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Loud TV Commercials?
Old 05-04-2019, 07:00 PM   #1
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Loud TV Commercials?

My imagination, or new hearing problems? After the big flap about loud TV commercials several years ago, it seems like they're back... or maybe it's just me.

I complained to the government at the time, and was sent a complaint form that asked 10 or twelve questions... channel, time, time zone, name of commercial, length of commercial, and on and on, like the address of the channel on which the commercial was played, at what time in the show the commercial was shown, and a few more I can't recall.

Am I alone? Don't hear much about this anymore.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:24 PM   #2
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This article on nbcnews.com summarizes it as follows:

Quote:
The peak levels of commercials are no higher than the peak levels of program content. But the average level is way, way higher, and thatís the level your ears care about. If someone sets off a camera flash every now and then itís one thing; if they aim a steady spot light into your eyes itís another, even if the peak brightness is no higher.
I don't notice it because DW and I reflexively mute or zap commercials immediately when they appear. When I was still working, my fellow captives would sometimes say, "Have you seen the commercial where ..." All I could ever do was give them a blank look.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:38 PM   #3
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When I was still working, my fellow captives would sometimes say, "Have you seen the commercial where ..." All I could ever do was give them a blank look.
Having been an early TIVO adopter, I've had this same blank look for over 15 years. The only time I willingly watch commercials is during the first part of the superbowl. If I actually watch network TV live (and can't recall when) I would mute.

There's a semi-famous story of barbara streisand calling in to some network for a replay of Prince of Tides to complain about commercial loudness, but even that happened at least 10 years ago.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:12 PM   #4
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I never watch live TV except for the news. I record our TV shows on my computer, then use Comskip and VideoRedo to remove the commercials from the shows we watch. If they're still loud, I don't notice...
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:23 AM   #5
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I almost never hear (and rarely see) commercials here, either. But yes, they are annoyingly loud. I don't know who sits there and says to themselves "Wow, I'm going to buy that product because the volume is so nice and loud!"

What I have noticed is that the background music on a lot of shows, especially documentaries and reality shows, is ear-splitting compared to the dialog. Just the other day we watched one where the music kept getting louder, to a crescendo which drowned out all the dialog before suddenly reverting back to normal.

I get that the people who write and perform the music think it's pretty important. I don't understand why the producers allow it to take over.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:10 AM   #6
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I never watch live TV except for the news. I record our TV shows on my computer, then use Comskip and VideoRedo to remove the commercials from the shows we watch. If they're still loud, I don't notice...
Ha! I even record the news and skip the commercials. My biggest sound peeve is where the actors are mumbling or whispering while a soundtrack of music or "suspense noise" is playing in the background.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:16 AM   #7
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If I have to watch commercials, I don't watch the program.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:13 AM   #8
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So how much are you all spending a month to record all your TV viewing?
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:37 AM   #9
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What I have noticed is that the background music on a lot of shows, especially documentaries and reality shows, is ear-splitting compared to the dialog. Just the other day we watched one where the music kept getting louder, to a crescendo which drowned out all the dialog before suddenly reverting back to normal.
According to an audiophile I know modern TV sound bars amplify the parts of the sound spectrum - highs and lows - that makes music and sound effects more dramatic, but the part that voices use gets less amplification. Thus, the music and sound effects seems are louder compared to voices. He says he can cure the problem with a good set of mid-range speakers.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:55 AM   #10
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So how much are you all spending a month to record all your TV viewing?
It doesn't cost me anything other than the cost of my computer and the initial expense of the TV tuner card. I do spend $25/yr for TV listings, but everything else is freeware.

I use a Hauppauge WinTV-Quad card with four TV tuners to record local shows with an outdoor antenna (about $97 at Amazon). I do not have cable TV.
Hauppauge | WinTV-quadHD Four Tuner PCIe Board Product Description

I use NextPVR to pick the shows I want to watch and record them.
NextPVR

I subscribe to Schedules Direct for $25/yr for my TV listings.
Schedules Direct

I use ComSkip to find the commercials in my recordings and VideoRedo to cut them out of the video files.
www.comskip.org - comskip.org

I'll be honest, this all takes a bit of work and experimentation to get set up and working properly. However, it's a real life changer to watch shows when we want to watch them, without commercials, on our schedule, in whatever order we want to watch them.

