Among the many things to be unveiled at this week's Consumer Electronics Show is a new sound-leveling technology from Dolby Laboratories that goes into a TV that ensures that loud announcers and commercials won't leave you scrambling for the volume control on your remote. Of course, this really isn't that new. In the early 90s Magnavox tried pitching this feature, running commercials that featured John Cleese yelling back at the TV to quiet down. Dolby thinks that now that the technology's been perfected, consumers will want to pay more for it, but that seems unlikely. For one thing, it's really not that much of a problem. Commercials, typically, aren't much louder than the actual program, and screaming announcers tend to be blissfully rare. Furthermore, volume range is a good thing when it's an intended part of a program's sound editing. The few people that really care about this, and want everything to be leveled off probably won't constitute a big enough population for any manufacturer to justify adding the technology in, unless it's very cheap. Of course, if some TV manufacturer wanted to bring in John Cleese to do some spots, we'd have no problem with that.
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