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4K : tout le monde en veut, sauf les télés

4K : tout le monde en veut, sauf les télés | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

La 4 K (ou Ultra H-D), aujourd'hui, en résumé : 

Effet waouh incontestable ! Cette fois, c'est l'Asie qui mène la danse ! Chine en tête Les fabricants d'écrans sont prêts. Hollywood, les grandes plates-formes de vidéo en ligne, et le public, aussi !   Mais les TV, échaudées par la 3D, restent prudentes 

Sony a profité de l'édition 2014 du MIPCom cette semaine à Cannes pour faire le point, lors d'un cycle de conférences et de projections, d'une année riche en productions Ultra HD expérimentales sur tous les continents.


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ABR streaming needs 5.1 Surround Sound

ABR streaming needs 5.1 Surround Sound | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

As more Pay TV content is delivered as streaming video to the television, so the requirements for improved audio become more obvious. If operators want consumers to move seamlessly between their broadcast and IP services within their UI environment, like when they are watching VOD on hybrid STBs, they need to avoid a sudden loss of quality from, for example, 5.1 Surround Sound to simple stereo.

Raising the streaming Quality of Experience (QoE) to match that of broadcast delivery encompasses many challenges. We need subtitling and audio description to become the norm, and trick-play functions to match a local PVR for content delivered from the cloud. There are high hopes that improved compression and CDN technologies will deliver broadcast-standard picture quality and reliability at some point.


Via Nicolas Weil
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Nicolas Weil's curator insight, May 16, 2013 4:45 PM

Good thing but isn't it a niche market in terms of equipment rate ?

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Advertisers Need Help More Than Ever Before

Advertisers Need Help More Than Ever Before | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

Peter Thorwarth, Founder of Better Group US

peter@betteradresults.com

For a FREE,NO-OBLIGATION AD REVIEW, visit http://betteradresults.com

 

As a person who has focused his attention on advertising for over 30 years, two current trends continue to prevent many companies from getting better ad results…

 

1) TV AD costs remain surprisingly high, especially considering how few people actually watch TV commercials. 

 

As an example, why should any firm pay $230,000 for 30 seconds on NBC’s “The Voice”, when there are many better ways to advertise or use that money? 

 

The typical commercial break these days is 6-8 spots long, with the addition of network and local station promos, news teasers etc.  CBS acknowledges that 50% OF THEIR NETWORK’S VIEWERS FAST FORWARD through those commercials.

 

The problem is worse than that.  Add to that the many people who…

 

-          Change the channel (the average US home has 188 other channels to visit)

-          Leave for a snack or bathroom break (common now, because there are fewer breaks between shows)

-          Talk, about the show or other matters

-          Turn to their smartphones or tablets

 

DVR penetration in the U.S. now stands at 65%.  Those homes have no interest in wasting time on ads, when they can zoom ahead to the show itself.  If they are stepping away for a minute, they mute the sound.

 

Dish TV lets its customers automatically skip through commercials.  (Its odd networks allow them to do that.)

 

Putting it all together, some say fewer than 15% of the "viewers" ARE PAYING ANY ATTENTION to each ad.  Which is bad news for the companies paying so much to produce and air them. 

 

Perhaps a consortium of TV advertisers should be formed to lobby the networks for lower rates.  But don’t count on ad agencies to start or support that effort, because a major part of their income is a percentage of the dollar amounts they spend (often structured as a 15% discount). The more money firms spend, the more the agencies make.  The companies who actually pay the bills, from Ford and Budweiser down to local restaurants and car dealers, should join together and demand major rate decreases.

 

ONLINE TV watching is growing, but it is not a very effective advertising medium.  Ad Age recently wrote “A streaming episode of Food Fighters on NBC.com recently began with a 30-second spot for Verizon and threaded in commercials for Bank of America, Fiat, Amazon, Microsoft, the movie ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ Ford, Pristiq, Subaru, Hotels.com, Old El Paso, Straight Talk Wireless, Bon Appetit Pizza, Total Wireless, Lyrica, Verizon again and other NBC programming.” 

 

That is a lot of ads!  Computer, tablet and smartphone users are trying to avoid commercials, as shown by the incredible success of ad blocking apps.  Don’t expect them to watch ads, because all they have to do is click on other tabs in their browser while the online TV ads play.

 

2) Many ads in a variety of media are a waste of money, because they don’t communicate well.

