Senate votes to lower TV ads’ volume

Associated Press / October 1, 2010

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WASHINGTON — Bills to turn down the volume on loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for the remote controls looks destined to become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

The House has passed a similar measure.

Before the plan can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.

The television shows and ads come from a variety of sources, from local businesses to syndicators. Managing the transition between programs and ads without spoiling the artistic intent of the producers poses technical challenges and may require TV broadcasters to purchase new equipment.

To address the issue, an industry organization recently produced guidelines on how to process, measure, and transmit audio in a uniform way.