By Steve Bass
Commercials are loud now, louder than I can ever remember. Just as bad are the movies I watch on TV that jack up the music volume when there’s no dialogue. Don’t worry, Congress is working on legislation to reduce volume on broadcast and cable TV commercials.
While you’re waiting, you can get the GefenTV Auto Volume Stabilizer. It works by putting itself between your source device–say, a TiVo, DVD player, or your cable box–and your system’s speakers. The audio is normalized; that is, the volume is kept at one, constant level, no matter what you’re listening to. So commercials aren’t louder than the show they’re interrupting. (I enabled TiVo’s hidden 30-second skip setting, so I don’t hear — or see — the commercials.)
I’ve tested the absurdly expensive gizmo (it’s $150 on Amazon), and it works. The GefenTV supports devices using two-channel analog audio, TOSLINK optical, or S/PDIF coaxial digital audio, but not discrete multi-channel audio connections. Check the spec sheet.
Buckle Up for Safety
Worried your toddler (or for many of you, your great-grandchild) may reach up, grab your large-screen TV, and get bonked on the head? Or maybe you live in California or Nebraska (Nebraska?) and you’re frazzled thinking about earthquakes. Attach your display to its stand and the wall with a Sanus Elements Anti-Tip Strap to keep it from tumbling. Crutchfield sells it for $20. I look at it as a cheap insurance policy.