any louder than the content, they only sound louder." Well guess what? THERE'S NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE! Their audience is people, not sound meters, so it does not matter what their instruments read - if the ads sound louder to human ears, then they really are louder.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Tisha_AH (600987)

              I am glad that I dug through the postings to find your intelligent response to the "loudness" of commercials. You are right on the nose with it being related to compression.

              I have been toying with the idea of creating a "compression detector" (in hardware because I am a hardware geek) that can detect the sustained amplitude of a signal (indicating compression.. aka commercials) and then automatically pad it down by 20 dB. When the compression goes away, so does the padding. This would have a really cool eff

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by natehoy (1608657)

                Actually, the beauty is that if you've already got one of their gizmos, you're already a customer and they don't need you to hear them.

                Though they could put an uncompressed track on their commercial, saying something like "If you have one of our devices, don't you love it that this is the only commercial you can hear? Isn't the lack of shouting just glorious? If you don't have one of our devices, please enjoy this quiet ad and buy our product so this is the only type of ad you will hear from now on - elim

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by couchslug (175151)

            "You, as a consumer, have no power in this. "

            I have the power not to consume, so I don't.

            .

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by selven (1556643)

        Many modern TVs are running a full operating system anyway. I'm sure there's a way to hack them to make them do what you want.

      • by multisync (218450) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:23PM (#30437992) Journal

        I'm tired of the networks jacking the commercial sound up

        I doubt very much it has anything to do with the networks.

        These "loud commercials" don't have their volume turned up per se; they have their dynamic range compressed (just like a Metallica CD [wikipedia.org]), and the gain increased, making the lows as loud as the highs. This is likely done at the production stage.

        The same thing happens when you have your volume cranked up for a quiet scene that's suddenly interrupted by a loud noise, only in the case of these commercials, the whole thing is a "loud noise."

        Even if the TV station or cable company are careful to keep everything broadcast safe, it will sound unreasonably loud because *everything* is at peak level, unlike the program you were watching which had highs and lows and a lower average volume.

        I'm not sure how you could legislate this problem away.

        • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:42PM (#30438216)

          The FCC mandates a maximum signal level - let's call it X - that represents the loudest audio that you're allowed to broadcast within the signal specs. Regular television, because it's not run by complete bastards, actually understands that if you have quiet parts of your show then when something gets loud it will actually provoke a response in the viewer. Therefore, they usually broadcast at .5X and save 1X for the absolutely most exciting parts. Commercials, however, are frequently made by complete bastards who just want to bash their message into your ear with all the subtlety of Van Helsing hammering a stake into Dracula's chest. They run their audio at 1X the *entire frigging time*, and that's why the commercial seems "loud." Is it louder than the show you were just watching? No. Is it maximum loud the entire time? Yes.

          And now that I look up and read your post again, I realise that I've just said the exact same thing.

          MAYBE I SHOULD DO IT AT MAXIMUM VOLUME SO THAT EVERYONE HEARS IT!

        • by Nemyst (1383049) on Monday December 14, 2009 @11:27PM (#30440294) Homepage
          Instead of defining a peak level, define an average level? Most shows would have a pretty standard average, but commercials would get raped by it and would actually come out as quieter until they stopped being compressed.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:53PM (#30437550) Journal

      I hate loud commercials too, but this is just too much government IMHO

      Since Broadcasters (OTA/Cable/Fiber) all have to have FCC licenses, the government is already involved in the minutia of their business practices.

      Here's what the bill is asking broadcasters to follow:
      http://www.atsc.org/standards/a_85-2009.pdf [atsc.org]

      It's 72 pages and I don't have the technical knowledge to understand it all anyways, but I think the original idea of "commercials cannot be louder than the program's average volume" is a pretty simple alternative to guidelines written by the industry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheSync (5291)

        I think the original idea of "commercials cannot be louder than the program's average volume" is a pretty simple alternative to guidelines written by the industry.

        No, the original idea is not simpler because there is no technical definition for "loudness". It is the equivalent of saying "commercials can't be prettier than the program's average prettiness".

        The best thing we have for approximating human loudness perception is the ITU-R BS.1170 loudness measure, which actually is a fairly recent development,

    • This is EXACTLY what I want my government involved with. Of all the nonsense I am powerless to deal with on my own, which is admittedly a lot, I still (naively, perhaps), feel as though I can vote the bastards out of office for foisting off a ridiculous health care bill, printing money like its 1999, and sending my buddies to the Middle East, the ONE THING I am absolutely powerless to do anything about is the annoying way commercials up their volume. Here here, and well done for this true representative of
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:11PM (#30437812)

      I'd much rather just have intelligent TVs or receivers that turned the volume down upon detecting a commercial...based on the settings *I* want, not what the government thinks is best for me.

