Vuvuzelas create buzz at World Cup

June 15, 2010, 6:24 AM HST · Updated June 15, 6:24 AM
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By Fred Guzman

MauiNow.com

For better or worse, the biggest talk of the World Cup has not been about the action on the field but, rather, the steady buzzing sound emanating from the stands and serving as an irritant for television audiences around the world.

The constant noise is generated by plastic horns known as “vuvuzelas,” which are a tradition among South African fans. Vuvuzelas make a sound that has TV audiences wondering if a swarm of bees is stuck in their home monitors.

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FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, has already said it will not ban the use of vuvuzelas in the stadiums our of respect for local tradition.

Fortunately for TV viewers who find the noise so obnoxious, relief is on the way. The company proving the feed for the World Cup plans to double its audio filters in an effort to reduce the sound, although the filters also will minimize other crowd noise in the stadiums, such as chants and cheers.

Several broadcasters have already taken their own measures to reduce the drone. The French changed their microphones, replacing them with mics commentators hold close to their mouths to better filter sound.

The BBC is considering giving viewers the option of muting ambient noise while maintaining game commentary through its “red button” digital service. Viewers would push a red button on their remote control to receive the quieter broadcast on a separate channel.

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