 

According to various studies, we are exposed to as many as 6,000 advertising messages a day.  Thanks to consumer technology, the pace of everything is faster than ever and the entertainment options available have skyrocketed.

 

In such a whirlwind environment, most ads should focus on GETTING TO THE POINT.  Consider IKEA.  Its sales of $36 billion / year make it the top furniture seller in the world.  Watch its ads at ispot.tv.  They make their points directly and effectively.  Their print ads are just as good.

 

At the other end of the spectrum are ads that are all style and no message.  Clients should remind their ad agencies: THE GOAL IS TO INCREASE SALES, NOT VIE FOR AWARDS (Addys and others).  Don’t spend 29 seconds being clever and 1 second with the company name or product. In this busy, busy world, should viewers be expected to pay close attention all the way to the end of TV spot? 

 

Some RADIO ADS use the same foolish structure, with 58 seconds of content that is meant to be funny or descriptive of what the store, restaurant etc offers, followed by just two seconds with the store’s location.  Listeners who miss those two seconds won’t be coming to the store, because they don’t know where it is.  (This may be a moot point, because so many radio listeners “hit the button” as soon as ads start, fearful that a loud man is going to yell at them about incredible deals on new cars, followed by a voice zooming through the fine print at 90 miles a minute.)

 

Many PRINT ADS fail for similar reasons.  Should readers have to search a print ad to figure out who is selling what and how to buy that product or service? 

 

Look through your local magazine.  You will find at least one full-page ad for a restaurant, casino or resort that features beautiful photography and lush copy…but nothing about where it is located.That is not a good way to bring in new customers.  Or you’ll see hospital ads with absurdly long stories about one family, doctor or patient, and the hospital’s name and logo will be in tiny type that is easy to overlook.  In truth, the hospital’s name is the most important part of the ad.  Why did their agency ignore the fact that people are leafing through the magazine pages, not reading long-winded ads?  Again, maybe it was too much focus on winning awards and too little on being effective.

 

BILLBOARDS have under seven seconds before each car passes.  The best of them are eye-catching, have large print and a simple message.  Every day you pass others with too much text, puzzling messages or other flaws.

 

For all media (including online), companies should seek input from experienced outsiders.  The ad agencies and in-house ad people are too partial to their own work to ever say “The ads we made are not especially good.”  Outside consultants like Better Group can inexpensively review ads and report back what flaws they spot.  Clients can then demand changes to the creative and that will lead to better ad results.

 

SUMMARY:  In this fast-paced world, firms should INSIST on getting their money’s worth from their ad budget. 

 

1) TV ads should be priced lower.  Advertisers should unite to make this happen.

2) Ads in all media should focus on communicating clearly and effectively, in these fast-paced times.

3) Ad agencies and in-house ad people cannot be objective about their own work.

 

For a FREE, NO OBLIGATION AD REVIEW, visit http://BETTERADRESULTS.COM

Better Group US  peter@betteradresults.com


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“Brands need to focus more on being useful than on being interesting”

“You build loyalty through useful experiences, not 30-second tv commercials.

Over the last few years there have been many loud proclamations, peppered with alarming statistics, surrounding the death of brand loyalty. Only one in four Americans say they are brand loyal according to a recent study by Ernst & Young, something many academics blame on the Internet. As it turns out, loyalty isn’t dead, but digital has fundamentally redefined what it means. So, what does this mean? This has profound implications

on how you communicate with consumers—and how you spend your advertising budget.

 

As discussed in Chapter 2, The Digital Experience Economy, people are going out of their way to avoid advertising and, instead, are looking to brands to make their lives better, particularly via digital solutions.”

 

http://www.razorfish.com/binaries/content/assets/ideas/digitaldopaminereport2015.pdf

 


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No More Loud Commercials

No More Loud Commercials | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

Here's a scenario we're all familiar with... you're watching a TV show, and an extra-loud commercial breaks in sending you diving for the remote to turn the volume down. Thankfully, these loud commercials are now against the law. The FCC this week adopted its rules implementing the CALM Act to

 

 


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The media revolution that isn’t being televised | Larry Downes | WashPost.com

The media revolution that isn’t being televised | Larry Downes | WashPost.com | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

Millennials are driving transformation of the paid video market, accelerating a wave of disruptive innovation that pre-dates the Internet.

