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January 21, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:52pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Soundview Technologies Inc demonstrated a prototype of the V-Chip Converter censor device for use with television sets at the Winter Computer Electronics Show at the beginning of the mont. The Converter is an external plug-in device that responds to Vchip signals. We are looking at a retail price of $40 to $50 which should make it affordable to most American families and be an alternative to buying a new TV, said David Schmidt, vice- president and director of technology at the Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm. We are ready to go into production as soon as the final ratings are adopted. We are in the process of informing the broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission, the lawmakers and national groups advocating the V- chip that this product is available now, and that the American public can benefit from the technology as soon as a rating system is finalised, said Soundview president Lee Browne. Soundview plans to release the product in the US this fall. President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Bill into law last February (CI No 2,844). The Act includes a section entitled Parental Choice in Television Programming which, similar to on-line guidance, creates a Federal mandate requiring all televisions built after February 1998 with screens of 13 or bigger to contain a V-chip to enable parents to block programs based on the new rating system yet to be finalized. In the demonstration at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show, the V-chip Converter showed a row of six lights that corresponded to six program rating levels: TV-Y for shows acceptable for all ages; TV-Y7 for shows unsuitable for children under seven years of age; TV-G for all audiences; TV-PG suggesting parental guidance; TV14 for shows unsuitable for children under 14 and TV-M for mature audiences only. It continually indicated the classification for each programme. When TV-PG is selected, the device turns the TV-14 and TV-M lights red indicating no access to these levels, and any programs rated above that selected are instantly blocked. If a determined child tries to circumvent the system, the device cuts the television set’s power and prevents any viewing whatsoever.

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