I also download a lot of videos from YouTube which probably accounts for 30-40% of the TV I watch. Woodworking, Financial videos, Retirement Planning, etc.

All videos get saved to my hard drive, then I stream them over our home network to our TV in the living room. I use an old TVIX media streamer for that.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of setting this all up and/or want shows that are only on cable, you could just subscribe to Hulu.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:14 AM   #11
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We only have one commercial that is annoyingly loud - that's Spectrum. I'd never patronize them because of it. It's loud enough to wake you from a nap, and that's a no-no at our house.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:17 AM   #12
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With various streaming sources I don't see many commercials any more. Sometimes though I do miss learning about "fine Corinthian leather" and similar.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:34 PM   #13
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I recall reading an article years ago which claimed the commercials weren't any louder than the show. I thought this preposterous until I thought about it. If a show contains only dialog, and the commercials have music or sound effects and dialog, the commercial will have more sound energy, even though it may not actually be louder. The other sounds (music, effects, etc.) are filling more of the spectrum, filling up more area under the curve. Regardless of that, it's a copout to say it's not louder when we all know how annoying it is. I usually zip through the commercial, but am also vigilant about sound control if the commercials are unavoidable. I also hate watching a movie where you're straining to hear the dialog, but then some loud effect comes along which blows out your equipment and your eardrums. It seems we cannot just relax and watch anything anymore. I'd like to add a compressor in the audio loop, to quash the over-loud parts, but have not done so yet.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:31 PM   #14
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I don't see as many commercials due to my viewing habits but the ones I do see don't seem to be as loud as they used to be. Of course my hearing may not be as good as in the past.
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:09 PM   #15
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I often mute the TV or change the channel, using the "Last" button on the remote to toggle back. his tactic sometimes fails when the other channel has an annoying commercial, too. Then I toggle to a third channel or switch to an ad-free channel such as PBS or C-Span.
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:56 PM   #16
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If I have to watch commercials, I don't watch the program.
Same here. The only place I watch TV anymore is at the gym, and then only because the screens are right in front of some of the equipment. Thankfully they keep the sound turned off.

The signal-to-noise ratio on TV just got too low to bother with it anymore.
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:09 PM   #17
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As the comedian Gallagher once said, “The TV has a brightness control but it don’t work!”

Edited to add the exact quote: “Don't you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There's one marked 'Brightness,' but it doesn't work."
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:54 PM   #18
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According to an audiophile I know modern TV sound bars amplify the parts of the sound spectrum.
Maybe, but I don't have a modern TV or a sound bar

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Originally Posted by Bruceski44 View Post
I recall reading an article years ago which claimed the commercials weren't any louder than the show.
The claim is actually that the maximum volume is allegedly the same for the show and the commercials. Of course, the whole commercial plays at the maximum, while the show might only hit that for a millisecond. So the effect is, the commercial really is much louder than the show. The BS about maximums is just a way to dismiss the viewers' complaints.
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Old 05-10-2019, 06:48 AM   #19
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Next I guess youíll want phone solicitors to adhere to the ďNo CallĒ list...
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:53 AM   #20
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My imagination, or new hearing problems? After the big flap about loud TV commercials several years ago, it seems like they're back... or maybe it's just me.

I complained to the government at the time, and was sent a complaint form that asked 10 or twelve questions... channel, time, time zone, name of commercial, length of commercial, and on and on, like the address of the channel on which the commercial was played, at what time in the show the commercial was shown, and a few more I can't recall.

Am I alone? Don't hear much about this anymore.
We almost exclusively watch Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu. When we do occasionally watch regular TV, we DO notice how loud the commercials are.

We also think that the car chases, explosions, etc, in the movies are much louder than the voices. The volume creeps up as we progress into the movie until, at the end, I wonder if we are deaf!
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