That’s a message that sounded loud and clear last week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where incumbents and start-ups alike announced dramatic new products and services, and where executives from leading incumbents competed to predict the most radical future for the content market, long characterized by subscribers paying for bundles of licensed channels they watch at home.

The theme emerged early on in the show with Dish Network’s announcement of SlingTV, an Internet-based alternative to traditional cable and satellite television service — including Dish’s own.

For an initial price of $20 per month, SlingTV subscribers will have access over a dozen channels, including Disney properties and other channels popular with young adults, such as Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. But the big get for SlingTV is Disney’s ESPN, whose sports programs are currently only available online to existing pay TV subscribers.

Similar services, have been announced by both Sony and Verizon. The Sony product, available through PlayStation consoles, will include more channels, but will also cost significantly more.

Dish’s announcement created significant buzz at CES, garnering SlingTV three awards in Engadget’s annual Best of CES contest, including the top Best of the Best prize.

While SlingTV may be the beginning of the end of the traditional pay TV model, it is by no means the fatal blow. The service will allow users to access live programming, including commercials, using their own Internet connection, and stream content to a variety of devices including Xbox One, Amazon Fire, and Android tablets. But the service is limited to one stream at a time, and does not include DVR or other recording features.

It is also not the first product from an existing provider to challenge the industry’s conventional wisdom. Over the last decade, improvements by ISPs in Internet infrastructure have made it more practical to watch streamed high-definition programming on wired and mobile devices. New services have exploded, many with the active participation of the content and access providers–who, after all, are also the largest ISPs.

 

Click headline to read more--


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The CALM: Act 2, Scene 2 – Tools of the Tirade

The CALM:  Act 2, Scene 2 – Tools of the Tirade | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it
Don’t Touch That Dial!
In my last article, I explored the reasoning behind screaming commercials, albeit a faulty premise: Loud Ads Grab The Listeners’ Attention.

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FCC Quiets 'Loud Commercials' on TV

FCC Quiets 'Loud Commercials' on TV | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

The FCC turns down the volume on 'loud commercials' and will begin to regulate how their sound compares to regular programming this time next year.


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Questions Every Marketer Should Ask Their Music Provider - TreBrand

Questions Every Marketer Should Ask Their Music Provider - TreBrand | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it
For me, audio branding is about creating a great strategy around using music and sound for your business. It needs to be done in a way that will help your brand become more identifiable to your target audience.

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Telestream Takes Giant Leap Forward in Video Transcoding Speed and Quality - August 29, 2012 - Telestream Press Release

Lightspeed Server adds GPU accelerated transcoding, increasing speed and quality for hundreds of file formats; Transcode Multiscreen automates complete workflow for OTT, tablet and mobile content preparation and deliveryNevada City, Calif., August 29, 2012 – Telestream® today announced availability of two new products and a major Version 4.0 release for its award-winning family of Vantage® video transcoding and workflow automation products. The new GPU-accelerated Lightspeed™ Server enables blazing-fast video processing and H.264 encoding for all Vantage transcode solutions. Transcode Multiscreen accelerates multi-bitrate H.264 transcoding and packaging for multiscreen video delivery, including OTT, tablets, and mobile devices. Vantage now includes market-specific transcoding solutions that can be used standalone or integrated into more extensive Vantage workflow systems to quickly support emerging market needs. In addition, Vantage systems now incorporate loudness control, web captioning, and include integrations with third-party products allowing the creation of tightly integrated, fully automated, intelligent, file-based video workflows.“With this release Vantage takes a giant leap forward in speed and quality while addressing expanding transcoding needs,” said Barbara DeHart, vice president of marketing at Telestream. “Transcode Multiscreen allows content owners and distributors to quickly and efficiently prepare, package, and deliver the highest quality video at the fastest possible speed to any screen. When used with our Transcode Pro and Lightspeed Server products, users have hands-free access to virtually any file format and direct integration with many devices, offering the fastest, most powerful and complete video transcoding solution on a single server.”Transcode Multiscreen and Lightspeed™ Server work together to provide GPU acceleration of video processing and H.264 encoding and to enable blazing-fast speeds. Support for Apple HLS, Adobe® HTTP Dynamic Streaming, Microsoft IIS Smooth Streaming, MPEG-DASH and MP4 formats is included. Transcode Multiscreen automates the entire process of source file decoding, parallelized H.264 encoding, creation of adaptive bit rate packages with encryption, archiving, delivery and notification. New with Version 4.0, Vantage Transcode products can leverage Lightspeed™ Server to provide GPU-accelerated transcoding and video processing across hundreds of formats, with pristine 16-bit 4:4:4:4 YUV image quality, support for the x264 codec for high-quality H.264 transcoding, vastly improved up/down/cross conversion and deinterlacing, plus support for new file formats.Now available, Vantage 4.0 workflow automation features include new audio loudness measurement and correction capabilities, providing compliance with CALM Act, Dolby® Dialog Intelligence, EBU R 128, and ITU-R BS.1770-2 specifications. Additional integrations with professional video systems allow automation of more complete file-based video workflows, including Avid, Civolution, Grass Valley, Harris, Irdeto, Nielsen, Omneon, Screen and more. A new advanced Avid option enables encoding and delivery to Avid Interplay with metadata. New integration with Civolution embeds digital forensic watermarking into any asset. A new Web-based Workflow Portal enables metadata entry, review and approval from any Mac or PC browser, improved frame accurate proxy editing, plus thumbnail and list views.“We look forward to incorporating Vantage 4.0 into our six-node Vantage network,” said Darren Munro, systems architecture engineer at Supersport, a leading pay-TV broadcaster in Africa. “Providing control and interaction from any Mac or PC Web portal will allow our compliance editors to have full access to Vantage from any workstation.”Vantage 4.0 is now available from Telestream’s worldwide network of direct sales and distributors. More information about Telestream and Vantage products is available at www.telestream.net.


