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Robert Silva

FCC Makes Final Rules on Loud TV Commercials

By December 15, 2011

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Dateline: 12/15/2011
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 some reaction to the new CALM Act rules, check out the posts from Digital Trends and Los Angeles Times.

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.

December 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm
(1) ereilad says:

Running up to a dozen obnoxious, super loud commercials during the commercial break has simply resulted in people becoming more familiar with the remote. The mute button, the alternate channels, and the return button. Sure we miss a little of a show once and a while, but not very often. With TV’s down in price some folks have more than one to watch at a time. Not to mention multitasking on the computer.

December 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm
(2) Graham from New Zealand says:

For several years now I’ve recorded just about everything I watch. When I play it back I just skip over the ads – it doesn’t matter how loud they are – and the bonus is I save so much time. I can watch 4 hours programming in 3 hours. Nice.

December 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm
(3) R. Emote says:

Just use the mute button? You’re a douche. You want me to honestly believe you are going to sit there and do that 16 times every hour?
I’ll bet you just love Rush Limbaugh. Don’t regulate anything, right? Honesty will prevail. Just ask Lehman Brothers, Freddy Mac, etc, how they’re doing after less regulation, watchdogs, and law enforcement.

December 17, 2011 at 12:37 am
(4) hometheater says:

Thank you for your comments – However, name calling is not appropriate on this site. The thrust of my perspective on this issue is that, yes, loud commercials are a problem – but I hardly feel that the issue of loud commercials rises to the level where the federal government needs to be involved in light of more pressing matters they should be attending to, such as financial scandals, corruption, etc.. as you mentioned.

Think about it, just to regulate loud TV commercials it has taken two years of time: a year from time the legislation is signed until the rules were finalized, and now another year until they go into effect. In the meantime, the consumer electronics industry has already started implementing solutions that consumers can take advantage of that I outlined in my article.

Robert Silva

December 17, 2011 at 2:16 am
(5) David ST says:

Yea I wonder have much it cost us to get this new law passed.

December 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm
(6) Frank says:

Would love to have read your comments in the article text, but a good bit of it is covered by superimposed ads that prevent doing so. Have tried a number of methods (pop-up blocker, etc.) , but am not able to remove, reduce or relocate the ad text box to reveal your text. Any solutions most appreciated!

December 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm
(7) Frank says:

Re my previous coment- may have broken the code? After posting a comment, the full basic aarticle text is now readable– go figure.

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