back to article EU TV laws are coming

The European Parliament yesterday passed the Audiovisual Directive, which aims to modernise and consolidate laws governing video content however it is transmitted. The "Audiovisual Media Services Without Frontiers Directive" covers all media services and grants citizens certain rights to "access extracts of important events …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Mathematical wizadry.

    "Daily limits for advertising remain at 12 minutes per hour, but total daily limits have been removed."

    With the magic of maths, I see this is wrong, clearly there must be a total daily limit of 12*24 = 288 minutes.

    Even Paris knows that.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Enjoy the mute button while you still can

    There's a nasty urban legend going around that HDTV broadcasts can contain signals that will disable various features on the sets - in particular the mute button during the advertisements, possibly also the channel change and the on/sta[BS][BS][BS]off button. The result is that the broadcast stations can charge £xtra for advertisements with "enforced sound" or whatever jargon they would use to describe it.

    I have written about this to Ofcom, hoping for a ruling on the subject to say that such practice will not be allowed here in the UK. Despite not using the mute button, there has been only silence.

    Any thoughts/opinions (/facts?) on this matter?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    As anyone who's ever complained about unlimited broadband will know (not me for the record)...

    "Daily limits for advertising remain at 12 minutes per hour, but total daily limits have been removed"

    Is a completely stupid ISP-esque statement.

    When I was in school, there were a fixed number of hours in a day... 24 (I'm excluding summer time adjustments and the odd leap-second).

    So if you're only allowed 12 minutes per hour, and only with 24 hours in a day, surely the limit is 288 minutes in a day??? To me, that isn't removing a limit.

    I'm not sure that Paris would be able to work that one out though (I was gonna use the warning triangle icon, but thought Paris would be better!).

  4. Whitter

    Without bothering to read the details myself

    How are they going to cope with product placement in films?

  5. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Yes, oui, si, sim, tak?

    Tak means thanks. Didn't you mean to say "Ja"? <LOL>

    Or are you using Babelfish inappropriately again?

  6. Tom Chiverton

    product placement in films

    Very small print in all the trailers that says 'products may have been placed'.

  7. Stephen Gazard

    re: Enjoy the mute button while you still can

    External speakers to get better sound anyway. Then have a remote for those. Mute as you wish.

    Or: get a TV now, and fume like mad when it can't be muted. Besides, I've yet to see a TV be stymied by hte lowly power switch on the wall. Most adverts are for 3-4 minutes, so you can enjoy them that way

    or: plug in a set of really cheap headphones are the right point, (perhaps you only need the jack to correctly stuff the system -- don't know about the electronics on that one), and your TV outputs to the headphones.

    Personally the external speakers appeal. If they could remotely unmute my current TV I'd be impressed. it's not HD, heck, not even digital/the likes. I've got a CRT...

    Bring on the X-rays

    Oh, and back on topic. advertising should be mutable. I'd love a TV that you can blank when needed as I find that they're a good time to talk to other people in the room.

    product placement in films would be interesting. hopefully we're not going to have Truman-show like 'advertising'

  8. James Geldart

    mute button?

    Re the mute button, surely if that is the case it'll only be a short time before the hardware manufacturers in the Far East are bringing out TVs and boxes advertising their ability to override 'enforced sound', or to automatically switch to another channel and then back once the 'enforced sound' signal has ended.

    All these kind of things rely on hardware manufacturers playing ball, and if one won't the rest have to follow suit. Just look at multi-region DVD players.

    Btw Big_Boomer, I think tak means yes in Polish (thanks in Danish)

  9. jmarke

    Missing the point

    The way I understand it is; being a daily limit not an hourly limit the daily total of 288 minutes can now all be crammed in to the peak viewing space. No ads at 4.00am and too many at 7.30pm not really progress in my book.

  10. Fred

    @ Anonymous Coward

    Yea i could imagine that mute-ing business coming along... its kinda scary that they can even think about doing that. think it would be "sound via an external amp" route for me... infact... im gonna find a way of getting all my tele thru my pc... who needs a tv these days... pc is the central feature in the house now.

    Um... and that cancelling ads for kids tv wouldbe great!!!! all i get out of my daughter these days (with the run up to xmas) is " I want that dad" and its driving me nuts lol...

    Think im gonna cancel my sky and get that B(ollocks)T vision thing going into my pc... mabey.

