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SCTE outlines CALM Act best practices

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 2:15pm
Brian Santo

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has published a set of recommendations to help cable operators comply with federal Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act mandates.

“Recommendations for Spot Check Loudness,” also known as SCTE 197, details best practices for measuring the audio content carried in a single programming channel of a program network, aligned with techniques discussed in Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standard A/85, “Recommended Practice: Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television.”

SCTE 197 provides guidelines for recording measured loudness and loudness metadata value, as well as approaches for interpretation of the collected data and for actions to be taken in the case of discrepancies, the Society said.

The CALM Act, drafted by Congress and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, requires that the audio level of commercial messages be at the same average loudness as the associated programming content. The new SCTE document was developed under the SCTE Digital Video Subcommittee (DVS) Audio Drafting Group.  SCTE 197 is available for download at the SCTE’s web site.

“This Recommended Practice is the result of collaboration by SCTE Standards members representing a cross-section of stakeholders including multi-program video distributors, programming networks, equipment vendors, and related industry groups to come up with a pragmatic and practicable measurement procedure,” said Craig Cuttner, senior vice president, advanced technology for HBO and chairman of the Audio Drafting Group.  “The SCTE 197 recommendation applies the procedures outlined in ATSC A/85 while still maintaining the high-fidelity premium sound that subscribers expect from their program providers.”

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