As one of the biggest streaming platforms, Hulu is a favorite when it comes to watching old favorites and bingeing on new ones. Those who pay for the service are sure to find several hours of epic programming, but how much they pay determines whether they take care of the service’s loudest problem.
For those who suffer and buffer ads in their Hulu experience, you may notice deafening audio whenever a commercial plays. This is actually a way for ad companies to gain their way into the ears, hearts, and minds of viewers, and it’s incredibly annoying. Here’s why Hulu’s ads are so loud, and the best ways users can protect their eardrums.
Why are the commercials so strong on Hulu?
When streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu leveled the playing field for TV viewing, it caused the traditional method of advertising to greatly rethink how they would engage with consumers now. In the case of Hulu, the lowest paying subscription tiers were still supported by ads, allowing those who lived and died through commercials to still make their bones. Unfortunately, these ads are more than just annoying to Hulu users: they’re also disconcerting, mainly due to how loud they are.
Even if streamers are watching at normal volume, the moment an ad starts playing, the sound can spike to deafening levels. Sometimes the volume can stay at a normal or tolerable level before suddenly rising to a screeching height. There’s a sneaky reason for this audio assault, and luckily, there are also different ways to prevent it from happening.
How to deal with loud commercials on Hulu
In 2010, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act was passed, making it totally illegal for a commercial to be drastically louder than the average volume of the channel it is broadcast on . Since streaming platforms like Hulu could be considered the same “channel”, this should theoretically eliminate this problem. However, advertisers who did not want their commercials to be ignored easily figured out how to circumvent this regulation.
Some ads on Hulu start by holding the volume of whatever show the viewer has been watching before slowly but surely going full volume. Hulu is reportedly working on a fix, but they also recommend that users set their TV audio systems to automatically regulate any changes in the volume of programming. Many of today’s smart TVs have a volume slider feature called Auto Volume that automatically adjusts for changes in decibels while you’re watching loud Hulu ads. Similarly, computer viewers can simply have their laptop or desktop computer mute the volume whenever these ads start.
Signing up for an ad-free package on Hulu removes the streaming service’s loud commercials entirely, so if a package upgrade is within budget, consider it. Contacting the FCC is also an option, though it’s likely not one the average streamer wants to take. When all else fails and ears start ringing, angry viewers can always just refresh and skip the ads altogether.