      Wait, the goverment says to network or whoever "Hey, make the commercials the same volume as the program" and you are complaining that the government isn't allowing you a choice? They are the one in this case trying to protect your choice of volume level!

      And sorry, forcing everyone to buy a new TV for a feature when the government can implement for essentially free for everyone and at no real cost to any party involved is being technologically elitist and if you don't see how the corps just love your "solution" to death...

      I take care of an elderly parent, when the commercial starts blaring at a normal volume, it is very annoying, at their volume, it's painful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FatdogHaiku (978357)

      "...I'd much rather just have intelligent TVs or receivers that turned the volume down upon detecting a commercial...

      Magnavox had a feature called "Smart Sound" for many many years, and that's pretty much the function. It also keeps the sound from going too low, like when someone whispers. They now call it "'Automatic Volume Leveling" in current manuals. I'm sure they had a patent in force because I've never seen the feature on another brand... but it's been a long time so maybe other manufacturers are able to implement similar options.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:35PM (#30437278) Journal

    I believe new fangled TVs nowadays have a special feature that keep the decibals between any certain range you prefer, or some system similar to that to keep the loud bangs down while keeping the quiet dialogue up.

    It'll only be another decade before it's standard, and this law (if it passes) is deprecated.

    • by EdZ (755139) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:45PM (#30437430)
      Unfortunately, dynamic volume control also affects sound in programs you want to watch, not just adverts. Imaging if you were watching a movie, and all the whispers were louder and the explosions quieter. Not so great. "Turn it on only for the adverts" is just making a more complicated and less useful mute button.

      As an alternative to legislating the volume of adverts, I propose that before any advert is allowed to air, the director of that advert must be forced to watch it on repeat for 12 hours, locked in a room with a loaded gun and no controls for the TV (with the TV protected by bullet-resistant glass, of course). If the director survives, the ad can be aired.
      • Imaging if you were watching a movie, and all the whispers were louder and the explosions quieter. Not so great. .

        This is actually a great feature, by the way, it means you can watch this years action blockbuster while letting the room mates sleep, while not missing a beat.

        And also, its a feature that you can turn ON and OFF. Thus when it comes to watching it audibly unimpeded, rest assured you have that ability.

      • by geckipede (1261408) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:56PM (#30437600)
        That's a rather low standard isn't it? How about making a neutral third party watch the ad for 12 hours on repeat, and only then add the director and a pair of big sticks to the room.
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:35PM (#30437284) Homepage
    dvr [wikipedia.org]
  • How about... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sycodon (149926) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:36PM (#30437294)

    But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials.'" ...every time my wife yells at me to "turn down that damned TV" because commercial suddenly starts blasting, the advertising executive for that commercial gets a 24 volt shock?

    • Re:How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by idontgno (624372) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:42PM (#30437386) Journal

      But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials.'" ...every time my wife yells at me to "turn down that damned TV" because commercial suddenly starts blasting, the advertising executive for that commercial gets a 24 kvolt shock?

      There, FTFY.

      Yes, I know the chances of surviving a 24 kilovolt shock are pretty low, but I'm willing to risk it.

      Why, yes, I'm not an advertising executive. And yes, I do hate those God-awful advertisements. How could you tell?

  • It seems that if each channel is already broadcasting whatever commercial they decide (and aren't just allowing some 3rd party time to broadcast over the channel for commercials), they could simply normalize the audio to be in tune with their shows prior to airing. They'd just need to process the commercials they receive one time before sticking them in rotation, and tada, no more screaming commercials... or am I misunderstanding how this works? Presently I can only imagine this is due to laziness on part o
    • You're somewhat misunderstanding. The networks and stations just receive commercials on a tape, and air them - in many cases they don't even watch them first. The time to run every spot received through a process would cost a lot of money that the networks/stations don't have right now.

      And - basically, both shows and commercials are at the same level, but they heavily compress the audio on commercials. If the network heavily compressed shows, the problem would go away - but the shows would sound like c
    • Presently I can only imagine this is due to laziness on part of the channel

      You are absolutely right. They don't want to have to pay anyone another cent then they have to. No one expresses their concerns to them, though who is expressing This particular concern to their congresswoman, absolutely baffles me (isn't she supposed to be representing her constituents or something like that? Are they all 80+ years old?).

