When I watch movies or TV series at home, I always do so with the remote in hand. Not because I'm itching to change the channel, but because many blockbuster type movies and action shows seemed to be engineered with audio shock and awe in mind (even shows like BBC's Sherlock can be guilty of this), where a moment of calm and quiet dialogue is suddenly pierced by jarring action scenes that can mark you as the "problem neighbor". Lifehacker shares a solution for this "quiet then really loud" issue...but with a catch.
Sound Lock sits in your system tray and lets you set the maximum volume for your entire computer, so no matter how loud things may get, you won't wake up your neighbors. Just install it, click on the system tray icon, and move the slider down until you reach your desired level. When you watch your movie, the really loud parts should be lowered to the same level as the quiet parts.
The catch? It's only compatible for watching content on a Windows computer or a home theater PC, so Mac users will have to fire up Bootcamp or Parallels/VMware Fusion, while viewers watching via cable, satellite, DVD/Blu-ray, or streaming media boxtops are best served by their HDTV's built-in "night time mode" for Dynamic Range Control (the Playstation 3 has the option to average out the decibels under the Video Settings).