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Netflix and Hulu speech volume too quiet, YouTube fine

by dhinged / July 27, 2013 8:32 AM PDT

I have a computer hooked up to my big-screen TV through VGA and a 3.5" audio jack, but we have a hard time hearing speech on Netflix and Hulu. When I turn up the volume, then explosions and loud music become way too loud.

I don't have this problem on YouTube. I can keep the same volume level (12 on my Samsung 46") across TV, DVD player (composite or component), Playstation 3 (HDMI), or YouTube through the computer's audio jack.

It seems like the way Netflix and Hulu compress their video is making speech too quiet. The volume is maxed on all three websites as well as on my computer's audio settings. It's the same result in Windows XP or 7 even on different computers.

I am baffled as to how to fix this as I'm tired of adjusting my volume settings just to visit these two websites as they take up a good chunk of time on the TV.

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Windows Settings
by sunwatcher / July 28, 2013 12:15 AM PDT

Try this in Windows:

- Right click on the sound icon in the system tray and select "Playback devices"
- Under the "Playback" tab, select "Speaker" then "Properties"
- Select the "Enhancements" tab
- Check "Loudness Equalization" but leave everything else unchecked.
- Select "Okay" and try Netflix again.

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sounds like dynamic range compression
by dhinged / July 31, 2013 1:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Windows Settings

Isn't that the same as dynamic range compression? My soundbar has that and I disable it because it sounds terrible; stuff gets loud then suddenly turns down then quiet stuff gets turned up. That's been a really poor compensation in my experience, but I'll try it out in Windows 7.

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Thank you
by Tick_liks / September 14, 2013 5:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Windows Settings

You are a god... Netflix sounds so much better. I'm naming my first born child "Sunwatcher".


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Don't know if this would help or not, but...
by Oldartq / July 28, 2013 12:38 AM PDT

take a look at the sound control of the computer. Is there a TONE control? If yes...turn the BASS way down, see if that help. Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with Netflix and Hulu...nor youtube, that's just the way it is. By the way, the 3.5mm audio jack is what kind of output, stereo or surround? Also...are you watching tv and dvdplayer via the computer?

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by dhinged / July 31, 2013 1:31 AM PDT

I'll try adjusting the tone, but that sounds like an over-compensation for two websites whereas YouTube and my mp3 player (Winamp or Windows Media Player) will be affected even though they sound fine.

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by dhinged / July 31, 2013 1:32 AM PDT

How can you think there's nothing wrong with Netflix and Hulu when they have the exact same problem and YouTube doesn't? Dailymotion is fine too. Same with Vimeo. Same with Winamp, Windows Media Player, and iTunes. The problem is the way Netflix and Hulu compress their audio from what I can tell.

The 3.5mm audio jack is stereo, and Windows 7 is configured for that. Everything behaves exactly the same way in Windows XP as well, which I'll be moving back to since 7 just kind of sucks compared to it.

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Learning new things vs real problems
by Pepe7 / July 31, 2013 1:41 AM PDT
In reply to: followup

If I had a nickel for everyone who said they were 'switching back to XP since <insert newer version of Windows here> sucks', I would be a trillionaire ;).

Take the time to learn how to manipulate your new OS & hardware.

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fine, I shouldn't have mentioned XP
by dhinged / July 31, 2013 3:11 PM PDT

I have taken time, in fact almost a year learning Windows 7, and it's stripped out too many features, added steps to things, made things cumbersome, slow, or overly-spaced out, but that really has nothing to do with this topic as reverting will not fix this issue, so I'm sorry I brought it up. I'm a power user and things got better until Vista when Microsoft started dumbing-down the OS. It's been magnified with Windows 8, which I have almost no interest in using, along with most people apparently.

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Ok, here's my side of it.
by Oldartq / July 31, 2013 5:23 AM PDT
In reply to: followup

I use a Samsung BD player to stream Netflix and youtube (in reality..I never watch youtube except this time as a test). Youtube is actually louder than Netflix (just loudness wise). They sound about the same to me fidelity wise. As for the explosion part, I am think youtube don't have the dynamic range and in your thinking...that's good, but explosion is suppose to be loud. That's why I said neither one are wrong.

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Netflix better through PS3
by dhinged / July 31, 2013 3:14 PM PDT

I did notice that Netflix sounds (and looks) slightly better through my PS3 and its HDMI cable, but I can't tell if that's because Netflix streams better compression to consoles (which I've heard) or because the HDMI cable or the OS itself is making a difference. Regardless, it's lame to have to turn on my PS3 and switch to it when Windows is already on with a browser up... Netflix and Hulu just need to fix their audio compression (and it would be nice to get maximized video quality as well on PC).

