Why Is the Volume Lower On HD Channels Than It Is On SD Channels?

Switching from standard definition channels to HD channels may have viewers turning up the volume. While some viewers worry that the difference in volume is in their imagination, the fact is that HD channels do have a lower volume than their standard definition counterparts.

Understanding the Volume Difference

Television that is broadcast in high definition uses Dolby 5.1 audio to deliver high-quality sound. This feature utilizes six different audio channels in order to create the clear audio that can be heard on these channels. Ensuring that the sound from each of these audio channels is in balance results in a lower volume.

The good news about HD audio is that the precise balancing of sounds cuts down on distortion for optimal sound quality. Viewers who opt for HD channels get a vivid picture and clearer sound.

Solutions for the Volume Difference

There are some solutions for avoiding the blast of volume that is common when changing the channel from an SD channel to an HD channel. The easiest way to avoid this is to remember that the volume difference exists. Viewers will just have to manually adjust the volume before turning on an HD channel.

Another option is dynamic range compression (DRC). This option compresses the dynamic range of the audio signal to reduce the volume when the sound gets loud. Enabling this option depends upon the TV model, but it is common for DRC settings to be found on the TV menu. Viewers can contact the television manufacturer to learn more about DRC.

DRC is not just useful for reducing the volume when switching from SD to HD channels. This technology can keep the volume on those loud commercials down to enhance the overall viewing experience.

Information on DRC

As stated earlier, dynamic range compression (DRC) is a feature that helps minimize the volume inconsistencies between HD and SD channels. It is a feature that can come standard with newer TVs on the market, but it can also come with HD DVR Receivers, as well. However, what does this all mean, exactly?

Well, let’s start with compression. In the case of DRC, compression is the method used to shrink data. You might also think of it as consolidating the space data – in this case audio channels – takes in order to still properly view a program. As for audio channels, that’s just what you hear whether it’s a television program or a Blu-ray™. Audio channels run concurrently to the video and are, essentially, where the data housing all the audio – music, voices, sound effects – live.

With DRC, a volume baseline is sought in order to create a more consistent experience without you having to constantly hold onto the remote control. If you watch any of the major networks, you’ve probably had a jarring experience when the show itself is at a reasonable volume but the commercial that follows blares. DRC is meant to automatically correct this discrepancy so that you don’t have to manually turn down the volume when a commercial comes on, and then raise it in order to hear the show.

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