Toshiba to release ‘mumble-proof’ TV

Are you the type of TV viewer who enjoys watching foreign, art house movies with the volume up and the subtitles obscuring the screen? Do you also find yourself turning on the subtitles with UK-produced series? Apparently, most of us don’t, as the BBC was quick to learn when it aired the Daphne du Maurier’s gothic classic, Jamaica Inn.

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“Mumblegate” was the word on everyone’s lips as viewers took to Twitter and politicians took to the House of Commons to complain about the BBC-made, taxpayer-funded production. Actor Sean Harris bore the brunt of the criticism, as did the Cornish dialect and accent, but it soon became clear the issue was larger than both the character and the county.

Both SS-GB and Taboo were next in the firing line, with commentators asking whether it was thesound production or the style of line delivery to blame? Most importantly, can we ever hope to portray authentic voices or theatre-style delivery in an understandable way?

The final straw

All three of these TV shows were tutted over, but once the disorder touched the BBC’s signature 18th-century drama Poldark, things got serious. Perhaps Tewkesbury TV aerial repair firms like were inundated with calls. Whatever the cause, Lord Blunkett called on Ofcom to investigate the rise in mumbling on the BBC and to do something about it. He complained that viewers had presumed the fault was with their own TV sets.

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Toshiba to the rescue

However, the Japanese electronics giant Toshiba now claims that they know what the source of the problem is and they know how to fix it. Furthermore, their new mumble-proof TV will make mumbling a thing of the past. The problem lies in the integrated speakers found on flat-screen TVs. These speakers are small compared to the old box TVs that had cone speakers. Toshiba’s new feature on their latest model will provide a superior audio system that will essentially deliver a clear and true audio stream.

However, not all research supports the flat screen theory. Tim Heath from the University of Edinburgh believes that the directors are to blame. With so much emphasis placed on the visual, he claims that sound quality is often overlooked and that most directors don’t have enough technical experience to correct the issue.

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