ARRIS (www.arrisi.com) has added audio normalization, along with several other new features, to its VIPr Transcoder/Re-Encoder.Audio normalization is the equalization of variations in audio level between a program and an advertisement. With its new software release, the VIPr continuously measures and calculates a running average of the audio levels in the video stream. If the audio level of a subsequent advertisement is significantly higher than the program audio, the VIPr will adjust relevant parameters in the advertisement's audio bit stream, instructing the set-top box to reduce the audio levels to approximately the same level as the program audio.Another new feature is Active Format Description (AFD), which lets the content provider direct the display mode of the video picture when an HD program is converted to SD. Additionally, the VIPr now boasts a new Input Stream Redundancy feature, which allows a user to configure a second redundant transcode. Many cable operators use redundant ring architectures to distribute video over wide areas. If the primary service fails or has degraded performance, the VIPr automatically switches to the backup service.