Signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, V-Chip is still a somewhat unknown technology. Itís a form of parental television controls that restricts program viewing based on the television rating system.
This technology has been in place for several years now and most television stations are sending the encoded signals that make the process work, which are transmitted on line 21 of the vertical blanking area (the same location as close captioned information).
The challenges to this law, passed by the U.S. congress, have basically cleared the courts and by this writing virtually every television programmer has agreed to and implemented the encoding process which the V-Chip uses inside your newer TV sets. You can also buy (or in some cases obtain free of charge) a set-top box that implements the V-chip in older TV sets (those made before the turn of the 21st century).
Invented by an Canadian engineer, this technology is in wide use in North America, however other nations may not have adopted this technology nor implemented broadcast standards to comply with the system.
All sets 13Ē or larger made for the many markets around the world after the year 2000 have this patented technology chip included, itís only a matter of parents choosing to use the system, the problems is not people donít know about this feature inside their TV sets and few use it!
When you do the ďset-upĒ on your TV set you can select a menu option for the V-Chip settings. You can then select a password to protect the system from tampering (although if your kids get a hold of the manual they might be able to over-ride your password, so itís best to lock the manual away). Then you select the level of blocking, of which there are about 12 levels based on age and program content.
These levels can be quite a selection! You can chose by age levels (0 to 7, 7 to 14, 14 to 17), by type of content (V for violence, L for language and S for sexual content). News and sports shows, along was a few cable networks are exempt or are not transmitting blocking information, but about 90% of everything that comes through cable or broadcast TV will be affected by the system.
Both the television rating system (which uses the age and letters listed above) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) rating system (P, PG, PG-14, M and X) are supported and sensed by the chip.
You can override the blocking at anytime by going into ďset-upĒ entering your password and turning the V-chip system off (just remember to re-initialize it after you are finished watching adult oriented programming).
Camcorders 2004 | Capture Cards 2004 | HD-DVD
From our archives we have these articles from the 2002 Issues: