back to article FCC (finally) cracks down on BLARING! TV! ADS!

The US Federal Communications Commission has issued rules requiring television broadcasters and cable and satellite providers to maintain constant volume levels for programs and commercials. The rules were issued persuant to the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, better known as the CALM Act, which has been …

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  1. Vic

    And, for once, it should be enforced

    I've spent the last six months sat next to a DSP engineer who was writing code to measure the average[1] levels on transmissions and adjust the gain to ensure the ads aren't too loud.

    Sometimes, encoder manufacturers get things right.

    Vic.

    [1] "Average" is actually quote hard to define; each advert is a separate item, and the repeats between adverts are their own thing. But the overall result of Huw's work seems to be a good thing.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can somebody do the techy stuff and determine (or provide a link) if this will actually work, or if there are simple techniques around it. Or even worse, if there are any loopholes cut in to exempt things like "political announcements".

    I know the "audio levelling" is most media players is pretty crap, so can't say I'm optimistic.

    1. Fatman

      simple techniques around it

      While my knowledge of DSP (digital signal processing) is rudimentary, I do remember from back in the 'analog days', one way around "it" was to screw with the equalization. One way to do that was to boost the high frequencies, making them seem "louder".

      You can be sure that the people who create adverts will figure a way around this. After all, the sole purpose of a `commercial` is to get your attention.

  3. Andrew Foster
    Happy

    I had a better solution ...

    After years of paying for channels I didn't watch and didn't want, listening to ever increasingly loud and obnoxious commercials, and having low quality low IQ entertainment foistered upon me, solved the problem. I abandoned TV all together. Never been better.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Oddly enough ...

      The vast majority of DVD's and VHS recording are all recorded at the same level ... so just how hard can this be to implement?

      Maybe if they sort this out I'll start watching TV again but don't hold your breath.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @Andrew Foster

      Same here. The television in my personal living space hasn't been plugged in for over a decade. I haven't missed it a bit.

      1. HipposRule

        WTF is a 'personal living space'?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "WTF is a 'personal living space'?"

          I think it's euphemism for being made to go live in the shed.

        2. jake Silver badge

          @HipposRule

          In my case, "personal living space" is the main house here at the ranch. The field hands and the foreman have access to TV (payed for by myself; I have no idea how much time they waste during their off hours glued to the tube). There are also TVs in the "clubhouse" and the viewing room over the indoor arena, but they are mostly used to review horses & riders in action, as a training aide.

          The house TV itself resides next to the front door. It pretty much acts as a key-hanger, hat-stand, dog lead depository, snail-mail/bill holder, sunglasses stand, telephone stand, and the like. I should probably get rid of it, but then I'd need to replace it with a similarly sized bit of kit to do the same job ... and there's the odd chance that I might want to plug it in and watch something someday.

    3. zanto
      Pint

      same here

      My television was hardly used at all. So I did the same. The little that I do watch is only available online and, cough.. has no commercials cough..

    4. lIsRT
      Thumb Up

      An especially attractive option in the UK, ever since I got my own place, I've been able to ignore the increasingly stern begging letters from TVL.

    5. auburnman
      Happy

      Seems to be a growing preference

      The only reason I have a TV is for the HDMI and computer monitor ports. I spend enough money on TV I'll probably never watch with the still-in-the-wrapper DVD collection growing in my cupboard.

    6. Schultz Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Almost the same here

      But after years of happiness without TV, the German government decided to change the rules and replace the public TV fees with a household fee.

      So, after years of NOT paying for channels I didn't watch and didn't want ... I will have the privilege to pay for low quality low IQ entertainment again in 2013.

  4. Inachu
    Angel

    About time!

    Currently the way FIOS is in my house normal TV volume is at level 56.

    Now comes commercials and it sounds like volume is at 200.

    I own a LG brand new TV

    I also own a XBOX360 and a PS3 both gaming consoles and my ROKU device plays sound normally at volume 15 but FIOS TV normal is at level 56? No amount of resetting to facotry default is the NOT the issue and has nothing to do with my TV settings when all devices are at correct volume level 15 but FIOS needs to be boosted up to volume level 56?

    The advertising industry has broken their trust with blaring commercial rude commercials.

    But it is not just TV commercials but public access TV stations who do not know who to control loudness at all as if an amature is at the controls.

    PASS THIS ASAP PLEASE!

  5. Alan B

    It didn't work over here!