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Audio Meters are Misleading

Audio Notes: Tim Carroll

DTV and 'The Annoyingly Loud Commercial Problem'

Last time we investigated how audio metadata is created and distributed, and what happens if the values are wrong or missing. We also discovered that the Dolby Digital (AC-3) system can potentially be "tricked" into allowing overly loud program material to be delivered to consumers. This led us into the topic for this issue: Loudness, or as it is more commonly known: "the annoyingly loud commercial problem." This is such an important issue that back in the 1960s the FCC studied it and made it illegal to broadcast irritatingly loud commercials (unfortunately, they made no such rules for irritating content). Have things gotten better? What will happen with DTV? Let's start by figuring out how to measure this often disagreed-upon-thing called loudness.

 

COMMON METERS

 

VU, or Voltage Unit meters, and PPM, or Peak Program Meters, are both very common measuring devices found on modern audio equipment. The VU meter traces back to the 1930s, well before most of us made that fateful choice of a career in broadcasting. PPM has also been around for quite some time and although more popular in Europe, has seen its use increase worldwide since the introduction of digital technologies.

Although they are both common and useful, both these devices were designed to measure and display voltages and do not give an accurate measurement of program loudness. The reason for this is quite simple: Loudness is a subjective quantity, and VU and PPM meters are objective voltage-measuring devices. This means that if two programs are measured with a VU or PPM meter (or even a combination of the two) and adjusted for equal readings, it is quite likely that they will still differ in perceived loudness. What we need is a way to accurately describe a quantity that can be perceived but not directly measured.

 

SUBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT METHODS

 

Back in the 1960's, Emil Torick, Bronwyn Jones, and colleagues at CBS Laboratories developed a loudness meter modeled after human hearing. Simply put, the meter divides the audio into seven bands, weights the gain of each band to match the so-called equal loudness curve of the ear, averages each band with a given time constant, sums the averages, then averages the total again with a time constant about 13 times longer than the first. The resulting signal is applied to a display with an instantaneous response. Okay, maybe not so simple, but the CBS meter was found to agree with listeners within 2 dB (although listeners disagreed among themselves by as much as 4 dB when judging the loudness of a given piece of audio).

This was one of the first truly successful attempts to measure loudness accurately and helped solve the problem. Unfortunately CBS Laboratories does not exist anymore and there are very few CBS loudness meters in existence today, so the use of this measurement technique has become rare. One exception is that a few broadcast audio processor manufacturers use an algorithm developed from the CBS loudness meter to combat the "loud ad" problem. When the algorithm detects that audio would sound too loud to a listener, it causes gain reduction thereby eliminating the problem.

 

Another method is called Equivalent Loudness, or Leq(A), where the "A" represents A-weighting. Leq(A) can be defined as: "The level of a constant sound, which in a given time period has the same energy as a time-varying sound." Leq(A) is the method that is specified by the ATSC for measuring dialnorm, and until recently relied on the use of some rather complex meters, conversion tables and a bunch of luck to get the correct result. This complexity did not lend itself well to solving loudness problems.

