The opening of the IFA consumer electronics exhibition in Berlin last Friday was chosen as the day when broadcasters in Germany and Austria switched to R 128, the EBU's Loudness recommendation. From now on, television viewers in those countries will notice fewer dramatic jumps in volume when switching between stations or in the transitions between programming, trailers and advertising. R 128 has been gaining traction across Europe, with adoptions in France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium and (on radio) Norway already implemented.
Public and Private
The rollout of EBU R 128 in Germany applies to public and private broadcasters, both free-to-air and pay TV, with cooperation from advertising and marketing agencies being an important element. The requirement to normalize the audio according to the EBU recommendation applies to all content, including advertising and trailers.
The chairman of the Production and Technology Commission for ARD/ZDF, Heinz-Joachim Weber (WDR), emphasized the good coordination between public and private broadcasters: "Due to technical progress, we now have the ability to produce normalized audio and harmonize the loudness of our programs. I expect this to resolve, or at least improve, what has been a known nuisance for our audience for many years."
Real value for viewers
Production director of ZDF, Andreas Bereczky, said: "With the new normalization methods it will be possible to create real value for our viewers: program transitions are harmonious both within the channel and across channels. We are convinced that this Loudness agreement also grants new scope for the evolution of TV audio".
EBU R 128 was developed by PLOUD, a project group of the EBU Technical Committee chaired by Florian Camerer of Austrian public broadcaster, ORF. He will also chair the EBU-sponsored Loudness Breakfast at IBC on Monday 10 September.