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Not baffled.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 31, 2013 1:55 AM PDT

I've heard this complaint on Smart TVs and all I can offer is if this is that bad, don't get content from them. There is some other things you can try and folk covered that but you are repeating what others are writing about. Nothing new, no instant fix other than to get the DVD and let it play.

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only with Netflix and Hulu?
by dhinged / July 31, 2013 3:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Not baffled.

So the complaints you've heard are only with Netflix and Hulu on smart TV's? In fact, my TV is not a smart TV, it's just a regular ol' big widescreen TV with 3.5mm in, HDMI, and VGA. It's a little old fashioned, LCD, no special features, it looks great, it's just Netflix and Hulu sound like turd. I have found improvement when I switch the soundbar (going out through optical out) to its different sound modes (like Cinema or News etc) but that's still just another thing I have to fuss around with back and forth. Nevermind the commercials not being normalized with the shows...

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A soundbar can add a whole other set of issues
by Pepe7 / August 1, 2013 1:19 AM PDT

That's why ideally you would use traditional speakers & an AV receiver.

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what are you talking about?
by dhinged / August 3, 2013 1:41 AM PDT

What do you mean by traditional speakers? AV receiver? I bought the speakers at Best Buy... they're not traditional? So it's the speaker's fault that only Netflix and Hulu have the problem and it's exactly the same problem? Do you understand what you're saying here? Why is everybody pointing at everything but what appears to be the problem?

Netflix and Hulu speech is too quiet while the loud stuff is too loud. Period. It doesn't matter what screen or speakers I use. They are different than YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, ABC News, KSL, CNN video, etc etc etc, Winamp, iTunes, Windows Media Player... what is so hard to understand about this? I've tried everything. What I was looking for was some fix on Netflix and Hulu that I'm not seeing, but apparently everyone's in denial that these two sites have a problem. I am done following this post as everyone is blaming everything else but the problem.

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The complaint is the same, the sources can change.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 1, 2013 1:37 AM PDT

For example you may read this complaint about Pandora on one model then NetHulu on the next model.

You've brought up a great point and issue with today's systems. I'm not writing it's right or OK, I'm agreeing it's a little busted.

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Pandora sounds fine
by dhinged / August 3, 2013 1:43 AM PDT

Pandora is another program that sounds fine... it's just Netflix and Hulu, and they have the exact same problem. I know Hulu takes their shows from other sites like ABC and CBS or whatever, but they all seem to be using the same audio codecs or compression or whatever and it sucks balls!!!

Is there no setting on Netflix or Hulu that will fix this? They are the biggest video sites and they are screwing us the most. Netflix sounds better on PS3... why?!

I'm done following this thread as I've gotten 0 useful solutions and everybody's blaming my setup even though everything sounds fine except with these two sites.

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I agree.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 3, 2013 2:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Pandora sounds fine

The industry is broke in this respect. My thought is they are in a rush and quality is left behind. I never offered a solution but agreed that I see it too. As we are dealing with closed source software we can fix it.

You can see what sent Richard Stallman on his crusade for open software at with a printer that needed just a little tweak.

Here, same story. Will it be enough for you to start your crusade?

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I just discovered the problem
by dhinged / August 3, 2013 3:11 AM PDT

I just read that Netflix compresses their audio at 5.1 surround so some of the speech audio is lost on stereo speakers. This is pretty ridiculous considering I don't need surround sound in my living room to hear speech or explosions normally so Netflix is really hampering those of us who don't want to spend the extra money for a system they don't need.

Sure many people use 5.1 but it's always been an extra "neato" feature that I never cared about (I never liked it in theaters) and takes up more space, wires, and equipment in the living room... it's like 3-D in movies; it's nice to experience once in a while but not necessary.

So maybe when I'm in a situation where 5.1 makes more sense (like in a house where they can sit spread out untouched and I don't have to worry about wires or batteries and they will actually matter instead of being crowded together on a TV table), then I'll be able to hear Netflix dialogue without having to crank the volume up. It's really ridiculous that the speech is spread out among 5 speakers when I only have 2 ears!!!

I can't verify that Hulu uses this compression but it's my guess that they do. They really need to give us options to specify so they can stream an appropriate configuration or at least push the remaining 3 speaker streams to the existing stereo like most components do.

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