Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

Summary: When you're not fast forwarding through commercials during shows recorded on your DVR, you may have noticed that some pesky ads try to blast into your brain by being 10 decibels louder than the show you're watching. Thanks to the FCC, you'll no longer have to scramble for your remote to quickly turn the volume down.

SHARE:

When you're not fast forwarding through commercials during shows recorded on your DVR, you may have noticed that some pesky ads try to blast into your brain by being 10 decibels louder than the show you're watching. Thanks to the FCC, you'll no longer have to scramble for your remote to quickly turn the volume down.

In what can only be called a Christmas miracle, the commission was actually unanimous (for once) in its support of new rules that will make cable operators and TV stations ensure that commercials are not louder than the show you're watching. The new rules follow Congressional action last year that gave the FCC authority to create the regulations. If you get your service from a smaller cable operator, a loud commercial could slip through, however, because it will be required to make fewer spot checks than the big boys.

The only bad news (except maybe for desperate advertisers) is that the new rules won't go into effect until next December. So we'll have to endure another 12 months of ear-shattering ads, but next year TV viewers will be getting a sweet holiday gift.

[Via The Wall Street Journal]

Topics: Mobility, Government, Government US, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

38 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    I couldn't agree more. It's a miracle. With the exception of live sports I rarely watch programming in its original schedule.
    esadajr
    • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

      @esadajr The word MUTE has been worn off the button on all of my remotes.
      thetwonkey
      • Mine keep breaking off

        @thetwonkey <br><br>Due to overuse. :(
        klumper
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    Finally!
    athynz
    • Amen

      @Pete "athynz" Athens

      Miracles can happen. We finally have proof.
      klumper
  • Verizon does something right

    Since switching to FIOS from DirecTV last year, we have found this to be much less of a problem. We were regularly blasted out of our chairs by ads on DTV. The only thing that does that on FIOS is the "test of the emergency broadcast system" buzzer that comes on around 2am to remind you that you fell asleep during the news.
    Robert Hahn
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    I guess this means I can't watch my Dad slowly fall asleep to a boring movie, only to literally jump out of his chair when it switches to commercials that are a hundred times louder.
    Aerowind
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    By the time the regulation takes effect we will have all forgotten about it passing. Why the 1 year delay?
    Net-Tech_z
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    Not to slam Apple, but their latest iPod Touch commercial definitely qualifies. Yes the tune is kinda catchy and fun, but it is LOUD compared to everything before and after it.
    ZStoner
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    Umm...you mean people actually WATCH tv anymore? Really? I haven't watched regular tv since the whole "digital converter box" fiasco (and the constant obasms that were filling the airwaves at the time). Nope. I've got dvd's I can watch, and an occasional show online. I'm amazed lack of tv share hasn't run more stations into the ground. Society has changed over the last 25 years, and tv is no longer the "necessity" it once was.
    mnottfam@...
  • Ends justifying the means?

    Okay, I hate noisy commercials, but I hate government intrusion into my life even more. Why the heck does the Federal Government think it has the right to determine the noise level of a commercial sent to me a private individual from a private company? The commercials help pay for the free or very cheap (if on cable) program. If the TV producers want to take the risk of offending their customers by making the commercials, why should they not have that right?

    Having the government regulate the wireless spectrum makes some sense, but regulating the content or how the content is delivered is simply another step down the road to totalitarianism.

    This seems like just a simple little intrusion, but what happens when some bureaucrat somewhere decides to make some decision that you don't like, because they think most people will like it. I mean if they can already decide how loud my commercials are, what is to stop them from deciding what commercials, shows, news, etc. that I can see or listen to? I mean most people don't like those extremist on either the left or the right, so wouldn't it make sense to make sure that I don't ever have to be annoyed by them again?
    littlemas2
    • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

      @littlemas2@... .You make some good points but I almost quit watching TV just because the commercials are so loud. I just watch the news and if I find something good on a station I watch it till the first commercial comes on and if it's loud I just shut it off and go do something else. Funny thing is I would actualy watch the commercial if it wasn't so loud.

      In this case I think they did the right thing. And I'm glad except for waiting a year to enjoy TV again. Oh and another thing, I don't buy any products if they have loud commercials.
      Rick Sos
    • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

      littlemas2, they make devices to help regulate the volume for the loud commercials, I doubt you will be able to find one to raise the volume for you.
      steve_m291
    • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

      @littlemas2@... Sure - end all government regulations! No more clean air & water, food that makes us ill or even kills us, drugs unregulated, no more safe cars, or any safe products for that matter! If Ron Paul should get elected (slim chance) he would do everything possible to remove all regulations.
      cdhanks
  • What About Online Streaming?

    It's about time our government puts the will of the people ahead of advertising dollars!

    The one question that I have is whether or not this applies to online streaming (e.g. WatchESPN, Hulu, etc.). Does the FCC have the ability to regulate commercial volume in streaming broadcasts as well?
    cdew
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    Why give them so long? 1 month to implement should be more than enough.
    cmwade1977
    • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

      @cmwade1977 ...Yes I agree 100% One month is even too long but I could handle that. lol.
      Rick Sos
    • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

      @cmwade1977
      They could turn the switch down tomorrow. This is nothing more than volume gouging the customer for as long as they can get away with it.

      Dirty corporate slime
      ScorpioBlue
  • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

    Great idea, but ya gotta wonder how any reasonable consumer might go about proving a violation.... Sure we can submit complaints, but what are the chances the FCC will actually budget any manpower to check out complaints. Looks all political to me.
    Willnott
    • RE: Turn it down! FCC approves new rules to quiet noisy TV commercials

      @Willnott ....The folks at FCC watch TV too so when a couple of them get blown off the couch I think they will go that extra mile just to thank them for ruining a good evening.
      Rick Sos