The FCC has finally established rules regulating the loudness of TV commercials, in adherence to the requirement of the CALM Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on December 15, 2010. Lo and behold, in true government fashion, they finished their task just in time for their deadline to do so, which was December 15, 2011.
The good news is that the days of loud TV commercials is coming to an end (to the relief of of many consumers), but the bad news is that television viewers still have to wait until the December of 2012 before they formally go into effect. That's a total of two years after the passage of legislation telling TV broadcasters to tone it down. Isn't it convenient that the anti-loud TV commercial rules don't take effect until after the 2012 elections...
For technical details on how TV broadcasters and cable/satellite operators are required to do in order to comply with the new rules, check out the reference article from the trade publication Television Broadcast.
My Take: The question I have, is that as annoying and as loud as many TV commercials are, was all the time and money to come up with regulations from the federal government really necessary?
Just like many TV viewers, I get bugged by loud TV commercials, but I also have a Mute button on my remote that does the job a lot cheaper than paying taxes to the government to take up Congress's time holding hearings and drafting legislation, cutting down more trees to print out the legislation, and then have the approved legislation take up the time and resources of the FCC to adopt rules that will need to be enforced, which will probably require more forms for the broadcasters to fill out that they are compliant.
Also, one other factor that has been left out the equation, is that in the past couple of years, technologies are being built into TVs and other products, such as Dolby Volume and SRS TRuVolume that actually help to lower the impact of loud TV commercials, as well as volume levels that vary between different audio content sources. So if you are shopping for a new TV, check for one of these features. Also, there are outboard products that you can attach to most TVs that will also assist in this area.
I just think with all the other problems going on in the World these days, the issue of loud TV commercials is pretty minor in comparison. However, a lot of TV viewers will be happy if the new regulations work. I will have to admit that I won't mind if I don't have to reach for that Mute button as often... What do you think? Comment below...
UPDATE 12/16/12: CALM Act Enforcement Begins.