Thankfully, Dolby Laboratories recognized that a simpler method was necessary if the proper setting of dialnorm was ever to be achieved and developed the LM-100, which was shown at NAB2002. The device displays both the Leq(A) value and the corresponding dialnorm value and happily requires no conversion charts!

 

CAUSES OF LOUDNESS PROBLEMS

 

The major cause of loudness problems then is probably the use of the wrong meter. As we discussed earlier, VU and PPM meters only measure voltage and because of their very nature cannot be used to adjust program loudness; however, most facilities still rely on them to adjust both the level and the loudness of programs. This inevitably leads to content that looks fine on the meters but can cause viewer complaints when broadcast.

Another cause of loudness problems is programming with mismatched dynamic ranges. Programs that have a large variation between the softest and loudest sounds (i.e., have a large dynamic range) are difficult to match to other programs. For modern digital media, dynamic range can theoretically be in excess of 90 to 100 dB. If you wish to integrate a program with such a wide dynamic range, what section do you measure when trying to gauge loudness? Do you line up the crickets of one movie with the cannon shots of another? This is probably not a good idea and will give predictable (and irritating) results. The general answer would be to measure and line up the "anchors" aka the dialogue of both films, assuming of course there is dialogue.

Modern commercials, on the other hand, intentionally have little dynamic range in an effort to keep the dialogue or the message as clear and present as possible - maybe sometimes too clear and too present! Restricting dynamic range lowers the peak-to-average ratio of the audio and allows a given program to have increased loudness without causing overloads like you would have if you adjusted for crickets and got cannons. The only drawback to restricting dynamic range is that, well, the dynamic range is restricted, and this tends to remove some of the fun of cannon shots.

 

SOLUTIONS FOR LOUDNESS PROBLEMS

 

There are several options for solving loudness problems, and they range from measuring and adjusting to dynamic range control. With meters such as the LM-100, it is possible to check all programming that will be carried via Dolby Digital (AC-3) and adjust its dialnorm value in the audio metadata. This will allow the proper attenuation to be applied in the consumer decoder, and all programs will be reproduced with equal dialogue loudness. However, as we discussed above, programs that have a large dynamic range may be problematic for this method.

Another approach is to use an audio dynamic range processor to narrow the range between the softest and loudest sounds. Doing so provides for much easier loudness matching of one program to the next, and in fact one broadcast signal to the next. These devices from Orban and others are commonly found in analog broadcast facilities but have not yet made their way into DTV facilities. This is partly due to the built-in dynamic range control (DRC) system contained within Dolby Digital (AC-3) and partly due to the need to deal with up to 5.1 channels of audio. As I found out in some late-night experiments, it is not possible to just use three two-channel processors as it causes strange things to happen to the soundfield as well as making for some very bad downmixes. Also, remember that unlike DRC where viewers have the choice of ignoring the dynamic range control metadata and hearing full dynamics, once the dynamic range of the audio has been reduced by an audio processor prior to the Dolby Digital (AC-3) encoder, it cannot be undone.

In summary, loudness problems have plagued television for many years and will surely cause some problems with DTV as well. It would seem that the Dolby Digital (AC-3) system alone might not be enough, but severe restriction of dynamic range is certainly not the answer. I believe the best answer is a combination of carefully measuring program loudness using a meter based on Leq(A), setting dialnorm properly if possible, and judicious use of dynamic range processors that are designed to work in combination with audio metadata. These devices should pay attention to the audio and the metadata and process only when they need to, such as when dialnorm is mistakenly or purposefully set wrong. This will keep viewers happy, keep the FCC happy, and preserve the benefits of DRC for those of us who just cannot get enough of those full-throttle cannon shots.

Next time we will look at the second-largest complaint with television audio, namely audio/video synchronization better known as lip-sync. We will look at some of the causes, but also discuss some new and inexpensive tools that should make lip-sync error improve dramatically.

Thanks for your continued support and the steady flow of e-mails. I would like to thank Jeffrey Riedmiller of Dolby Laboratories whose expertise with loudness issues both helped with this article and thankfully led the development of the LM-100.

 

Tim Carroll is a consultant based in New York City. He is currently the chairman of the audio section of the Systems Evaluation Working Group of the ATSC, and chairs the IEEE G.2.1.2 Audio Measurement subcommittee. In his copious spare time, he enjoys mowing his lawn and answering e-mail sent to him at: tjcarroll@ieee.org. 