    We have a similar law in the UK which came into force on July 7 2008 but the broadcasters have found a way round it. They digitally compress the audio in adverts. This means the measurable volume is no higher than the program volume, but they sound much louder to the human ear, so we still end up turning the volume down when adverts come on. I'd like to bet the USA companies will do the same.

    http://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/loud-tv-television-ad-advertisements-commercial/

    1. Vic

      > They digitally compress the audio in adverts

      This will be coming to an end.

      The new regulations measure integrated sound levels, so compression counts as gain.

      Loud adverts are on their last legs. And not a moment too soon.

      Vic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's great news. Do you have a source and timescale?

        I actually bothered to complain to C4 a few years back, but was told 'nah, it's the same sound levels, you just think it's louder, so there!'

    2. dave 81
      Alert

      Mute button on TV remote = WIN.

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Fast Forward button on the DVR = double win.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      It's not so much "digital" compression, but compression of the dynamic range of the audio signal.

      So the loud peaks are reduced and the lower parts of the signal are boosted.

      Most music is compressed like this now too so it sounds better or louder on rubbish audio systems (which appear to be the norm now).

    4. Semaj
      Thumb Down

      Not that I watch TV any more but yeah it is still annoying here.

      What is far worse though is when they repeat the same advert (or advert for an upcoming show) over and over again until you are so sick of seeing it it has the opposite effect to what they intended.

      1. Vic

        > until you are so sick of seeing it it has the opposite effect to what they intended.

        indeed.

        I didn't watch the first few series of Spooks because I couldn't abide that advert.

        Then I found out it had Keeley Hawes in it. Perhaps I'll go get the DVD...

        Vic.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heard it before - the problem is *how* you define "volume"

    With all the modern audio processing techniques, digital dynamic-range-compression, dynamic range compression within frequency bands, etc, it's increasingly possible to make things sound louder (and which argueably are louder) but which somebody can point to a sound level meter (or peak meter) and deny everything.

    I'm sure we've been round the loop in this country a few times already.

  7. John Savard Silver badge

    The Problem

    Given that TV commercials are louder than the shows they're in because they have undergone dynamic range compression, it's certainly understandable that it was difficult to form a sufficiently precise definition of subjective average loudness (as against maximum volume) for such a law.

  8. Nexox Enigma

    I've got a better solution

    """Households across the country will soon get the relief they deserve from the annoyance of blaringly loud television commercials."""

    Easily accomplished by turning off the television. That way you can avoid the irritating commercials /and/ the irritating programming. Maybe read a book or talk to your room mate / significant other / family instead.

    Seriously though, this bill is just in time, since everyone now has a DVR to skip commercials, or they just watch on some form of streaming service, the ads on which are probably not even covered.

    1. The Jase
      Meh

      PC not working? Buy a MAC!

      "Easily accomplished by turning off the television. That way you can avoid the irritating commercials /and/ the irritating programming. Maybe read a book or talk to your room mate / significant other / family instead."

      Computer not working properly? Dealing with this can be easily accomplished by turning off the computer. That way you can avoid the irritating slowness /and/ the irritating internet. Maybe read a book or talk to your room mate / significant other / family instead.

      Car not working properly? Dealing with this can be easily accomplished by not using it. That way you can avoid the irritating firing on 3 cylinders /and/ the irritating starter motor issues. Maybe read a book or talk to your room mate / significant other / family instead.

      etc, etc, etc...

      1. SYNTAX__ERROR
        Stop

        Choices

        Important distinction...

        TV = OPTIONAL. One will not die from lack of watching TV.

        Car = Essential for many: get to work, do shopping, pick up medication. (NOT take kids to school)

        Computer = Increasingly essential: access government services, banking, utilities etc. Most business as it is today unable to operate without.

        1. The Jase

          "Car = Essential for many"

          Use public transport, I haven't had a car in over 8 years

          "Computer = Increasingly essential"

          Pick up the phone, all the services mentioned are available on that. The computer at home is a convenience, not a necessity.

          The TV at home is a convenience too. You don't need it, but sometimes it nice to have.

          But the point that went flying over so many heads is:

          saying get rid of it, or buy another brand is NOT a solution.

          My ridiculous example should have been an obvious illustration of this.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          BUT

          TV isn't optional;

          Miss X-Factor (or Strictly come dancing, or whatever shite is popular)

          Can't join in with social conversations

          Feel alienated

          ??

