Friday, July 31, 2009

Some Audio Problems Can Be Fixed

One of the questions I often get now that we are finally and totally converted to digital broadcasting has to do with the increased frequency of audio problems on TV programs? The most prevalent and irritating problems are the increased instances of lip sync errors. We have all experienced it. The person speaking and the audio track are not in sync. Sometimes it is so pronounced and distracting that it makes the program unwatchable. Watching a drummer hit the drum or guitarist strum a chord only to hear the lick 2 seconds later is not pretty.

In the old days, before digital broadcasting, most often lip sync problems were caused by the circuitous path the video program traveled from its source to your living room. For example, news reports coming from Europe or Asia, because they were being transmitted using two or more satellite hops, had many incidents of audio delay and audio / video separation.

Today’s problems seem to be more pronounced and harder to fix. In the analog days the audio and video for a TV program were transmitter separately to your TV. They were joined inside the TV set. With digital, from the very beginning, the audio and video are all part of one stream of “1”s and “0”s and once joined they can’t easily be pulled apart. So if the audio is out of sync at the source there is virtually nothing you can do to fix it.

There are some instances where the problem is in your TV set or cable set top box. I have noticed that with some Time Warner set top cable boxes when a program has a lip sync problem you can fix it by powering down the cable box for a few seconds and then turning it back on. I am betting that this is a bug in the box where by its buffer gets filled. Turning it off clears the buffer. I am not sure, but my fix does work. I have tried this on some digital TVs as well with mixed success.

Another audio issue is the varying audio level or loudness. This is often experienced when a station switches from the network to a local source. The most pronounced is on Channel 12’s second channel The CW. When they go to the 10 PM news the audio level jumps almost 50%. Why? Because someone is not paying attention at the station.

Here is hoping that stations and networks will begin to pay as much attention to what we hear as they do to what we see.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read this blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't stop posting such articles. I love to read articles like that. By the way add more pics :)

2:53 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home