Television viewers are a notoriously dissatisfied bunch, complaining often about lousy programming, foul language, superficiality and assorted other irritations. Although most of these shortcomings are matters of individual taste, on one point viewers are unified: TV commercials are too loud. That complaint has been voiced almost since the dawn of advertiser-supported TV, yet neither broadcasters nor advertisers have put a stop to the volume surges.
On Tuesday, the House approved a bill to turn down the advertisers' volume. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Menlo Park) would require all local stations, cable and satellite TV operators to follow the volume-limiting guidelines adopted by the digital TV standards group. Congressional analysts estimated that the measure would cost those operators a relatively small amount; they put no value on the relief to viewers rattled by commercials that seem far louder than the shows they interrupt.