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FCC: Operators Should Keep CALM and Carry On

FCC: Operators Should Keep CALM and Carry On | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it
Remember when TV commercials seemed to always be louder than the programming that they ran with? It wasn't just the imagination at work-typically they were, and it was a consumer dissatisfaction trigger for many. The FCC's Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act is meant to eliminate the issue-but hasn't completely. Now, the Commission has approved a technical change that could further reduce the volume of the ads.

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Audio Meters Are Misleading

 

Audio Notes: Tim Carroll

DTV and 'The Annoyingly Loud Commercial Problem'

Last time we investigated how audio metadata is created and distributed, and what happens if the values are wrong or missing. We also discovered that the Dolby Digital (AC-3) system can potentially be "tricked" into allowing overly loud program material to be delivered to consumers. This led us into the topic for this issue: Loudness, or as it is more commonly known: "the annoyingly loud commercial problem." This is such an important issue that back in the 1960s the FCC studied it and made it illegal to broadcast irritatingly loud commercials (unfortunately, they made no such rules for irritating content). Have things gotten better? What will happen with DTV? Let's start by figuring out how to measure this often disagreed-upon-thing called loudness.

 

COMMON METERS

 

VU, or Voltage Unit meters, and PPM, or Peak Program Meters, are both very common measuring devices found on modern audio equipment. The VU meter traces back to the 1930s, well before most of us made that fateful choice of a career in broadcasting. PPM has also been around for quite some time and although more popular in Europe, has seen its use increase worldwide since the introduction of digital technologies.

Although they are both common and useful, both these devices were designed to measure and display voltages and do not give an accurate measurement of program loudness. The reason for this is quite simple: Loudness is a subjective quantity, and VU and PPM meters are objective voltage-measuring devices. This means that if two programs are measured with a VU or PPM meter (or even a combination of the two) and adjusted for equal readings, it is quite likely that they will still differ in perceived loudness. What we need is a way to accurately describe a quantity that can be perceived but not directly measured.

 

SUBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT METHODS

 

Back in the 1960's, Emil Torick, Bronwyn Jones, and colleagues at CBS Laboratories developed a loudness meter modeled after human hearing. Simply put, the meter divides the audio into seven bands, weights the gain of each band to match the so-called equal loudness curve of the ear, averages each band with a given time constant, sums the averages, then averages the total again with a time constant about 13 times longer than the first. The resulting signal is applied to a display with an instantaneous response. Okay, maybe not so simple, but the CBS meter was found to agree with listeners within 2 dB (although listeners disagreed among themselves by as much as 4 dB when judging the loudness of a given piece of audio).

This was one of the first truly successful attempts to measure loudness accurately and helped solve the problem. Unfortunately CBS Laboratories does not exist anymore and there are very few CBS loudness meters in existence today, so the use of this measurement technique has become rare. One exception is that a few broadcast audio processor manufacturers use an algorithm developed from the CBS loudness meter to combat the "loud ad" problem. When the algorithm detects that audio would sound too loud to a listener, it causes gain reduction thereby eliminating the problem.

 

Another method is called Equivalent Loudness, or Leq(A), where the "A" represents A-weighting. Leq(A) can be defined as: "The level of a constant sound, which in a given time period has the same energy as a time-varying sound." Leq(A) is the method that is specified by the ATSC for measuring dialnorm, and until recently relied on the use of some rather complex meters, conversion tables and a bunch of luck to get the correct result. This complexity did not lend itself well to solving loudness problems.

Thankfully, Dolby Laboratories recognized that a simpler method was necessary if the proper setting of dialnorm was ever to be achieved and developed the LM-100, which was shown at NAB2002. The device displays both the Leq(A) value and the corresponding dialnorm value and happily requires no conversion charts!

 

CAUSES OF LOUDNESS PROBLEMS

 

The major cause of loudness problems then is probably the use of the wrong meter. As we discussed earlier, VU and PPM meters only measure voltage and because of their very nature cannot be used to adjust program loudness; however, most facilities still rely on them to adjust both the level and the loudness of programs. This inevitably leads to content that looks fine on the meters but can cause viewer complaints when broadcast.