      Anyways, it's not that difficult, but the networks won't feel they need to do it unless the FCC does something about it, and they won't force it unless the government says

    • But see, the commercials wouldn't be worth as much, or at least, the advertisers wouldn't pay as much to have their ads broadcast. Since people get up to get food and such during commercials, they make them louder so that if you can't see them, maybe you'll still hear them. So by normalizing the commercial audio, then you wouldn't potentially make as much money.
  • "We're gonna fight a few stupid wars in which thousands of people will die needlessly, and our country will go broke!" BOO!

    "Also, we're gonna pass a law to make your commercials less loud!" YEEAAAHHH!!! WE LUVZ U CONGREZZ!!!11!! USA USA!

    • by bennomatic (691188) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:58PM (#30437646) Homepage
      To be fair, what you're doing is almost a Godwin. The huge majority of what Congress does pales in comparison in many ways when put next to wars, and even health care. But many of those things need to be considered, even with bigger, more important things going on.

      If you support or decry this proposed law, do so on its own merits. Otherwise, we may as well compare everything to the wars and to healthcare, and ignore a huge range of very real issues which need resolution.
  • by t0qer (230538) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:41PM (#30437364) Homepage Journal

    You take the average gain of the last 30 seconds of a program before it goes to commercial, and don't allow the commercials to be any louder than that.

    If I can make karaoke and techno music automatically crossfade with my meager skills(link below)

    http://www.facebook.com/v/203775860215 [facebook.com]

    Then surely a TV station or broadcast network could make commercials stay at the same gain as the programming.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You take the average gain of the last 30 seconds of a program before it goes to commercial, and don't allow the commercials to be any louder than that.

      If I can make karaoke and techno music automatically crossfade with my meager skills Then surely a TV station or broadcast network could make commercials stay at the same gain as the programming.

      You do not under-estimate their skill, but rather their willingness to bother to do so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Heck, take the average gain of the whole tv show, as well as the ads, and make sure they are *All* set to the same percentage of the peak volume.
  • With all that's going on in the world, this is what we are paying our legislators to address? When are the next elections again? Come on people, we have to be able to do better than this.

  • Maybe they can LEGISLATE ALL CAPS and excessive PUNCTUATION NEXT!!!!!!!!!!
  • Bad idea. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Okay, first, thanks for recognizing the problem. But there's no way to legislate such technical detail because volume is subjective, not objective. Do you measure the peaks? The frequency spread? What about people who have hearing problems? They have a different idea of what 'loud' is. The problem is something called "audio compression" -- which results in a higher apparent volume. TV shows use a wider dynamic range than commercials -- commercials can be heard even at very low volume levels because they occ

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ezelkow1 (693205)
      please mod up, first post to actually introduce the relevant information and not just 'MAKE THE VOLUME LOWER'. Volume is already legislated, its the issue of compression and headroom
    • Re:Bad idea. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:21PM (#30437950) Homepage

      Take the average of the audio energy in the base program (divided into 32-64 frequency bands across the ten octaves above 20Hz). Weight the energy using the Fletcher-Munson curve for the overall average energy level. If the time-average of the audio in the commercial sums to more than the time-average energy in the base program by more than 10%, auto-file a violation report. Fine as needed. You can do it automatically.

      In fact, by expanding (if you need to, look up "compression") the audio range and decreasing the volume, you can automatically adjust the volume to within a comfortable range. It's really not much of a trick to do either.

      I tend to think the legislation would be better because it would be a global solution to a global annoyance with very little downside. If you have to depend on your commercial being LOUD to get people to notice, you have something wrong. Really, all you need to do is make the people in your commercial more naked.

  • I thought no matter how the ads source are like, the TV/radio techies has to 're-align' the sign so that they are in similar range (normalize, limit/compress, EQ). Yes? No? Why do we need more legislation?
  • While I understand that TV programming is supported by commercials, and the viewers exist only to watch those commercials, it is this sort of thing that makes me feel less guilty about skipping commercials. In fact, I hardly watch commercials because TV is kind of passé. Most good shows are on the net a day or two after the first run. Most TV seasons can be bought for $30. That is 30-40 shows a year for the cost of cable.

    I would hope that advertisers would be considering how to keep TV relevant s

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:47PM (#30437472)

    Many TVs have the ability to auto-level stuff.

    But if you've got audio running to a receiver, the receiver has to do it (and likely doesn't).

    At best, you've got dynamic range compression modes, which kill off the sound quality for normal programming.

    Even if we have a magical loudness law that everyone magically decides to abide by, the latest tactic I've seen is far more annoying.

