Is there a way to automatically mute TV commercials?

Joseph Videtto January 13, 2013
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Instead of background music, I often leave the TV on while doing computer work. I’ve found that while a ‘low key’ movie is suitable for this – some movies don’t work. For example, action movies with lots of continuous or ‘energetic’ sounds don’t work, but dramas with lots of important and deep dialog that takes place in a quiet setting works really well. I can shift my attention easily from my computer to these dramas at key points, and filter out the sound to focus on either when I choose.

However – commercials absolutely drive me berserk – they often sound ‘louder’ than the movie, and always have some sort of annoying hooks that command your attention (I’m sure lots of study goes into making them that way).

Now – while working, I would like my commercials muted when they come on for the above reason, but I don’t want the distraction of doing this manually. To these points, 2 questions:

1.) Is there any software or techniques for automatically muting commercials while watching my cable TV – if not, could you suggest how I might hack something together ?

2.) How do you feel about the ‘ethics’ of doing such – given that these commercials fund the networks ?

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  1. Anton de Waal
    January 29, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Apparently mutemagic only works in the USA/Canada as it only supports NTSC broadcasting system. It does not work outside North America; that is why they only sell in the USA and Canada. I live in Australia. Any solution for us down under?

  2. Saurav Azad
    January 14, 2013 at 6:04 am

    use mutemagic

  3. Ahmed Musani
    January 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I tried mutemagic. its great. I liked it a great deal.

  4. ha14
    January 13, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Disclaimer: MuteMagic is not 100 % reliable at detecting Commercial Breaks, and this should be understood prior to purchasing this product.
    It may, however, amaze you with its accuracy.
    http://www.mutemagic.com/uploads/SingleModeM_Mops_manual2.pdf

    • Paul Pruitt
      January 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks

  5. Paul Pruitt
    January 13, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Well, I found this: http://www.mutemagic.com/. I was so impressed, I ordered one. Will report back as to results.

    On some of the other things you discuss, they recently a passed a federal law that will stop allowing commercials to be 20% louder than normal TV. It came into effect December 13, 2012 after passing one year before that: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/loud-commercials.

    As to ethics, if it causes you to go beserk, you need to preserve your mental health and productivity. The commercial makers can still captivate your eyes with their commercials if you can find a way to prevent them. They don't care too much about using you by appealing to your lower natures when creating the commercials, I think it's OK to reject it if you can...maybe with the above machine. It's only $31 with shipping. They have apparently sold at least 1400 of them so far as I am customer number 1401.

    • mm
      April 28, 2013 at 5:44 am

      This is nice, but what broadcasters are doing is making the commercial volume the (legal) db limit but lowering programming of shows, so either way you have to tun up the tv event more than 20% now. so when coms come on, they are even louder than before. I clocked TNT network at programming level of -35% and coms at 100% (100% being legal decibel limit)

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