What the Tech? Audio issues during movies

(ABC 6 News) – How many times do you have trouble understanding dialogue while watching a show on Netflix or Amazon? It isn’t just older viewers. In a recent study, more than half of young adults ages 18-29 say they watch TV with closed captioning or subtitles turned on most or all of the time because they can’t understand what the actors are saying. For comparison’s sake, 48% of viewers over the age of 65 say they never turn on closed captioning.

There are a few reasons dialogue is more difficult to understand than ever before.

First, as manufacturers set out to make TVs as thin as possible, it’s at the expense of good speakers. Second: streaming services don’t always mix sound good enough for the small screen. Soundbars make everything louder, not clearer. Subwoofers are great at shaking the walls with sound effects and music, which often drowns out what the actors are saying.

A few solutions: A speaker or soundbar designed to improve the clarity of dialogue. ZVOX soundbars separate what actors are saying from background sounds, enhancing the clarity of speech, and technology that’s much like hearing aids. Mirai released their curvedspeaker earlier this year. The company says which allows it to produce soundwaves that clarify and spread dialogue around the room. It lowers sound effects, while speech is amplified.

I found both of these speakers made it easier to understand the actors but do sacrifice sound effects and music that can sound a bit tinny.

Some TVs are offering to improve the clarity of audio. Amazon Fire TVs have a setting to amplify dialogue. You’ll find it in audio settings, but only on Fire TVs.

Far are now urging studios to do a better job mixing the sound in production for the small screen.