    Commercials now exploit surround sound to the extreme. The soundstage is either panning back and forth and around, or the ad is done in such a way that billy is on my left and molly is on my right and mom is shaking and baking that chicken directly inside my fucking subwoofer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CodeBuster (516420)

      or the ad is done in such a way that billy is on my left and molly is on my right and mom is shaking and baking that chicken directly inside my fucking subwoofer.

      Billy: WHAT IS FOR DINNER TONIGHT MOM?

      Mom: WHY GREAT TASTING BRAND X SHAKE-N-BAKE CHICKEN OF COURSE!

      Molly: OH GOODY, JUST WHAT WE WANTED!

      <Mom shakes and bakes the chicken in the subwoofer>

      Subwoofer: SCRIBBBEEE...SHABOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!

      NARRATOR: MMMMMMM! CAN YOU SMELL THAT? REMEMBER, BRAND X SHAKE-N-BAKE CHICKEN FOR YOUR NEXT MEAL!

      Subwoofer: SHABABOOOM!

  • Range compression (Score:3, Informative)

    by gringer (252588) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:48PM (#30437484)

    There is an issue with Dynamic range compression [wikipedia.org] use by broadcasters and advertisers to increase the apparent volume of sound while staying within legislated limits. That trick is not something that can be easily regulated, unless you do something silly like requiring all sound clips to be stored on records.

  • I've seen this here in Oz, smarmy TV spokesdrones telling us that the volume is no higher during the ads, this is true, as they are discussing the peak value in decibels.

    What they don't mention is the loudness (the amount of sound) has been cranked right up, which is why they are too "loud"

    When we want to discuss loudness, they always come back with irrelevant facts about volume.

  • Whoring for votes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:57PM (#30437622)

    I am by no means opposed to regulating advertising; if anything, there is not nearly enough regulation of advertising. That said, unlike intrusive junk mail in all its forms -- postal, spam, telemarketing -- television advertising isn't attached to anything vital and is therefore easy to avoid: turn off the TV. No one needs television, and its one practical use -- news -- is much better satisfied by literally every other medium by which news is available. It's just a source of entertainment, and it is almost completely paid for by advertising. If you want to watch TV, the terrible hardship you must endure is hitting the mute button when the ads come up, you poor thing.

    This is nothing more than a politician looking to score some easy votes by attacking something that everyone dislikes but which, since it actually harms no one, won't matter much if the bill disappears in committee and is never seen again. Congress' time would be better spent doing something about unavoidable forms of advertising instead of making a fuss about one of the few entirely avoidable forms.

  • by Maltheus (248271) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:13PM (#30437826)

    Loud commercials are the perfect reminder that I've forgotten to fast forward the DVR. Commercials that employ this behavior are really just shooting themselves in the foot (not to mention the station's foot).

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:37PM (#30438162) Journal
    ..ah, they must be what you poor devils who don't have TiVo or some other DVR have to sit through.
  • by Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:40PM (#30438186)

    How about banning radio stations from broadcasting commercials with car crash sounds, police sirens, and screeching tires during the morning and afternoon drive times? That nonsense has made me jump out of my damn seat a couple times, now.

    Also, on a less serious note, ban commercials from using that one blaring alarm clock stock sound that they all love to use. You know, the one that sounds exactly like the alarm clock I had for years, and always makes me feel miserable and pissed off.

  • Easy fix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spit (23158) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:51PM (#30438346)

    Stop watching TV.

  • by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Monday December 14, 2009 @09:14PM (#30439268)
    I work in pro audio.

    Years ago I got an Alesis Nanocompressor for my parents and installed it inline between the audio outputs of the cable box and the TV. Now the blasted commercials bother them no more.

    Cost: $50 used plus some audio adapter cables.

    Yes I know some TVs have built in compressors. Guess what, they don't work worth a damn.

    Commercials are what drove me to dump cable/broadcast TV forever... not just the volume but the increasing ratio of ads to program per hour. Way too many commercials and they're even showing them in sidebars during the program. I ceased watching TV since 2000 and I do not miss it.

    If the government wants to help, they can mandate decent quality compressors in new TVs that are enabled by default. It won't cost any more than those V-chips or the digital TV receivers.

    The FCC has been hearing for DECADES about obnoxiously loud commercials, and now they want to help...?

  • fair (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:25AM (#30442094) Homepage Journal

    No, there is no "fair" way to write the text when you already know that those subject to the rules will hire very expensive law firms to find any and all loopholes.

    I have rules in my online game (battlemaster.org) - and one of them is roughly "attempts to exploit the rules and violating their spirit while formally abiding by the words double the punishment". It's time the legal system adds a rule like that, especially for corporations who willfully and intentionally choose that route.

    We have "contempt of court" already. It's time to add "contempt of the meaning of the law" to it.

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