Lower the volume for loud TV commercials

  • 18 February 2018
  • 10 replies

Userlevel 3
The volume is always louder for television commercials and it's annoying when I'm watching something with infrequent bass and then there is a commercial with a lot of perpetual bass. Can Sonos create a feature to automatically detect commercials and temporarily lower/mute the volume? I live in a condo and my neighbors know when my sub is on. When I'm watching a quite movie, stand up comedy or sports I like to keep my sub on and get intricate rounded lows — this generally doesn't bother my neighbors. Enter intense commercial with music in the backgound — this definitely bothers my neighbors. This feature can fit neatly under the TV Setup tab 🙂

Best answer by Keith N 19 February 2018, 22:55

Hello there, gerard.galasso. Thanks for posting and welcome to the Community. I am happy to forward your request along to the team for consideration and visibility. Thanks for sharing your insight!
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10 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Buy a TiVo. Press D to skip ads. Job done.
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
Hello there, gerard.galasso. Thanks for posting and welcome to the Community. I am happy to forward your request along to the team for consideration and visibility. Thanks for sharing your insight!
So much this! The streaming channels that I use blast the volume of commercials. It would be great if some kind of volume leveling was possible to apply so that my ear drums aren't blown out by loud commercials.
How would the Sonos system be able to know what the commercials are? Or are you suggesting a general "don't deviate from this volume level, no matter what" kind of thing?
I cannot conceive of any way the Playbar etc would know that it was receiving a commercial - it just plays what it receives. A volume limit would just spoil volume changes within programs. Never gonna happen.
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
There is a night mode, did you try it?
I have it always on.
I don't know if it works or not, but you should try it
I would pay money for this!

My understanding is that the optical audio input is a fixed audio signal that doesn’t have a varying volume.

The playbar could normalize that signal so that the commercials can’t jump way higher.

Some TVs do this automatically
I've actually pinged the FCC on occasion about this. There's already a law about the variation between advertisements and programming. It's possible your local station isn't paying attention to that. Worth pinging the station first, before getting involved with the government, though. :)

I recently had an email conversation with an audio engineer at the local CBS station, they weren't, for some reason, sending their 10PM news program out in Dolby Digital, and the stereo signal just sounded extremely odd. It took 2 emails with him, and about 48 hours, and he'd rectified the issue. I've found that often these issues aren't malicious, just an overlooked thing, and can easily be rectified, if you're willing to go that extra step and contact someone.

But that doesn't take away from your desire at all.... I'm just unsure as to how easy it would be for Sonos to implement. By which I mean to say, i really don't know. I'm not sure if it's an easy thing, or requires a billion lines of code, and it wouldn't all fit any more on an older PLAYBAR, like I have.

One of the issues I suspect Sonos coders have to deal with on a regular basis is the fact that there's only X amount of memory that they can fit their code on. And since Sonos has never deprecated a speaker, with even their first speakers still functioning on the current Sonos software, it must be challenging.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Something sitting on the end of an optical cable (eg Playbar) has no idea what is an ad, and what is content, so auto-leveling is not feasible. However TVs CAN tell the difference between an ad and content (with a broadcast signal anyway), so it is technically feasible for a TV to do it. No idea if any do.

Easy solution is to skip the ads eg the D button on your TiVo remote.
There are indeed some TVs that do that kind of thing....although I don't know if it affects the digital output on the TV's or not.

On my Vizio, it's called Volume Leveling. I've got it turned off, as I'm a proponent of "the less audio modification you allow the TV to have, the less lipsync delay you'll experience".