          It's actually the increasing levels of adverts being foisted on the On Demand stuff that bothers me, but at least you can block most of it!

          1. Vic

            > Miss X-Factor

            I've never missed an episode of X-Factor.

            I haven't seen many[1], but I've never missed any in the slightest.

            Vic.

            [1] I'd love to say "haven't seen any", but 'Er Indoors puts it on every bloody weekend :-(

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wicker, however, withdrew his support in 2010, stating that "... the television industry has been moving in the right direction on commercial advertising audio volume. Therefore, I do not believe government intervention is necessary at this time."

    I wish I lived in MS so so I could vote against this slimeball.

    The problem seems to have gotten worse and worse as of late. To the point where I have stopped watching TV because it raises my blood pressure whenever I do.

    In a way I'll miss the louder commercials.. I'm reading a lot more now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      "...but writing a law to do so seems a stretch."

      Another interesting quote. Translation: "We were lobbied by ordinary punters for a new law, but since they don't fund our campaigns, they can go take a running jump."

      On the other hand, these big media firms do, and they say that it's "not necessary" so that's good enough for me.....

  10. zen1

    Open letter to the "honorable" Representative from Texas

    Sir, while I share a number of core values with you, shut the hell up. This will be about the only intelligent legislation to come out of D.C. in decades. Given the fact that the political whores are starting their campaigning, I for one don't want to be subjected crap pulled by the advertising industry, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the impending onslaught of political advertisements.

    1. Notas Badoff
      Facepalm

      "On June 17, 2010, Barton accused the White House of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant BP after the company reached an agreement with Obama to establish an escrow account to pay the claims of people harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.["

      Apologizing to BP, telling people mad at ads to "get over it" .

      This guy's choice of finger and choice of trigger really needs to change, as he's run out of feet now. Oh, wait, his district re-elected him last election! And since '85. Oh, wait, this was Phil Gramm's old district. They don't care how idiotic their representative is!

  11. HP Cynic

    The least I do is hit the mute key when the ads come on. That way I can easily see when the actual programme is back on without being subjected to shite about perfumes and fake-science hair care products etc.

  12. Herbert Meyer
    Stop

    4 years my *, how about 60 years

    The difference in volume has been obvious since the beginnings of TV broadcasting. I could find old cartoons from Mad and the New Yorker and other US mags, dated from the 50's, observing the phenomena.

  13. unitron
    Boffin

    It's not the volume...

    ...it only seems that way, but what it is is the compression, which is the way they've always gotten around volume limits.

    It's the same thing radio stations used to do (and probably still do) to seem louder than the other stations on the dial.

    At this point I'd settle for better audio in the shows themselves, so that dialogue isn't constantly buried under background noise or music.

    And I think the music is over-compressed somewhere along the line before it gets added/mixed in to the show's soundtrack.

    I know it's do-able, listen to old show or movies, they didn't have the problem and the current show "Burn Notice" does not have the problem, whoever does audio for that show do an excellent job.

    Now get off my lawn.

  14. The Cube
    Stop

    Much better solution available

    Simply add to the transmission standard a mandatory notification of advert start and advert stop events in the transmission. Then those who still actually watch broadcast TV can buy televisions / decoders / PVRs etc which have sensible config options;

    1) Program volume and Crapvert volume as separate settings, you could even set the default...

    2) Do not record crapverts for PVRs

    See, easy and it is even a commercial opportunity for equipment vendors so the Republican slimeball has somebody to take a bribe, sorry "campaign donation" from.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The technology

      to do this has been around for years, the reason it wont ever work is that the TV companies wont be happy as nearly all of their revenue comes from adverts. Thats, of course, includes adverts from the TV manufacturers themselves.

  15. wub

    Don't forget the compression effect.

    I have heard an explanation of why this won't work from someone more knowledgeable than I am, but which I can actually understand. The volume level of your TV is the volume you set. Think of this volume level as a speed limit, or as your bandwidth. Most of the program content does not use the full bandwidth. It is normal for the amount of 'bandwidth' used to vary with time. The explosions always sound louder than the dialog, for example. The loudest sounds in a typical program use much more 'bandwidth' than the quietest sounds.

    What the commercial makers do is compress the sound information, so that the very quietest sound is only slightly quieter than the loudest sound, and they arrange for the loudest sound to use the whole 'bandwidth'. This forces all the audio to be as loud as the volume level you set.

    It is unlikely that this new law will change my experience, here in California, at all. More's the pity.

