With the broadcast industry hoping to head off the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act being considered by Congress, monitoring system specialist Mixed Signals said it has a technological fix it is offering to cable operators.

The CALM Act would require video service providers to ensure that commercials not be any louder than the average volume of the programs they accompany.

Mixed Signals CEO Eric Conley said his company has a software upgrade for its Sentry monitoring system, widely deployed by MSOs, which will enable them to identify audio volume issues in programming and commercials. Sentry now supports the ITU-R BS.1770 audio specification for measuring the loudness of video programs.

“We have the only solution that can do this in real time,” Conley told CED. Sentry can not only check the levels of the ads, but also the audio of the programs to verify that they were recorded at appropriate levels.

The solution allows operators to identify those ads with excessive volume levels. Operators would then have to take the ads and re-encode them for acceptable audio levels, Conley explained.

Loudness issues are common for video service providers as volume levels can vary dramatically from channel to channel, program to program, and during commercial breaks, Mixed Signals explained. Current solutions for identifying volume issues can only monitor one or two channels, which Mixed Signals said makes them far too costly for cable and other multichannel video providers that deliver hundreds of channels.

Mixed Signals said it will demonstrate the advanced commercial loudness monitoring and detection capabilities of Sentry at the upcoming Cable-Tec Expo in Denver, set for Oct. 28-30.

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