Why do so few systems get this right?

If they're muted and i turn the volume up, then they should un-mute themselves.  Or, at the very least they should indicate that volume will do nothing since they're currently muted.  I mean seriously, who turns the volume up on their system but wants it to stay muted?  How about we optimize for the common case here *grrrrr*

Comments (13)
  1. Anon says:

    I offten use the mute, to "Prepare" a volume level. I mute adjust the volume to aprox where I want it then un mute when I want the sound.

  2. CyrusN says:

    And you, my friend, are not the common case 🙂

  3. Ryan says:

    My home theatre will allow you to turn the volume down while it’s muted but the moment you press volume up it unmutes. I’ve always wondered why Windows didn’t work that way.

  4. AndrewSeven says:

    I use mute when I turn on the TV late at night so that I can turn down the volume before it blasts.

    Note that the TV seems to always shows a hard to miss "MUTE" on the screen when muted.

  5. Eric says:

    I’m not sure there *is* a common case. Like AndrewSeven, I often mute in order to lower the volume.

    However, my previous job involved automating a lot of electronics, including very high-end audio/video equipment, and most of that equipment would automatically unmute as soon as you changed the volume.

  6. The problem with auto-unmute is that it violates continuity. Normally, hitting + or – changes the volume by a little bit; therefore, hitting it my mistake (e.g., because you really meant to change the brightness but your finger slipped) doesn’t cause much harm. The volume goes from 20% to 25%. But in the auto-unmute case, it changes from 0% (muted) to say 50% (unmuted). This can be quite a shock if you’re you’re trying to watch TV without disturbing your roommate.

  7. Eric says:

    There really need to be three mute states. Mute off (normal volume control), mute on (volume changes unmute) and mute on (volume changes don’t unmute). It’s the only really sensible solution, but I’ve never seen it on any kind of equipment.

  8. symonc says:

    A few years back I bought a new Sony TV, which was the first Sony I’d owned. One of the features that impressed me was that you could lower the volume and the TV would stay muted – a must-have feature if you have kids who insist on having the TV at FULL VOLUME all the time.

    Now when I want to watch TV in the evenings, and not wake the kids up, I turn it on, hit mute straightaway and can then mess with the volume before unmuting at a reasonable level.

  9. ejarvi says:

    I’ve seen auto un-mute that gradually increases the volume on unmute to the preset level rather than spiking from 0% volume to say 50% volume (or whatever the preset was) and jarring everyone in the process.

  10. CyrusN says:

    Reponding to many of you: If i’m lowergin the volume i have no problem with it staying muted. After all, why would i lower it when i was hearing nothing unless i knew that it was muted already.

    It’s when i’m raising the volume that it becomes important.

    Good point about roommates through and the volume jumping to 50% suddenly 🙂

    Although i don’t see how the normal system’s make that any better.

  11. Funny that you brought this up. My TV and car radio do this, so I too consider this to be the "correct" functionality.

    But ever since I first got a computer keyboard with volume and mute buttons, I’ve been annoyed that Windows got this behavior wrong. Seriously, there should be a registry option somewhere that affects how volume up, down, and mute behave.

    Anyway, I’ve solved this problem by writing an AutoHotKey script (which is a very cool program, and I think Windows needs this sort of thing built-in–but perhaps built on top of .NET instead of an obtuse scripting language).

    Pressing VolumeUp will unmute, as well as show on on-screen display of the current volume level (so I don’t have to install IntelliType). I’m considering adding support for Shift+VolumeUp changing the volume without unmuting.

  12. Garry Trinder says:

    Radio DJ will dislike if their control panel will turn off mute every time they adjust volume.

    Only this way – separate mute button – you can connect different compositions – using fade-in/out vs. cut

    As well – volume control are same for multiple output channels – does not make any sense to turn on/off mute globally. Possibly your TV will allow sometimes to control sound in headsets separately from main one 😉

  13. SteveBal says:

    I think those who care about device, app, and home theatre volume control to this level of detail will be plesantly surprised by what we have in store for Longhorn.

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