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New DVD player that filters out offensive material now available


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A DVD player that filters out objectionable material in movies is now available for purchase. The technology allows viewers to watch such films as “Matrix Reloaded,” “Catch Me If You Can” and even “Braveheart” without the overtly sexual or violent scenes and foul language.

RCA is now selling the DVD player, called the RCA DRC232N DVD Player with ClearPlay, at stores such as Wal-Mart. The DVD player utilizes ClearPlay technology, which consists of filters that prevent objectionable material from appearing on the screen or soundtrack when a DVD is played. Each filter is customized for a specific movie title, and the result is almost seamless so that it does not distract from the film. Currently about 500 movies are included in the ClearPlay database, and more are added regularly.

“I think there may be a market for something that gives the parent more control and does it in a way that doesn’t alter the original presentation,” Dave Arland, an RCA spokesman, said in an Associated Press report.

A steady lowering of standards for what is allowed in films today is leading many people to do something about it in their own homes.

“The reality is people have pushed the limit so far, that there are people who want to have that kind of control,” Arland said.

An on-screen menu allows the viewer to activate filters for three main categories on the DVD player: violence, explicit scenes and nudity and language. Fourteen subcategories include moderate violence, graphic violence, disturbing images, sensual content, crude sexual content, nudity, explicit sexual situations, vain reference to deity, crude language and humor, ethnic and social slurs, cursing, strong profanity, graphic vulgarity and explicit drug use.


For each movie, the viewer may choose the settings they prefer, activating individual categories or all 14 at once. No special discs are required, and viewers can use the DVDs they already own or rent from a store.

The DVD player comes with 100 movie titles already in the database, and more may be downloaded at www.clearplay.com to be transferred to the player via a burned CD.

Suggested retail price for the DVD players with ClearPlay is $79, though walmart.com listed the unit at $69.84.

While many Americans will welcome the new technology, some are fighting against it. Members of the Motion Picture Association of America and the Directors Guild of America have sued ClearPlay and other companies, claiming the filters violate trademarks and alter artistic works.

“ClearPlay software edits movies to conform to ClearPlay’s vision of a movie instead of letting audiences see, and judge for themselves, what writers wrote, what actors said and what directors envisioned,” the Directors Guild said in a statement.

When films are edited for play on network television, the directors and studios make the changes themselves, unlike with ClearPlay. The filter maker’s stance is that its software is not illegal because it does not alter the original DVD.

In 1996, the federal government mandated that all new television sets include a V-chip, which allows parents to block their children from seeing shows containing violence or sex. And for a few years, units that block out most objectionable language on TV programs and movies have been available. Two of the more popular ones are “TV Guardian” and “Curse Free TV.”