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Maura Tierney, left and Julianna Margulies in "The Good Wife."

Jeffrey Neira, Star Tribune

TV Q&A: On Demand is spotty for viewer

  • Article by: ROB OWEN
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • December 3, 2012 - 9:02 AM

Q We've talked in the past about CBS Sunday-night screw-ups with "The Good Wife" and "The Mentalist." Since I have other things to watch and record in the 8 to 10 p.m. slot, I can't record them.

Not a problem for "The Good Wife"; it's available via On Demand. But I am really annoyed that "The Mentalist" isn't even showing the current season via On Demand.

Where can I turn to get a remedy? Who controls what's shown via On Demand? CBS? Comcast?

A CBS and Comcast have an agreement for carriage of shows via Comcast On Demand, but I believe CBS dictates which shows it carries on that platform.

It's possible to catch full episodes of "The Mentalist" at www.cbs.com, according to the show's publicist.

Fighting TV's audio assault

Q The CALM Act goes into effect soon. Do you think viewers will hear a difference? Will we really hear programming and commercials at the same volume? Will the volume be the same on all channels, or will we still have to adjust the volume when switching around?

A People still watch commercials? I kid, but only a little.

Commercial viewing is going the way of the dinosaur as more viewers record programs on DVRs and fast-forward through commercials during playback, which makes the CALM Act, designed to make commercial and program sound levels equal, a bit late to the party.

Honestly, I only ever stumble upon commercials anymore when my trigger finger messes up the timing during DVR playback. But when that does happen, the booming commercial sound is sometimes obviously louder than the program I've been watching.

As far as what life with the CALM Act in place on Dec. 13 will be like, we'll just have to wait to see. In theory, it seems like the sound levels should be the same across channels based on this item from the Federal Communications Commission's website: "The ATSC A/85 RP is a set of methods to measure and control the audio loudness of digital programming, including commercials. This standard can be used by all broadcast television stations and pay TV providers."

But my guess is that, in practice, there is likely to be some variation noticeable when flipping among channels.

Send TV questions to tvqanda@gmail.com.

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