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Dipping into V-chips

Groups school FCC on blocking technology

WASHINGTON — Broadcasters, TV-set makers and kidvid advocates told the Federal Communications Commission Monday how the V-chip should work.

Broadcasters, in joint comments filed with cablers and the Motion Picture Assn. of America, said the V-chip should not block shows just because they do not carry a rating. In addition, the comments urged the FCC not to require the V-chip to decode more than one rating system.

The V-chip, which TV manufacturers could begin installing in sets next year, will allow parents to block the reception of a TV show based on its program rating.

Block shows

In contrast to broadcasters, a coalition of kidvid advocates said the V-chip should be able to block shows that are not rated. That could be bad news for NBC, which is not using the same rating system as the rest of the television industry. In theory, if a parent decided to block all programs not tagged with the industry’s standard rating system, it would block all NBC programming.

While the FCC has urged TV set makers to begin installing V-chips by next summer, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Assn. says its members need more time to gear up. CEMA also urged the FCC not to mandate that the V-chip decode more than one rating system.

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