Practical, everyday, applied philosophy, as Nietzsche suggested

Stop shouting: law to stop broadcasters dictating the volume on our televisions: licensing fees as hidden, regressive taxes: and eliminating the 25% waste produced by advertising.

I am fed up with my television suddenly screaming at me, especially during the night when I am trying to be considerate of my neighbours. This produces a chronic, repeated level of frustration and stress. Thus it is a health and wellbeing issue, for myself and my neighbours.

It is also an environmental issue, as I constantly reach for my remote control, to reduce the volume. Without this problem, my remote batteries would last several years longer than they currently do. Batteries are toxic. The money spent, on a global scale, as a result, could better be spent on more productive things.

The television broadcasters may deny that they deliberately increase the perceived volume during commercial breaks. They will say that technically they are not increasing the volume at all. In fact what they are doing is compressing the audio signal, and then boosting the entire signal range. What this means is that the softest part of the signal will be boosted to the highest part of the signal. What was originally a whisper, will now be heard as a shout. A normal signal has louder bits and quieter bits, whispering and shouting. Compression and boosting means that the signal is now broadcast at only the level of the shouting bits. And thus they have effectively increased the volume.

I suspect they actually go further than this, actually boosting the volume as well, or perhaps acheiving this relative effect by decreasing the audio signal of the actual programs. Thus you turn up the volume during your program, to hear it, and when the ads come on at normal volume, you are effectively boosting them yourself. How sneaky of the bastards.

Do advertisers really think they are producing good-will in me by irritating me and my neighbours on a regular, systematic basis?  

What is even more frustrating, is that pay for view television stations even adopt this nefarious strategy for their station promos. One minute I am enjoying a quiet television program, and the next my television is shouting and screaming for the entire neighbourhood to hear. And I am paying THEM for the priveledge of being irritated, frustrated, stressed-out, and enraged.

If you, like me, would like to put a stop to this abuse of our human rights, then please add your email address in the ´comments´ box after this blog entry. We will get together a petition of millions of people that the television advertising  lobby groups will not be able to walk rough-shod over.

HOW DARE THEY CHOSE THE VOLUME I WILL WATCH MY TELEVISION AT!  It is audio terrorism. It is denying me my right to chose for myself. It is preventing me from being a conscientous member of society, one who considers the interests of my neighbours, especially at night when people are trying to sleep, when watching television.

Ideally all audio would be compressed, to make constant volume adjustments redundant. In a program with a high dynamic range, if I increase the volume to hear the soft bits, I then have to reduce it again for the rest of the program. This constant adjustment is frustrating. Under compression nothing is lost in terms of dramatic expression, as we still hear that someone is whispering or shouting due to other audio clues in the sounds made. 

I suggest, then, that all audio be treated the same as the commercials and promos currently are, that is, compressed, between 10 p.m and 8 a.m. This would also prevent the advertising industry finding some way to undermine our good, considerate, and reasonable, regulation of them.

Alternatively, or in addition to this, manufacturers should be compelled to incorporate ´compressed´ audio settings into their rem0te controls and televisions. This would give us back the right to chose the audio volume for ourselves, rather than having it imposed upon us dictatorially by broadcasters. Laws should also give us the right to insist that others use this compressed audio function between the hours of 10p.m and 8 a.m, where it interferes with our right to decide for ourselves what we listen to in our own homes, rather than our neighbours getting to decide this. This is consistent with current legal rights enforced in the most civilised nations. 

Further, television licensing fees should be paid out of general taxation revenue, for reasons of fairness. Current license fees are ´regressive´ in the sense that they represent a higher tax on the poor than on the more fortunate. Today the poor pay a massively higher proportion of their income in such hidden taxes for the right to participate in the wider community via their televisions and radios, than do the more fortunate.  In fact in Germany, simply paying a televison license puts the working poor at a real income level below that of those on social security, who are exempt from such license fees. 

And on the subject of marketing. All advertising should be limited to providing actual factual information about products and services, rather than being designed to emotionally manipulate people, and mislead consumers about the true values of the products presented. Today marketing costs account for up to 25% of the final costs of typical, daily-used products. This represents a massive waste of limited resources on things that provide no real value.  Marketing should be limited to providing factual information and free-samples, along with active market research. Packaging should be limited to functionality, with the enviroment and other costs being the driving priorities, rather than attempts to mislead and psychologically manipulate us.

Thankyou for contributing to a saner world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s