The most common complaint we receive from clients is that modern, flat screen TVs have horrible sound quality and it’s hard to understand dialogue, especially on shows with British accents like Downton Abbey or Coronation Street.
It can cause a lot of frustration and friction when you have to argue about the volume of the TV, or ask “What did he just say?” countless times during a show.
You may be surprised that your old TV sounded better than your new flat screen!
So, why is the sound so bad and what can you do to improve it?
Reason #1: The physics of the speakers
Older TVs had larger speakers and they were pointed right at you. The larger speaker has more surface area and can produce better, fuller sound and when they are pointed at you, the voice (mid and treble) is naturally more intelligible.
Flat screen TVs have tiny speakers that are either pointed downward or at the wall behind the TV. The small speakers have far lower quality sound and it’s pointed away from you. A lot of TVs try to make up for this by boosting the treble which can make them sound thin or tinny.
Reason #2: The quality of the incoming sound
The audio signal sent with HD broadcast actually has the potential to sound good – you just need the equipment to reproduce it.
What can be done?
Here are 3 things you can do to improve the sound:
1) Adjust your TVs sound settings
Many TVs have audio settings. They’re found in the TV’s setup menu. My Samsung TV has a setting called “Clear Voice”. It’s designed to put more emphasis on speech clarity. Your TV probably has something similar.
You should also have a setting that will make the volume more even (rather than going from inaudible whisper to booming sound – as scenes change).
Look for a setting in the same audio menu called “Dynamic Range”, “Night”, “DRC” or something similar. Change it and listen for an improvement.
If you can’t find these settings on your TV, send me an email using the form below, and we’ll try to help you find it.
2) Get and external speaker or sound system
The best way to improve your TV’s sound is to bypass the speakers altogether and use an external sound system like a stereo, soundbar, or a bluetooth speaker. You can find a variety of options to suit your budget at the local Best Buy.
If you’re willing to spend a couple hundred dollars, you’ll get a much better sound.
3) Listen to the TV directly through hearing aids
Most of the hearing aids we provide at our clinic have the option of connecting directly to your TV. If you have the right hearing aids and a TV link box, you can stream the TV audio right into your ear very simply and without wires – just a simple push of a button.
You can adjust the sound level of your TV to whatever you desire – without affecting anyone else in the room.
If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email using the form below, or call our office in Burnaby at 604-528-8884.
With this information, you’re well armed to hear the dialogue better, enjoy the show, and eliminate any squabbles over the volume of your TV.