  16. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    AC-3 audio

    Between the encoded amplitude and the Dialnorm metadata, this should be quite confusing to enforce.

  17. mhoulden
    Mushroom

    Does the US still have that thing where they cut straight from the TV show to the adverts without displaying an "end of part 1" card or something similar? In the UK it's mandatory to make it clear where each break is. Shows are also supposed to wait until a natural break but that doesn't always happen, especially when it's a BBC show being screened on something like Dave or Watch and the presenter gets cut off mid sentence. I know advertisers want to be as obtrusive and noticeable as possible but sometimes all that achieves is "I'm not buying *that* because the adverts were so annoying".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not just that

      ... while UK TV has only just devolved to allowing product placement, US TV goes beyond it to have in-program adverts. I don't just mean presenters of live programs speaking an advert, or displaying a product with the obvious branding. No, the USA has fictional programs with characters describing features of products.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The republican party is so obsessed with opposing anything the democrats try to do that If America got invaded today the Republicans would try to stop Obama sending troops to defend their own country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's sorta happened before (almost), remember the attempt at appeasement before World War 2.

      Yay! Godwin is alive an' kicking!

    2. fishman

      It's bipartisan

      Both sides have been obsessed with opposing the other party for quite a while.

  19. Efros

    Constant channel volume

    Next up. Switching from one channel to another can cause you to be jumped out of your seat as the audio volume levels from channel to channel can be almost an order of magnitude different.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well yeah

      If you switch from Downton Abbey to Top Gear then yeah, things might get louder. That's just fair enough.

  20. Graham Marsden
    Boffin

    Another simple solution...

    ... Everything I want to watch, I record on Sky+ consequently ad breaks are a matter of pressing the fast forward button and counting an appropriate number of seconds before I press play again.

    Bingo, no noisy ads!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Another simple solution..

      Everything I want to watch, I record on MythTV, consequently ad breaks are a matter of doing nothing and watching the automatic advert skipping bring me seamlessly to the next part of the program.

      Bingo, no noisy ads, no effort! And no monthly subscription :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Thing is though, the increased volume level is one of the techniques used by MythTV in advert detection.

        For you, this may be bad news :D

      2. The Unexpected Bill
        Trollface

        Well....sort of...

        > Bingo, no noisy ads, no effort! And no monthly subscription :-)

        ...isn't there still a requirement to use SchedulesDirect with MythTV?

        I know. I hate to be *that* soldier (to paraphrase the BOFH)...

        (I played with it a while ago and it was strongly hinted that using SchedulesDirect was required. I figured that MythTV could do the same as a $5 garage sale VCR and accept simple start/stop times. It seems I was wrong, though I never really got it running and lost interest because I don't know when the last time I *cared* about TV was...)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but you are putting money in Murdoch's pocket, so you can cross out any smug-points that you thought might be harvested. ;o)

  21. Andy 97
    Pint

    Next... commercial radio needs the same treatment

    After the ear-bleedingly horrible 'loudness' of Heart and Capital, I wondered if there was any appetite to regulate the levels of compression used in radio too?

    I realise this won't affect their appalling playlist/presenters/smug tone of voice etc.

    1. Z80

      I can only assume you're being made to listen to Heart and Capital against your will?

  22. mfritz0

    Finally, a law my ears can live with!

  23. Lars Silver badge
    Go

    Once in a while

    They do something right in the US. Or at least they try to.

    I have been waiting for this to happen in the EU first, for twenty years, at least.

    That blasted commercial super fart is also wasting energy.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Tis True.

      Winston Churchill: “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

      1. Andus McCoatover
        Windows

        That's priceless!!

        Thanks!!

  24. James 47

    you see this TVCatchup??? with your blaring un-mutable advert

  25. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Pity, in some ways....

    Firstly, when the adverts come on, we nip to the balcony for a smoke. We can just hear the TV at that point. When we can't we know the programme's restarted, and go back in again.

    Second, it blows an idea I was thinking about - using the increased volume to operate a sensor, to stop the recorder.

    1. Andus McCoatover
      Windows

      Who the hell downvoted?

      Was it that pra*t Jamie Kellner,who famously said:

      "Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming."

      Put the fuc*king kettle on.

      Your head.

  26. silver fox
    Coat

    For a country as bureaucratic as the US of A...

    ...it seems entirely appropriate to create a law for this!

