Ever watch a television show at the perfect volume and then have it cut to commercials, only to sound twice as loud? You're far from alone: TV commercials are infamous for being noticeably louder than whichever program you're watching.
At long last, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is shutting these commercials up. Or at least toning them down.
The national regulator has announced new rules that will require Canadian broadcasters to control the volume of TV commercials. The regulations come into effect tomorrow.
“Starting on September 1, Canadians will be able to enjoy their favourite television programs without having to adjust the volume during commercial breaks,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “We appreciate the efforts undertaken by the broadcasting industry to conform to the new standard and ensure that programs and commercials are transmitted at a similar volume.”
However, the CRTC concedes that "loudness is a perception … dependent on a number of factors."
Broadcasters and television service providers must adhere to an objective international standard for measuring and controlling television signals. It is important to note, however, that loudness is a perception that is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature and content of the audio material. Some frequencies are perceived to be soothing, while others are more irritating to the human ear. As a result, a commercial can be broadcast at a similar volume, or audio level, as the program that preceded it, but perceived to be of different loudness.
If any Canadian consumer still finds TV commercials too loud in September, they should first contact the broadcaster or their television service provider. Should that fail—would it even have the slightest chance of succeeding?—then the CRTC suggestes complaining to it.
Another solution is cutting cable and using a commercial-free streaming service such as Netflix.