Another cause of loudness problems is programming with mismatched dynamic ranges. Programs that have a large variation between the softest and loudest sounds (i.e., have a large dynamic range) are difficult to match to other programs. For modern digital media, dynamic range can theoretically be in excess of 90 to 100 dB. If you wish to integrate a program with such a wide dynamic range, what section do you measure when trying to gauge loudness? Do you line up the crickets of one movie with the cannon shots of another? This is probably not a good idea and will give predictable (and irritating) results. The general answer would be to measure and line up the "anchors" aka the dialogue of both films, assuming of course there is dialogue.

Modern commercials, on the other hand, intentionally have little dynamic range in an effort to keep the dialogue or the message as clear and present as possible - maybe sometimes too clear and too present! Restricting dynamic range lowers the peak-to-average ratio of the audio and allows a given program to have increased loudness without causing overloads like you would have if you adjusted for crickets and got cannons. The only drawback to restricting dynamic range is that, well, the dynamic range is restricted, and this tends to remove some of the fun of cannon shots.

 

SOLUTIONS FOR LOUDNESS PROBLEMS

 

There are several options for solving loudness problems, and they range from measuring and adjusting to dynamic range control. With meters such as the LM-100, it is possible to check all programming that will be carried via Dolby Digital (AC-3) and adjust its dialnorm value in the audio metadata. This will allow the proper attenuation to be applied in the consumer decoder, and all programs will be reproduced with equal dialogue loudness. However, as we discussed above, programs that have a large dynamic range may be problematic for this method.

Another approach is to use an audio dynamic range processor to narrow the range between the softest and loudest sounds. Doing so provides for much easier loudness matching of one program to the next, and in fact one broadcast signal to the next. These devices from Orban and others are commonly found in analog broadcast facilities but have not yet made their way into DTV facilities. This is partly due to the built-in dynamic range control (DRC) system contained within Dolby Digital (AC-3) and partly due to the need to deal with up to 5.1 channels of audio. As I found out in some late-night experiments, it is not possible to just use three two-channel processors as it causes strange things to happen to the soundfield as well as making for some very bad downmixes. Also, remember that unlike DRC where viewers have the choice of ignoring the dynamic range control metadata and hearing full dynamics, once the dynamic range of the audio has been reduced by an audio processor prior to the Dolby Digital (AC-3) encoder, it cannot be undone.

In summary, loudness problems have plagued television for many years and will surely cause some problems with DTV as well. It would seem that the Dolby Digital (AC-3) system alone might not be enough, but severe restriction of dynamic range is certainly not the answer. I believe the best answer is a combination of carefully measuring program loudness using a meter based on Leq(A), setting dialnorm properly if possible, and judicious use of dynamic range processors that are designed to work in combination with audio metadata. These devices should pay attention to the audio and the metadata and process only when they need to, such as when dialnorm is mistakenly or purposefully set wrong. This will keep viewers happy, keep the FCC happy, and preserve the benefits of DRC for those of us who just cannot get enough of those full-throttle cannon shots.

Next time we will look at the second-largest complaint with television audio, namely audio/video synchronization better known as lip-sync. We will look at some of the causes, but also discuss some new and inexpensive tools that should make lip-sync error improve dramatically.

Thanks for your continued support and the steady flow of e-mails. I would like to thank Jeffrey Riedmiller of Dolby Laboratories whose expertise with loudness issues both helped with this article and thankfully led the development of the LM-100.

 

Tim Carroll is a consultant based in New York City. He is currently the chairman of the audio section of the Systems Evaluation Working Group of the ATSC, and chairs the IEEE G.2.1.2 Audio Measurement subcommittee. In his copious spare time, he enjoys mowing his lawn and answering e-mail sent to him at: tjcarroll@ieee.org.

 


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Scalable Media Workflows in the Cloud

This session will cover the approaches for a cloud-based workflow: media ingest, storage, processing and delivery scenarios on the AWS cloud. We will cover solutions for high speed file transfer, cloud-based transcoding, tiered storage, content processing, application deployment and global low-latency delivery, as well as the orchestration and management of the entire media workflow.


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This Arduino 'Loudness Guard' Caps Your TV's Volume to Banish Annoyingly Loud Commercials « Hacks, Mods & Circuitry

This Arduino 'Loudness Guard' Caps Your TV's Volume to Banish Annoyingly Loud Commercials « Hacks, Mods & Circuitry | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it
Have you ever fallen asleep watching television only to be rudely awoken by one of those obnoxious commercials that randomly play three times as loud as everything else?

