In a letter from American Cable Association (ACA) lawyers to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the ACA explained that it will be challenging to implement the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM) because the technical standard for establishing and maintaining audio loudness for digital TV – ATSC A/85 – was written as a voluntary engineering standard and not a legal document. Also, ATSC A/85 is designed to cover the entire ecosystem of entities involved with loudness management in video including producers of programming and advertisements, consumer electronics manufacturers as well as broadcasters and MVPDs.

The letter stated, "Each of these participants has a crucial role in the ATSC A/85 ecosystem; yet, the CALM Act only seeks to incorporate the ATSC A/85 standards insofar as they apply to broadcasters and MVPDs. The Commission thus must wrestle with fathoming the meaning of directives in ATSC A/85 that depend upon actions by participants other than broadcasters and MVPDs.

"For instance, there are approximately 7,500 cable systems, most of which distribute the same feeds of several hundred programming channels to consumers. The authors of ATSC A/85 understood that it was costly and duplicative to have each of these 7,500 systems install and utilize equipment to monitor and correct the loudness of commercial advertisements inserted in several hundred programming channels upstream. Instead, the standard establishes a much more efficient process whereby programmers are directed to insert the commercial advertisements correctly and the 7,500 cable systems are required to pass through the signal without alteration."

In addition, the ACA is concerned the FCC does not govern the standards-making body that created ATSC A/85 and has no control over successor standards. But the ACA submits that relevant standards need to evolve to meet changes in technology and the market.

The Daily


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