This is something I’ve wanted to see happen for my entire life. I never thought it would, and I’m only mildly political so I never pushed for it, but we may see a new law that says a TV commercial can’t be “louder than the program it accompanies”, nor can it be “excessively noisy or strident”.
At our house, we don’t get to see a lot of commercials, but our TV-service-provided DVR isn’t as elegant as a TiVo, and the 30-second skip button leaves a gap between skips, and some of those gaps are obnoxiously loud. Usually it’s people wanting to melt down my “extra” gold or sell me some unpainted furniture from a warehouse, but it could be anything. It makes me instantly angry, every time.
But just yesterday,
The House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit television commercials from being excessively loud. The FCC would be required to come up with recommended volume levels for commercials.
Broadcasters, TV stations and cable and satellite providers would then have one year to purchase the necessary equipment to temper noisy ads.
I wasn’t expecting new equipment to be necessary, since when we watch things on Hulu, the ads are never louder than the show I’m watching. When we watch videos on the Xbox, a TV show’s volume isn’t any louder than it would be if I were playing a game, and the same goes with a DVD. Even when watching any of the dozen channels on Boxee, I never have to scramble to adjust the volume. But I guess that “old school” TV providers (I have the extremely recent Verizon FiOS) are a mish-mash of suppliers and delivery devices, and there’s still a hole that needs to be plugged.
House panel seeks to hush noisy ads, Kim Hart, The Hill, Oct. 8, 2009
Hit the mute! Why TV commercials are so loud, and how that may change, Jeff Bercovici, Daily Finance, Oct. 8, 2009
Published or updated October 9, 2009.