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How to Watch Sports TV Without Commentary

Surround Sound Jacks
Surround Sound Jacks (Photo credit: super-structure)
Sometimes you just want to enjoy your football, baseball, or other sports game in peace.  Whereas an old trick has been to bring an AM/FM radio to a ballgame so you can hear the announcers, a new hack for some television broadcasts allows watchers to turn off annoying commentators.

To do this, you will need an alternative audio feed that does not include the announcer feed.  Broadcasters want you to listen to their announcers, product plugs, banter, etc, so most do not offer this option by default. However, in some select cases, sports broadcasts are made in surround sound, and not all of the surround sound speaker channels have the announcer feed.

In a recent test, by selecting 5.1 surround on basketball game, it was possible to turn off announcing by simply muting the front right, front center, and front left speakers.  The rear speakers did not contain the announcer feed.

...and don't think this just applies to expensive surround sound set-ups; you can select surround sound if you have a television that supports it, even if you don't have the correct speaker arrangement, and experiment with the speaker cabling until you find the right channels for stereo, minus the banter.  If you can't mute the offending speaker for some reason, simply unplug it.

It also pays to check the SAP audio feed and other audio feeds on the off-chance it's something you'd prefer to listen to.

This trick is great if you get sick of listening to the announcer, but it can also be good in noisy environments where the game may not be the main attraction, such as bars and rec rooms.  Of course, it is also possible with this setup to turn off announcer audio, listen to the game, and turn on captions so you can read what's going on without having another voice in what may be an already crowded room.

It will be difficult for broadcasters to defeat this measure, because doing so while maintaining audio integrity could mean upgrading the announcer's recording hardware or drastically changing the way their audio mixing is done.

Just one more tip from Lotito Technical Services to help make your next family get-together a little more enjoyable!