  27. Mostor Astrakan

    HI! ISN'T IT GREAT THE TITLE IS OPTIONAL? SURE IS JANE!

    We got cable. We got a box that records the serials we watch. So an evening of brain shutdown starts at the list of recorded programs. Sometimes we watch programs at broadcast time, and we actually have to sit through the commercials. I swear, being able to fast-forward through the commercials, and to have bio-breaks whenever we want, THAT is the killer feature of recording cable boxes.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't stop unless you make me!

    Quote: "I appreciate Ms. Eshoo's efforts to protect America's ears from loud commercials and our thumbs from arthritis brought on by overuse," Barton said, "but writing a law to do so seems a stretch."

    This is the saddest part of the issue (and many like it). There always seems to be a number of people who will act in a way that injures or deprives others, and it seems they will only stop when the law forces them to - resulting in a blizzard of new laws and regulations. And these people are often amongst the wealthiest...

  29. howard bowen 1
    Facepalm

    Doesn't apply to Professor Brian Cox and his Orchestra

    A decent program spoiled by overly intrusive and unnecessary 'musical' noise pollution. IMO.

  30. Nick Pettefar

    Radio DJs Too Loud!

    I wish that the adverts AND the DJs on radio were not louder than the music. When will they bring in a law about that?!

  31. Epobirs
    Alert

    Didn't the market already address this?

    Magnavox was selling TVs with a feature to avoid this problem twenty years ago. John Cleese pitched them in ads. Since any patents should have expired by now, why doesn't every TV now sold have this?

    Does anyone know if this was effective? Or was it discouraged by those with an interest towards forcing people to notice their ads?

    1. Just Thinking

      Unfortunately, "those with an interest towards forcing people to notice their ads" are the ones who are ultimately paying for the production and broadcasting of the programs you are watching.

      That doesn't excuse excessive or overly loud ads of course. But ad funded TV (in the UK at least) isn't doing too well these days, so the TV companies aren't doing this out of unbridled greed, they are doing it to survive. The logical conclusion of making ITV even less attractive to advertisers is that ITV won't be an option any more.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Is there are research that demonstrates that louder ads produce more sales?

        To me, the ads that seem most likely to influence purchasing decisions are the least noisy; the subtle, amusing or entertaining ones.

        If ever I inveigh against an annoying ad, some smart-arse will chip in with "Ah, but you remembered it, didn't you?". As if remembering that the Halifax campaign is clearly aimed at imbeciles would make me trust them with my money. (Nothing specifically against Halifax; I could list numerous other ads that induce rage.)

    2. The Unexpected Bill
      Happy

      Magnavox TV Volume Limiter

      > Does anyone know if this was effective?

      I have a 19" Magnavox* table TV with the SmartSound feature available in the menus. Said TV dates from 1997, has been an excellent set and continues to work very well. (My only real complaint is that the firmware turns the closed caption decoder off after every power cycle, but it's only one key to turn it back on...)

      Yes, the feature does work very well most of the time. When turned on, the overall audio level drops slightly. I suppose it simply watches for a sudden spike in the audio signal and cuts the amplifier's gain.

      * kind of ironic that the word Magnavox is said to be based on the Latin for "great voice" ... or maybe it means that outright. I'm nobody's idea of a language scholar.

  32. Barry Tabrah
    Megaphone

    Next on the agenda

    Okay, now let's go after the fat Tenor with the mustache! Infinitely more annoying than excessive volume levels. Who's with me?

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      Drat, drat, and double drat.

      Get that pigeon. The infinitely annoying "funky" pigeon.

      All those ads do is make me reach for the shotgun, with an overwhelming desire to go and blast as many of the annoying flying rats out of the sky as I possibly can.

  33. Purlieu

    Since the TV knows

    by the received programme code whether it's programme or advert, surely all we need is a setting we can invoke to MUTE DURING ADVERTS

  34. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Up

    WHAT PROBLEM?

    TO BE HONEST, I DON'T SEE WHAT THE FUSS IS ALL ABOUT. WHAT'S WRONG WITH SOMETHING BEING LOUDER THAN SOMETHING ELSE?

  35. JeffyPooh
    Pint

    Observation...

    Canada:

    Bell 'ExpressVu' satellite TV (my house) - the audio is remarkably consistent already. Rarely if ever have to adjust the volume.

    EastLink Cable TV (parents' house) - OMG! Horrible. Absolutely horrible. Insane. Crazy. I'd be unable to watch it. It would drive me away from TV in general.

