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Streaming Services & the CALM Act- What Don't they Follow?

May, 2019

DISCLAIMER: This is part 2 of our series about the CALM Act. Read Pt 1 here


Gone are the days where renting a movie was an elongated experience. We used to have to get in the car, drive all the way to a store such as Blockbuster (yeah, remember those?), and then spend copious amounts of time meandering around fishing through a sea of movies and TV shows on VHS (if you’re too young to know what that is- please Google it). Once you make your choice, you would walk up to the register, grab some Junior Mints or Reese's Pieces, pay a few dollars to keep the movie for about a week, and drive home. Once that week was over you would drive back to the store and toss them into their ‘returns’ drop-box. Just like a library book.


Now, you can skip all of these steps (well, besides maybe running to a convenience or grocery store for the candy- though now we have PeaPod and Amazon). Blockbusters are no longer in existence (besides that one random store in Bend, Oregon- see here. )- pushed out of the market by today’s home entertainment gurus- streaming services.


YouTube popularized the idea of streaming when it began around 2005. Netflix then moved from mail delivery of DVDs to streaming around 2007. Now, it seems as if there are endless options with the addition of Hulu, Amazon Video, and the soon-to-be additions of Apple and Disney streaming services. Many are even opting out of cable TV, since these services tend to air new TV show episodes the day after they air on cable anyway. After all, even if you were subscribed to multiple streaming services, it’s probably still cheaper than that cable bill. Besides, the things people dislike about cable such as commercials and their obscene volume levels are totally eradicated with these streaming services, right? Well, that’s what we initially thought.


Since many people want to be able to have subscriptions to more than one streaming service, they tend to settle for the cheaper plan that each service offers- meaning they will still experience a commercial or two once or twice during each episode that they watch. This still only takes a minute or so, compared to the three or four minutes that cable commercial breaks fill. However, as of late, viewers have been noticing a distinct volume change during said commercials on programs like Hulu and Netflix. It’s reminding them of the overly-loud cable commercials, and they’re not liking it.


We have spoken previously about the CALM Act (if you have not yet read that blog post, please do for a better understanding of what we discuss next); a law that was supposed to regulate the volume of commercials so they wouldn’t be obscenely louder than the programs they interrupt. However, many have found loopholes within this act which they take full advantage of. When it comes to streaming services, they have the biggest loophole of all- the CALM Act doesn’t apply to them.  The FCC, who authored the CALM Act, only regulates broadcast TV signals and doesn’t apply to cable or streaming content. When the CALM Act was enacted, streaming services were not even close to the popularity and usage that they have now.


Here at dbx-tv, we have been working to try to combat these issues. Our Total Volume technology uses advanced algorithms to balance out those volume spikes- meaning no more loud commercials- no matter what platform you may be watching your content on.