15 October 2019

BBC tests technology to remove unwanted noise from TV dramas

The BBC is testing a system that will allow viewers to remove background music and other distracting noise from TV dramas, thus making it easier to hear spoken dialogue. The move follows a deluge of complaints about inaudible actors in dramas such as War and Peace and Jamaica Inn.

In July, the corporation tested the technology with an episode of Casualty that was streamed on its website. The relevant web page included a slider alongside the standard volume control. Keeping the slider on the right-hand side retained the full audio. Moving it to the left reduced background noise, including music, making it easier to understand the spoken word.

The BBC said that the response from viewers was "overwhelmingly positive". Of the 3,300 people who viewed the on-line episode, 80 percent described it as an improvement.

The technology is targeted at the 11 million people in the UK who suffer from some form of hearing loss as well as many others who say that unnecessary background music spoils their enjoyment.

But before you start hunting for that slider, be aware that the system is still very much under development. And even when it becomes available (and no date as been announced for that), it won't necessarily work on existing TV sets that receive programmes over the air. To use the technology, you will have to watch TV on a computer or an TV that can stream from the internet.

So far, the focus has been on removing background noise from dramas. It is not clear whether the BBC will also apply the technology to documentaries, which are also the target of viewers' complaints. Still, it is very much a step in the right direction, and one that we at Quiet Scotland are likely to fully support.

14 October 2019

Quiet Scotland Blog Launched

Quiet Scotland has now launched a blog to complement our existing website, forum and social media.

Quiet Scotland campaigns for freedom from unwanted background music in cafés, restaurants, bars, shops, GP surgeries, hospital waiting rooms and other public places. The aim of the blog is to make it easier for us to publish up-to-date news and information about these campaigns as well as on other topics likely to be of interest to our members.

We welcome your feedback on any of the matters raised in the blog. Every post has a comment feature which you may use to let us know your opinions and to share your experiences. But note that comments containing offensive language or personal attacks will not be allowed, nor will any attempts to spam the blog.

If you would like to become a member of Quiet Scotland, please get in touch. We have a very informal membership structure. There is no charge or obligation of any kind, and you may be as active or as inactive as you wish.

You will find a lot more information about us on our main website, which also contains extensive listings of music-free shops, restaurants and bars in Scotland. We are always adding new venues to these lists, so please get in touch if you know of any that we might have missed.

We also have a forum where you can take part in more in-depth discussions about our campaigns or other matters that concern us. And we are active on Facebook and Twitter as well. Please visit our Contact page to access these features.