  36. romanempire
    Happy

    TIVO

    One of main reasons I still love my old Series One Tivo and still keep it going despite the lack of dual tuners, HD, etc.

    See http://www.tivoland.com/altepg/

    R.

  37. mrt198
    Thumb Up

    Loudness

    The ATSC document is a bit of a wade, the EBU one is a bit easier, but I'll try to summarise.

    No, no measurement system for loudness is perfect. However, what we currently have in the broadcast world is a maximum defined level (PPM6 - measured on a 10ms integrating meter) that you are not allowed to go over, and a set of vague guidelines from broadcasters on levels (e.g. the BBC specify that speech should be in the range PPM3-5). This allows for all kinds of creative levels of sound, since there is no defined reference level.

    DVDs (and Cinemas) do have this with Dolby Digital - Cinemas have a defined setup, and all films are supposed to be mixed in a room with this setup also. DVDs have the "Dialnorm" parameter, which sets the amount of attenuation applied to the output, so that the speech elements should always be about the same volume (between DVDs). This system has been half implemented by some broadcasters.

    The new standards (ATSC & EBU) specify an integrated loudness over the whole broadcast which all programs should conform to, measured on a meter that takes into account our perception of loudness. For shorter programs e.g commercials, there is also a peak loudness maximum that cannot be exceeded. In theory, all programs should have the same overall loudness, and the adverts should be about the same as the program. There is little point in dynamically compressing the audio too much, since the result will still need to be level shifted to provide the same integrated level, so all that compression will achieve is to take away the dynamics of the audio, making it sound flat.

    Several broadcasters have already implemented this in the US, the EBU rules come into effect next year, most of us who do broadcast sound are working towards compliance now for programs.

  38. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    I find the ads useful!

    The presence of ads on a TV channel is a reliable indicator that the surrounding programme content is rubbish. No doubt the motto of the commercial channel programme-makers is "if they'll put up with the ads, they'll put up with anything".

    This is especially true of ads for hair and skin care products. Even more especially the seasonal perfume ads that invariably feature mentally-challenged people who think glowering makes them look sexy.

    From time to time there are potentially interesting factual programmes, but they are usually ruined by the way they are obliged to re-cap everything whenever they return from an ad break.

    1. Vic

      > they are usually ruined by the way they are obliged to re-cap everything

      Try watching that sort of content on a channel that doesn't carry ads. It's ... odd.

      Vic.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this still a problem?

    Sorry I had no idea. see I use the remote to mute all adverts. It's only a pity that I can't mute the screen.

    Which is why I watch most of my TV from Sky+ and 30x through all the many, many, many, many ,many,many advert breaks.

  40. James O'Brien
    Joke

    sadly

    When it comes to infomercials I actually enjoy them. Ron popiel always comes out looking like he just smoked a couple 8 balls just before the show. granted they are old now but the idiots they have in them make for some funny tv.

  41. My backside

    More likely...

    Wicker, however, withdrew his support in 2010, stating that "... the television industry has been moving in the right direction on commercial advertising audio volume. Therefore, I do not believe government intervention is necessary at this time."

    More likely, he was the recipient of a "generous" political contribution from the Advertisers' PAC (Political Action Committee for you Brits). Meaning: he's been bought and paid for like all the rest of the Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress.

  42. Potemkine Silver badge

    "Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas rose to speak in opposition, providing an example of his party's antipathy to government regulation" - Or rather is party's simpathy towards companies at the expense of citizens. Rather protecting business interests than citizens' health, eh, who pay the most?

    What we call western democracies are in fact oligarchies, "societies in which wealth is the criterion of merit and the wealthy are in control". 'We, the people' was a dream, now it's a joke.

  43. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    What's that? There are people around who watch the adverts? Wow!

    1. Vic

      > There are people around who watch the adverts?

      I do.

      Quite often, they're better than the surrounding programme. That's the point at which I realise how handy the "off" button can be...

      Vic.

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        I always thought that when watching live TV the ad break was there for making coffee, urinating and the like.

        But how many people watch live TV these days? The beauty of a PVR is that you can watch TV at a time that suits you rather than that suits the TV station and the advertisers. If I don't record TV I pause a program at the start, go and do other stuff (you know, crapping, making coffee, etc.) and then hit play when the program has already been running for a few minutes. This allows me to skip the adverts and other time wasting dross like recaps and opening titles.

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