Tell us if this sounds familiar. You're watching your favorite TV show and enjoying hi-fi sound out of a home theater system. The show cuts to a commercial, and the proceeding change in volume from the program to the ad is so jolting you literally jump out of your seat.
No, you're not going crazy. Some ad makers go out of their way to deliver commercials with above-average volume for one simple reason: to get your attention. For decades, the FCC has received countless complaints about the situation but has never stepped in. As far as they're concerned, there are no guidelines for volume levels in the broadcasting of commercials.
Only recently has a bill been passed (named CALM: The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) to combat blaring commercials, but the initiative still must get through the House of Representatives.
Until we see some progress in Washington, there aren't many options for dealing with loud commercials. Enter the SRS MyVolume HDMI volume leveler, a tiny HDMI bypass box that successfully equalizes excess volume noise, allowing you to enjoy normal television programming without losing years off your life. It may be a tad expensive, but the MyVolume works exactly how we imagined it would.
There's not too much to talk about here in terms of setup, as everything is pretty much straightforward. You simply attach your source device (usually a cable box) to the HDMI input port and follow that up with an output HDMI connection to your TV or receiver. There is a small switch to turn leveling on or off on the box, and the device does require power. Ideally we would have liked a remote control option here