FCC act that lowers volume for TV commercials goes into effect

By Daniel Levine,

Television viewers can rejoice in knowing that they no longer have to lower the volume on their TVs whenever a commercial break comes on. The new CALM Act, which regulates the volume for commercials, goes into effect today.

The FCC approved the act last December and gave the commercials industry a year to prepare. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act requires commercials to be set at the same volume as the shows that they air during, protecting viewers from obnoxiously loud advertisements.

While this might seem like an easy law to enforce, The Los Angeles Times reports that stations needed new technology to ensure that commercials would be at a listenable level for viewers. The meters stations used previously could not tell the fluctuations in volume.

“The old type of meter measured volts. They were just looking for technical indications of loudness, and those indications did not always relate to human perception," Thomas Lund, a development manager of Denmark's TC Electronics, told the LA Times.

Lund explained that the ear picks up a short duration of high levels of sound as louder than a sustained duration. The old meters couldn’t pick that up. So, Lund’s company and others have created new meters that have been installed by satellite and cable providers across the country.

The FCC is urging any viewer that notices a violation of the law to send in complaints to its website or call 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).

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