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Tuesday 20th August 2019

TV 'mumbling' sound complaints could be a thing of the past due to BBC tech breakthrough

80% of trialists believe experimental approach was an improvement

Complaints about sound problems in TV programmes might be muted by a tech breakthrough from the BBC.

A new feature being trialled by viewers saw 80% of those watching give it the thumbs up, with thousands believing the experimental approach had improved their telly experience.

The project is aimed at assisting the millions of Brits suffering with hearing loss.

But it could also benefit other viewers who watch shows while significant external noise is present, such as commuters who stream programming as they travel.

Did you have sound problems watching Happy Valley? (Credit: BBC YouTube)

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Project head Lauren Ward said, according to The Mirror: "The goal is accessibility and making sure the stories we are trying to tell can be accessed by lots of different people with lots of different needs."

The unnamed development reportedly enables dialogue to be perceived as 'less muffled' by tuning out background noise and boosting the characters' voices.

We have a TV in another room without a sound bar and the sound is less good. I think that is part of the problem.

It is understood to have been tested out during a recent episode of Casualty, with 3,300 people giving it a go on website BBC Taster.

BBC favourites such as Poldark, Happy Valley and Jamaica Inn have all been criticised for containing 'mumbling'.

Viewers also complained about the audio in Jamaica Inn (Credit: BBC YouTube)

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But the problem has not been limited to the Beeb, with Britain's Got Talent, The Virtues and ITV drama Marcella also slammed over sound issues.

Bodyguard and Line of Duty star Keeley Hawes previously suggested that flatscreen TVs may have contributed to 'mumblegate'.

Keeley has a theory (Credit: BBC/World Productions/Des Willie)

She said in 2017: "My take, and I think it has been established, is that there is a huge change in how we watch TV and what we watch it on.

"I know in my house we have a flat screen, as most people do, and we have a sound bar.

"We have a TV in another room without a sound bar and the sound is less good. I think that is part of the problem."

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