FCC mandated "commercial" bit feasability?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by parzec, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. parzec

    parzec Wizard of Oz

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    With digital streams and do-not-copy-bits easily inserted into the stream, I was thinking it wouldn't be too burdensome to require advertisers to insert "commercial" bits, that signal the beginning and end of commercial advertisements. While there would be a variety of uses for such a bit, I would like to see an FCC mandate it to allow users to effectively enforce the FCC's own rule of not blasting the volume during commercial interruptions. With the bits inserted, the Tivo would know to lower volume levels to reasonable levels without interfering with program volume. Of course, this could be used to completely skip commercials,too ;) I am sure big business would object, but isn't it about time for the FCC to step in in favor of the consumer? I mean we are required to subsidize DRM costs via the additional hardware required to be included in certain components (eg. Macrovision, HDCP, etc...), so why not throw the consumer a bone and allow them to benefit in this one area. Any thoughts?
     
  2. takeshi

    takeshi Member

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    ...or to enforce commercial viewing.
     
  3. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    LOL, yeah like they've really stepped in to move Allvid along, not to mention the craptacular state of our broadband market. At least they've helped out a bit with Cablecard, but other than that I think they're mostly bought and paid for with the revolving door. Just look at the last two commish's that left recently - one is shilling for the NCTA and the other is shilling for Comcast.
     
  4. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    This would violate THX specifications and force TiVo to drop their THX certification on any DVR system that employed it.

    If they actually had any concern for the consumer (and business, as well), they would eliminate commercial advertising altogether. 'Problem solved.
     
  5. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    This assumes government is not in collusion with "big business". Government is really the biggest business of all, and the only one with the ability to force consumers to act a certain way or to purchase certain products under penalty of imprisonment.

    The administration we have now is every bit as friendly toward big business as the last (just take a look at the GE tax (or lack of tax) situation). It's just different big businesses that they're friendly with.
     
  6. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    This is all a pipe dream of course, but if you're going to dream at least insert a little bit of practicality.

    First, you're never going to cut commercial volume completely because you effectively remove a huge revenue stream that pays a major part of the cost of producing content. If you want to absorb the total cost of producing content (so you can get it without commercials) then you need a provider other than (non-ppv, non-premium) cable channels or broadcast TV.

    Second, what algorithm is going to correctly decide how much a commercial's audio needs to be potted down? Most TV's already have auto-sound-leveling features, which are an attempt to do this, and they help, but some commercials are still excessively loud. Saying you will just cut them all by a fixed percentage won't work because the reduction needed to make the worst offenders tolerable would effectively remove the audio on the commercials that aren't too loud (see first point above).

    Oh well, continue pushing the "make government mandate a free lunch" nonsense! :p It's been doing so well for us lately. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

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    Cut commercial volume?

    TV commercials have more rights than you. They have a right to damage your hearing and they have every right to make you pay for their right to damage your hearing.

    Just ask our Supreme Court. Commercials are considered free speech and Corporations, well gosh gee, they're people too. :up:
     
  8. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

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    I would propose this algorithm: mute.

    Free speech doesn't imply the requirement for an individual to listen to it. From ear plugs to mute buttons, free speech has its limitation.

    I seem to recall a service some time ago that was going to listen to radio, flag the commercials, and broadcast a bitstream that told when commercials were occurring so a third party device could either change stations or mute the audio. I wonder what ever happened to it?

    If the FCC were to ever mandate a 'commercial bit' (they never will), then the broadcasters would simply muddle up what defines a commercial. How are you going to legislate the difference between desirable programming and undesirable "interruptions" ? What make s a commercial a commercial and a program a program? If Jerry Seinfeld picks up a Pepsi or Jack Bauer cracks open his at&t cellphone, does the commercial bit need to turn on?
     
  9. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Television commercials aren't overly loud.

    They are, however, overly compressed and limited, audio-wise.

    What's needed is a way to automatically undo that.
     
  10. windsurfdog

    windsurfdog Hoof Hearted?

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    I would disagree in many cases...there are several stations (TBS, AMC, et al) that routinely boost commercial volume...quite irritating and definitely a negative.
     
  11. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    There is a new mandate that requires broadcasters to normalize the audio of all content, including commercials, to a standard called LKFS. Anything that goes out which exceeds the limits set for LKFS are subject to a fine. We have several commercial clients all of which are working quickly to meet this mandate.

    So while a "commercial bit" would be useful for many other things, trying to sneak it in under the guise that it would be use to control volume isn't going to work.

    Dan
     
  12. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

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    Yea, but with cable companies starting to roll out "cloud" DVRs with the storage on the cable company server rather than the set top box, one of the things they can do is prevent you from skipping commercials (which will, of course, make all the folks watching the content irate, but will they be irate enough to drop their service?). Something will need to identify commercials so they can try and prevent you from skipping them, then all it takes is a few wily hackers, and we can turn the tables on them. (Though perhaps they will be smart enough to strip any commercial identification from the signal and hoard all the commercial timestamps back on the server).
     
  13. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    The TVs already do a great job with the volume. A couple of my TVs are from 2008 and they do a superb job of leveling the volume. Has this feature been removed from newer sets?

    My main receiver also has a volume feature if I enable it.
     
  14. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    We actually have several commercial customers who do ad insertion that would love it if there was a "commercial bit" that they could use to detect and replace the national commercials. There is actually a signal on the broadcast side that is used to flag commercial breaks, but it doesn't survive the final processing for transmission. And for some reason they archive shows for syndication from the final broadcast so it becomes a big pain to detect the commercial breaks and replace them for programs sent out over VOD, etc...

    Plus a commercial bit would really help the Ad Detective in VideoReDo. :)

    Dan
     
  15. LifeIsABeach

    LifeIsABeach Active Member

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    There is already a way to know when commercials are coming and to skip them automatcially. ReplayTV was pretty much sued out of existence for doing it. That is one reason TiVo has never done it.
     
  16. parzec

    parzec Wizard of Oz

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    LOL and so true!! A "do not skip"bit would be far more likely to be mandated by the FCC.
     
  17. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Not really. They used black frame detection, which is far from reliable. Trust me we do the same thing in VideoReDo and I would never recommend anyone using our commercial detection in a completely automated environment. There are several shows with scenes or cuts that can trip black frame detection and some networks have started doing crossfades to commercials, rather then fade to black, which makes it impossible to tell when a commercial break starts.

    Dan
     
  18. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    I'm saving Supernateral and Stargate Universe, both come from the same station (the CW). Most of the time there may be 2 or 3 black frames between program and commercial. A few times there won't be any black frames at all.
     
  19. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

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    Especially when you are watching on cable, and the cable company has done their own commercial inserts, they often not only have no black screen, but also cut off bits of the show.
     
  20. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    That's not technology, that's a disdain for professionalism.
     

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