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WASHINGTON: The technical standard underlying the federal mandate to regulate the volume of TV commercials has been amended. The Advanced Television Systems Committee today published the successor to A/85, its Recommended Practice for broadcast loudness mitigation. Unlike the original, the revised standard accommodates non-Dolby Digital (AC-3) audio codecs. A/85 is the basis of the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act, which directs federal regulators to make rules governing TV audio volume by Dec. 15.

The Federal Communications Commission today announced the publication of the successor document to A/85. The FCC recently extended the reply period on its CALM Act docket to accommodate the ATSC, which notified the commission the new document was in the pipeline. Replies are due Aug. 1.

The revised A/85 includes Annex K: Requirements for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness of Commercial Advertising in Digital Television When Using Non-AC-3 Audio Codecs. The cable industry was particularly concerned about the availability of Annex K because more than 1,300 cable systems do not use Dolby Digital, and would not be able to comply with CALM without it.

The A/85 successor document is available online at the ATSC website.

~ Deborah D. McAdams, Television Broadcast