Why does the volume on the TV keep changing on its own?

When switching between TV programs and advertisements, the volume often changes. Although there is actually a regulation that is supposed to prevent this, not all broadcasters adhere to it. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON explains why the volume isn’t consistent and what to do about it.

Do you know that? When switching to other channels or during commercials, the TV volume suddenly becomes louder or quieter. In these cases, only reaching for the remote control usually helps. Actually, this would not be necessary at all. Because the broadcasters would simply have to adhere to the technical regulation EBU (European Broadcasting Union) R 128 . This recommendation has existed in Germany since 2012, which aims to achieve a uniform volume for television. In many other countries it was already in effect.

Unfortunately only a recommendation and not an obligation for TV manufacturers

” With the implementation, the loudness impression perceived by the listener should remain almost the same over the entire course of the program in order to avoid constant readjustment of the volume, ” explains Jürgen Ripperger from the Association of Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE).  The problem: The standardization of the audio control  of radio and television programs with the EBU R 128 is only a recommendation . Therefore, not all broadcasters adhere to this technical set of rules. In general, the volume on the television is largely determined by the television broadcaster or the respective TV program.

In the EBU R 128 set of rules it is stated that “the resulting loudness inconsistencies between programs and channels are the cause of most of the complaints of viewers / listeners ” . Therefore, a standardization of the volume should solve this problem. The target value of the program loudness should be normalized to -23.0 LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale). The maximum deviation should be one LU (loudness unit, one LU corresponds to one dB). In particular, there is this leeway for more difficult transmissions such as live programs. 

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 “Since the implementation of EBU R 128 is not binding and such a conversion process requires technically complex solutions, it will probably take some time before this recommendation is implemented satisfactorily for all consumers,” says Jürgen Ripperger. The remote control will probably remain the most important utensil for viewers in the future. 

Advertising louder than the program

This also explains another annoying phenomenon: During the commercial break, the sound is suddenly louder than it was during the TV program. “The possible increase in volume, especially during the typical commercial breaks, is due to the fact that it is intended to increase the user’s attention,” says Jürgen Ripperger. D as target: TV viewers p ate not just during the program on. S he understand everything about the advertised product well . This is why commercial breaks are broadcast particularly loudly. 

Providers also use this on the Internet. For example, if you watch a YouTube channel, you also have to endure the commercial breaks, sometimes at a much higher volume.

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You can do this when the TV volume changes

“In such cases, the user only has the option of manually readjusting the volume according to his or her feelings” . You can often set the sound more extensively in the TV set’s menu. For an ideal sound, it is also important to position the television correctly in the room.

Decisive b the estimmen but built speakers, the sound quality. The flatter the TV, the less bass it usually sounds. If you are not convinced by the quality of your device, you can also connect soundbars or speaker systems via the external connections .

Some devices also have the “automatic volume” setting in the sound menu, which can also contribute to an even volume. If you want to buy a new television, it is best to ask the specialist salesperson or look in the data sheet to see whether this function is available.

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