    And hope that demonoid gets their wee server thing sorted so i can get the upcoming BSG.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @BIG_BOOMER: Newsflash: Poland is now in the EU

    A single syllable can pop up in other languages also.

  12. eurobloke


    <i>Tak means thanks. Didn't you mean to say "Ja"? <LOL> </i>

    Yes, “tak” means thank you, please or an acceptance message in a conversion in Danish, but it also means yes in Polish.

    I think they are meant to say; “yes, tá, oui, sí, sim, si, ja, kyllä, jah, jā, taip, ano, áno, igen, da, да, ναι, iva.”

  13. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    @Enjoy the mute button while you still can

    Alternatively, get Sky+ or some other sort of PVR technology, record the programme and then just fast forward through the ads

    (At least until they bring in coding to disable the fast forward button...)

  14. John A Blackley


    "Yesterday also saw the commission call for a more inclusive digital society. It is launching an awareness campaign under the banner "e-Inclusion, be part of it!" to improve access to the internet and other digital services."

    Will the EU obergruppenfurhers be including the UK broadband providers in their propaganda push? Seems a little pointless to urge improved access to the internet while being limited to crap service providers.

  15. Graham Martin
    Thumb Up

    Enforced Sound

    If true, "enforced sound" means that the broadcasters will be flagging when the adverts are on. There will be plenty of manufacturers who will thus implement it as a "no sound" option to try and gain a competitive edge. Therefore it won't happen.

    I don't really see such a system being allowed on the terrestrial network anyway, although it might appeal to the orbital operators and their closed platforms.

  16. Ben DAMET

    That sounds great,

    The disable signal can be used to remove adverts from the stream automatically ....

    Guess they are not going to give HDMI secure accreditation to that kind of products, but as HDMI controllers can very well be external in the design, a so crafted product with a very common external decoder would be commercially impossible to deactivate. Am getting exited about that actually and if this is ever implemented will probably try to design such a device myself.

    Keep the tech coming networks

  17. Chris Hedley Silver badge


    Well that's progress for you I suppose. I barely watch the telly any longer as it is because of the seemingly endless adverts for random tat I'll never want (and whatever happened to funny, entertaining ads? Seeing some hand-wringer coaxing a bunch of halfwits to talk about the injuries they sustained bashing themselves over the head with various blunt objects when they were supposed to be working is about as funny as having leprosy. But I digress...), are they trying to kill the medium off altogether?

  18. Kenneth Bradley-White

    @ Steven Gazard


    advertising should be mutable. I'd love a TV that you can blank when needed as I find that they're a good time to talk to other people in the room.


    Such a thing exists. It's called the "Off" button.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Stephen Gazard

    > I'd love a TV that you can blank when needed as I find that they're a good time

    > to talk to other people in the room.

    There is, and the good news is most TVs nowadays have this.

    It's called the "Standby" feature. It's different from the power switch in that it can quickly suspend and resume the set without needing the set to warm up.

    Or you may as well just hit the video button on the remote to flip to an unconnected AV/SCART input, which pretty much do the job nicely too.

  20. GrahamT

    Ads?, What ads?

    No need to blank the ads; just watch BBC1, 2, 3 or 4.

  21. Saint Fnordius

    Too much math snark for their own good.

    All right, since everybody is being too clever for their own good...

    The idea of a daily limit is pretty simple: some nations had a limit that was under the 12 minutes per hour. That meant that if the ad blocks were 12 minutes, one per hour, there would be a few hours without any ad blocks, but the size of the ad blocks could not exceed 12 minutes within one hour.

    So the whole upshot is that they are saying that since they are already limiting per hour, an extra daily limit is moot. Just 12 minutes maximum within an hour. No 18 minutes in one hour and 6 the next. 12 is all you get until the next hour begins.

  22. Slaine

    Ads - we don't need no steenkin' adverts

    ... just dispose of the TV.

    Now then, regarding "modernised rules that improve legal certainty", presumably translates into a requirement that all programmes and adverts must contain the correct proportion of ethnic groupings such as "people of African origin, people of Muslim persuasion, people who have been diagnosed as "below average intelligence", "income deprived" or "morally challenged" etc etc etc... or, an awful lot of work for the small number of one-armed single-parent lesbians out there.

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