Sound off: Europe’s censorship of theater noise begins in 2019

Covid, a technology that automatically shuts off a theater’s sound for a specific time, has officially returned to the European Union. Starting in the first half of 2019, the technology will be available to theaters in France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain, and Cyprus.

At its heart, Covid works by sending inaudible sound vibrations through the air, causing the air around it to vibrate, which in turn generates artificial vibrations that emit sound. Covid was first introduced in 2016 when Cinestar, an Italian theater chain, began to turn its sound off when customers were already sitting in their seats.

“The new rules mean that we’ll allow consumers to opt out of the theme park effect that extreme silence can induce. A lot of customers are complaining that a world of sound, through iPad and smartphone alerts, actually adds to the experience. During the last 4 weeks, some 3,000 guests wanted to opt out,” Cinestar CEO, Andrea Schiavo, told the BBC.

As far as music is concerned, in an emergency, Covid tells you to turn on a film’s last song, in which case you’ll hear the crowd clapping as they are each entering their seats. In an address to the 2017 Chaos Communication Congress in Beijing, Covid CEO, Qui Bing, said his technology’s tone was “more like a fan-fare” than a deep bass.

Is it just us, or is that sound pretty awesome?


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