The future of loudness
Even today, stations need to serve different platforms, and in the future, that number may well increase. Also, each platform may have a unique target level to aim at; this scenario calls for a flexible technical setup that’s able to handle this task.
In a perfect world, the average audio loudness would be even across a full day of broadcast and across all genres and channels, meaning that browsing dozens of TV channels wouldn’t provoke a constant need to adjust the volume. But, even better, uniform loudness would also be the case — regardless of whether you turn on the TV, put on a video podcast or stream a YouTube video.
We may not be there yet, but technological breakthroughs, definitions of broadcast standards and legislation on loudness indicate that this is the direction in which we are headed. Station engineers should keep these practices in mind, along with the ever-changing need to support a variety of broadcast platforms — each with its own audio performance requirements.
Following the guidelines given here makes the distribution of quality audio to multiple platforms easy and codec-agnostic.
—Thomas Lund is HD development manager at TC Electronic.