The V-Chip is an electronic chip which works in conjunction with your television, VCR, or cable box. If you choose to utilize the V-Chip feature, you select a rating level you feel appropriate for your children. V-Chip reads the transmitted ratings code for all programming and will automatically deny access to programming which exceeds your preset ratings limitations.
How is the V-Chip different than the TVGuardian?
TVGuardian and the V-Chip are two very different parental control devices. They are complimentary products, not competing products. The V-Chip is merely an automated on/off switch, while TVGuardian is an automatic editing device. In order for the V-Chip to work, a ratings system must be broadcast with the television signal or video. If a video or program’s rating exceeds the allowed rating set by the parents, the V-Chip blocks the entire program.
TVGuardian, on the other hand, fills a void left by the V-Chip. Most parents that don’t want their children watching certain programs, simply don’t let their children watch them. We believe the biggest problem is programs made for children, with content suitable for children, except for the offensive language.
TVGuardian solves this problem by automatically editing out the offensive language. In addition, it works on movies played on your own VCR.
How does the V-Chip work?
The V-Chip intercepts a ratings code transmitted by broadcasters or video. It then interprets the code and transmits a signal to your television giving instructions to deny access to all programming or video exceeding your preset ratings limitations. When the television receives this code, channels displaying inappropriate programming, will display an “unauthorized to receive message” on a blank screen.
Who establishes the ratings system?
Section 551 of the 1996 Telecommunications Law requires that a committee composed of parents, television broadcasters, television programming producers, cable, operators, appropriate public interest groups, and other interested individuals from the private sector with fairly balanced political affiliations and points of view determine the ratings standards, within one year from the appointment of initial members. If this panel fails to establish a ratings system, responsibility for establishing a ratings system reverts to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
See MPAA Rating system.
See V-Chip rating guidelines
Will the V-Chip limit programming access to adults?
Any device equipped with V-Chip will have a controlled access button, allowing adults the choice to activate or deactivate V-Chip. V-Chip works similarly to closed captioning, the user determines whether to utilize it’s capabilities. If a user prefers unlimited programming options, simply don’t turn on V-Chip.
Purchasing the V-Chip
The V-Chip is not available in a stand-alone device. Newer TVs will have the capability, but it may not be the solution for your family. See these comparable products as a viable, and often better, alternative: