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I apologize that many of you are having uncomfortable and even downright unpleasant experiences with the volume of some of the advertising on Hulu. This is not by design, and we are working very hard to fix this lingering issue. There is a widespread belief that broadcasters, ourselves included, boost the audio levels of the commercials they play. This, however, is just a myth.
What follows is an explanation of how our new ad volume normalization system works, as well as some things you can do to help us make it even better.
First, how it works:
The new player begins analyzing the volume level of the content in the seconds leading up to an ad break. Then, as the ad is fetched, the player compares the precomputed volume of the ad with that of the recent content, and adjusts them dynamically to match.
The Recent Problems:
What appears to have been happening is that the analysis was being thrown off by a few different problems. The first, is that some of the ads were not being properly analyzed beforehand, negating our ability to adjust their audio level downward. This has been the major source of problems for the new system, and should be fixed as of this morning.
Many of you have also noted that our pre-roll ads -- the ads that run before a video begins -- are noticeably louder than the video. This was occurring because our system wasn’t checking the ad volume against the first several seconds of a video. We've made a few adjustments to address this issue and will continue to refine a long-term solution.
The last issue that seems to be affecting the system is that the volume may ramp up as a show heads into a commercial break (e.g. with an explosion or climactic scene of some kind). Unfortunately, this can sometimes trick the system, causing what appears to be an increase in ad volume compared to most of the video, but which is actually a failure to properly lower the volume.
Now, how can you help make it better?
We are taking this very seriously, and here's what you can do to help. To better debug the system, and fine-tune the algorithm used to compute the average volume, we need to know what shows are causing the volume discrepancies. So, if you encounter this issue again, it would be very helpful if you could tell us the following: 1. Which video you were watching (a link to the video would be great) 2. Which specific ad seemed louder than the content 3. Which ad break had the volume discrepancy
Thank you again for your support and feedback as we continue to work out these last kinks and refine our system.
Hey Chase- if that's how you feel, go somewhere else. But posting a rude comment like that on what is a hugely transparent and helpful post by a company who actually cares about its users is just rude.
This isn't a complaint, but something that might be important in improving ad volume normalization. I have watched a few episodes of the Show John Doe (http://www.hulu.com/john-doe) today and have noticed that most of the ads in all of the episodes I watched (3, 4, and 5 - links below) were extremely quiet. I could still here them, but they were very noticeably quieter than the show. I also noticed that before most of the commercial breaks there was a brief period (maybe a second or so) of no sound (presumably part of the show intended to indicate a commercial break is about to start).I'm wondering if maybe the analysis of the ad volume in "the seconds leading up to an ad break" is including this period of no sound, thereby concluding that the sound leading up to the ad is lower than what it actually is in the parts with sound. My thinking is along the same lines of ads playing loud because of a loud sound in the show leading up to a break.Episode links: http://www.hulu.com/watch/10653/john-doe-doe-re-me http://www.hulu.com/watch/10576/john-doe-past-imperfect http://www.hulu.com/watch/35387/john-doe-john-deuxI don't remember specific ads, but it was certainly almost all of them, if not all of them.
I'm rarely the type to do any commenting at all, but this is starting to be reallly really irritating. Literally all ads that i have been watching for the last few days have abnormally high volume. Please just cut the volume in half. Until then, i guess its back to bitorrenting for me. =(
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