Toshiba TVs (in Japan) will be the first to feature good old Dubbly's newest technology, Dolby Volume, a smart system aimed at leveling off eardrum-shattering sources and content—hopefully eradicating the twin evils of loud-arse TV commercials and poorly-mastered MP3s. Here's how it works:
The system "continually monitors (or 'listens' to) the audio at all times and performs content-dependent processing...[on]all types of audio." The processing isn't just straight-up compression, it's more of a smart EQ that takes dialogue and music into concern, and adjusts many frequency bands. This has the benefit of keeping funky artifacts out of the process, but it does of course take more horsepower to do, hence the slow roll-out. The first TVs to have it will be Toshiba's REGZA ZH500 and ZV500 series LCD HDTVs, which will be out in Japan next month. No word yet on the US (or AU) arrival.
In case you're wondering, Dolby Volume does have an advanced "night" mode that lets you hear everything in big epic films without waking the significant other kind enough to put up with your midnight epic marathons. That's all we know for now—when it hits the US (hopefully this year) we'll test it with American broadcast TV, a boatload of DVDs and Blu-rays, and an iPod, to see for ourselves how it fixes those nagging problems. [FAQ via Press Release]