What Do TV Volume Numbers Mean? (Explained!)

TVs have volume numbers from 0 to 100. They don’t indicate any unit when they display those volume numbers. Therefore, you might wonder what those TV volume numbers mean.

In this article, we discuss how the volume numbers of your TV work. We also explain why TV manufacturers don’t display decibel volume.

How Does The Volume Numbers Of Your TV Work?

TV volume numbers are percentage values from the maximum audio output level of the TV; from 0% to 100%. These volume numbers control the TV sound output from silent to maximum volume.

TV volume numbers are not linear to the sound output power. They are instead logarithmic.

Humans don’t perceive sound linearly to sound power. We perceive it logarithmically. This is why we use the logarithmic decibel scale to measure sound pressure levels.

For example, we’ll hear a 20 dB sound twice as loud as a 10 dB sound. However, the 20 dB sound is 10 times more powerful than the 10 dB sound. Similarly, a 30 dB sound is 100 times more powerful than a 20 dB sound. But we don’t perceive a 100 times sound level increase from 20 dB to 30 dB.

Because they are logarithmic, TV volume numbers allow you to adjust the volume level linearly to your perceived sound level. Each increment of the volume number will give a similar loudness increase approximately.

However, TV volume numbers are not in decibels. They simply represent a logarithmic scale that divides the maximum sound output level of the TV to allow you to control the perceived loudness linearly. In the next section, we’ll talk about this further.

Why Don’t TV Manufacturers Use Decibel Volume Numbers?

TVs and other sound devices can’t show you the decibel sound level you hear. The sound you hear depends on many factors your TV can’t control.

It depends on the distance between you and the TV. Sound pressure decreases with the distance from the sound source. Therefore, when you’re far away from the TV, you’ll hear a lower decibel sound than when you’re right next to the TV.

The recorded volume of the sound can also be different. For example, different TV programs can have different recorded sound levels.

When you have external speakers connected to your TV, those external speakers can have independent volume controls. Therefore, the TV volume numbers won’t directly represent the sound output volume.

With cable boxes connected to your TV, the sound volume you set on the cable box also affects the TV sound output.

Therefore, the TV’s volume indicator can’t show you the decibel sound volume you hear. The best they can do is to show you the maximum decibel sound level at each volume number when you use the TV’s built-in speakers. However, this is not that useful because the sound level you hear depends on the distance between you and the TV.

Because of these reasons, TVs and other sound devices don’t show you the decibel sound level.

Do TV Volume Numbers Have The Same Loudness Between Different TVs?

The same volume number can have different loudness on different TVs.

Different TVs can have in-built speakers with different wattages. Therefore, they can have different maximum sound outputs. For example, the volume level 10 on a TV with higher power in-built speakers will be louder than the volume level 10 on a TV with lower power in-built speakers.

Volume numbers might give different loudness even when the two TVs have the same wattage speakers. Volume numbers are not standard, and they are not in decibels. How volume numbers translate to sound output power depends on each TV’s sound control electronics. Therefore, volume numbers can behave differently between different TV models.

Can You Measure Your TV’s Volume In Decibels?

You can measure the sound volume of your TV or any other sound device using a decibel meter. To measure the decibel sound level accurately, you have to use a dedicated decibel meter.

You can also use smartphone sound meter apps to measure the sound volume. These applications are usually less accurate than dedicated decibel meters and can only give you an approximate measurement.

On Android, you can use the Sound Meter app, and on iOS, you can use the Decibel X app. The accuracy of these decibel meter apps depends on the phone model and its microphone.


TV volume numbers divide the maximum sound output level of your TV from 0% to 100%. They allow you to control the volume linearly to how you perceive sound level.

Volume numbers are not in decibels, and you can’t compare volume numbers between different TV models. If you want to measure the sound volume you hear, you have to use a decibel meter.


Sound Pressure Level

Decibel Meter