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Quieter TV commercials bring loud praise

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When it comes to commercials, Life Inc. readers seem to prefer the sound of silence.

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Loud Commercials Are Now Against the Law

Loud Commercials Are Now Against the Law | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

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Leona Ungerer's curator insight, December 14, 2012 4:46 AM

"Those annoying ear-splitting commercials that come out of nowhere are now officially against the law. The rules governing implementation of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM) Act went into effect today requiring broadcasters, cable operators, satellite services and other video distributors to keep the volume level of commercials consistent with regular TV programming."

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Let TV Promos Stay Loud, Say Cable Companies

promotions for tv shows aren't really ads and shouldn't be covered by new rules on how loud commercials can be, cable companies have told regulators.

 

Promotions for TV shows aren't really advertisements and should be exempt from pending U.S. limits on how loud ads can be, cable distributors led by Comcast have told regulators.

The request by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association drew an objection yesterday from Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat who wrote the noise-limiting law underlying rules to take effect in December. Those rules will mean that commercials can't be louder than surrounding programming.

 

The cable trade group seeks to "exclude as many advertisements as possible" from the rules, Ms. Eshoo said in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat who joined the agency's 4-0 vote last year for rules.

Consumers won't see why ads for TV shows should be any louder than ads for packaged goods and cars, Ms. Eshoo suggested in the letter. "The distinction between promotional materials and other forms of advertising would not be readily apparent to a consumer," she wrote.

But the FCC was mistaken in concluding that promotions are advertisements when it wrote the rule last year, the cable association said in its filing on Aug. 8. Commercials are transmitted in exchange for payment and promotions aren't, the group said.

Complying with the regulations would place burdens on networks that don't carry commercials, according to the filing.

 

The rules were approved by the FCC last December, to take effect a year later.

Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the trade group, declined to comment beyond the filing. The organization represents largest U.S. cable company Comcast, No. 2 Time Warner Cable and New York-area provider Cablevision Systems.

 

Neil Grace, a spokesman for the FCC, declined to comment.


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The price of poor listening

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The problem is that everyone wants to be heard first. Think about it: When people are striving to be heard and understood first, it's pretty hard for listening to occur.

Poor listening leads to assumptions and misunderstandings. These lead to errors, ineffective decisions, and/or costly mistakes. On a personal level, poor listening leads to hurt feelings and a loss of team cohesion. This deteriorates trust and weakens communication even further.

By connecting the dots, you can see that poor listening leads to lower profits.

The definition of listening
Hearing is one thing, listening is another. Before we continue, let's look at some definitions:

Hearing: The act of perceiving a sound by ear
Listening: Truly trying to understand another person's point of view

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UI Sound has the ability to instantly draw your attention, or simply add a subtle layer of information to a UI interaction - either alerting you to something important,...

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Dolby flies flag of ABR-friendly audio

Dolby flies flag of ABR-friendly audio | Sounds Virtual | Scoop.it

Audio sometimes gets lost in the noise of video technology. But what more quickly degrades a viewer’s quality of experience (QoE) than a voice not synchronized with picture or loudness levels that fluctuate wildly between channels? The bottom line upfront: Pay TV operators neglect audio at the peril of losing both eyes and ears of their customers.

 

One company that agreed with the need for an efficient solution and went through this process of integrating with Dolby is RGB Networks. The driver from RGB’s perspective was ABR streaming to the set-top box, which has audio requirements higher than second-screen devices.

 

Ramin Farassat, RGB Vice President of Product Marketing and Business Development, said this recent enhancement of Dolby’s technology allows for stereo to run at a low bit rate, and then as network conditions improve, it jumps to 5.1. “If I were doing it with today’s technology, there’s a break,” he said. “With Dolby, it’s a seamless switch.”


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On The Media - TURNING DOWN LOUD COMMERCIALS

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In 2010, Congress passed the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act, also known as the CALM Act, which would keep television commercials from being louder than the programs they sponsor. The law finally went into effect last week.

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Seth Capo's curator insight, December 27, 2012 10:40 PM

It's about time for some peace and quiet . . . now that I only watch commercials during live sporting events and am able to skip the rest.

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FCC: Fewer loud commercial complaints - The Hill (blog)

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FCC: Fewer loud commercial complaints
The Hill (blog)
The FCC enforces the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act, which requires TV commercials be the same average volume as regular programming.

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