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NAB: ATSC Offers CALM Demos

Complete NAB 2011 Coverage

With the Federal Communications Commission in the process of developing regulations to implement the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) will be working with a number of broadcasters and vendors at the 2011 NAB Show to demonstrate several technologies that overcome problems with overly loud TV ads.

The CALM Act requires the FCC to adopt the relevant portions of the ATSC A/85 "recommended practice" developed by ATSC to deal with the issue, notes March Richer, president of the ATSC in an interview. The FCC rules are expected to be finalized later this year.

The demonstrations to deal with the issue show not only that vendors have developed technologies to deal with the issue, Richer says, but that the industry has come together around a standard for controlling excessive loudness in commercials. In fact, many local broadcasters have already begun to implement the ATSC's A/85 recommended practice, he notes.

A/85 provides guidelines and technical parameters for the transmission of commercial advertisements by a television broadcast station, cable operator, or other multi-channel video programming distributor as required by the CALM Act. A/85 was first approved in late 2009.

The ATSC's A/85 also covers methods to effectively control program-to-interstitial loudness. It discusses metadata systems and use and describes proper dynamic range control.

Demos during the show showcasing A/85 ATSC recommended practice include one by NBC Universal and Fox concerning audio mixing, loudness monitoring and transmission/splicing systems.

Vendors demonstrating products at the ATSC CALM Place during the confab include DaySequerra/DTS, which will also be showing its new NLC5.1ST Loudness Control, iLM8 Intelligent Loudness Meter and M2DTV Mobile Media Loudness Processor; IneoQuest, which plans to show the Expedus DVA; Linear Acoustics, which will demo its multiband audio processing, Aero.qr, Aero.air (S.1), LAMDA -II, and HDX/A5A/Lilliput; and Dolby, which is showcasing its DP600 Program Optimizer that provides a range of tools for helping operators comply with the CALM act regulations.

Other sponsors of the ATSC CALM Place include ABC, NAB, NCTA and Univision.