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 ?