SRS TruVolume tells blaring commercials to simmer down

September 17, 2009

Annoyed by commercials that are way louder than the TV shows they appear in? The audio mavens at SRS have a solution to this plague of noise: Its SRS TruVolume technology, which quiets down those ads to the same level as the show you're watching. The high-tech hushing is done via special algorithm that puts all audio at the same reference level, and perceived volume is consistent. Loud signals aren't simply cut off — the algorithm shrinks the signal, so subtleties in the audio should be preserved.

Seeing a demo of SRS TruVolume in action up against a similar tech, Dolby Volume, SRS did much better in keeping the volume consistent among material like clips of Everybody Loves Raymond and the evening news, but then again, this was a staged test.

How do you get it? The bad news: The algorithm needs to be built into your TV. The good news: It's being integrated in several sets right now, mainly Samsung and Vizio models. What about people like me who use a receiver and separate speakers for sound? Well, we're in luck, too — SRS is building a small standalone box that does the same trick. MyVolume (below) will hook up to your cable box via HDMI; it's due in a couple of months, no price yet.

This isn't the first stab at volume-leveling tech by a long shot, but if the demo is to believed, it might be the most effective. It doesn't hurt that SRS is an established brand whose tech is already integrated into all sorts of audio equipment. We look forward to the day when all TVs have this kind of tech; though by that time will we be watching ads at all?