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On the fly censoring of TV content

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 30 Jan 2007 19:57 User comments (10)

On the fly censoring of TV content A patent application submitted by Matthew T. Jarman of Salt Lake City seeks to filter out foul language "on the fly" from being heard from your TV set. The system described, which uses a computer and a PVR, monitors the closed captioning that comes with most programs for obscene words. Users can select what they want blocked and if it comes up, the system will briefly mute the TV to spare the viewer from hearing it.
The settings are protected by a user ID and password. Additionally, the PVR had a mentioned method where it could determine if the use of a word is for a good or bad reason, like "bitch" for example, which can be insulting to hear, but not if it refers to a dog.

User preferences can also be used to block out entire channels or specific programs with the use of keywords for example. This differs from the V-Chip in that it allows viewers to enforce blocking between programming with the same rating.

However, since there is quite often a delay in the audio playback and closed captioning system, and the patent describes no way to get around this problem, you have to wonder if such a system (blocking obscene words on-the-fly) will actually work in practice.

Ars Technica

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10 user comments

130.1.2007 20:15

I dont think he will get a patent for this. dvd players have been doing this for years.

230.1.2007 20:45

Weird, this sounds like some Guardian hardware that does exactly what is mentioned, it reads the subtitles and removes the sound when an obscene word is in the sentence. If, however, this method is better then the current one and only mutes the sound when the actual word is said then this patent maybe awarded as I don't think that any system at the moment can specifically target words (and do so in a 'smart' way like is described in the news article.

330.1.2007 20:57

dvd players have been doing it.. but not regular tv.. and u can pick what words u wanna hear.. like if u wanna hear "ass".. then u can hear "ass".. but if u wanna block out "bitch".. then u can block out "bitch".

431.1.2007 5:09

how do i do this on a dvd player (pm me please) :)

531.1.2007 7:07

what?! You can do that on a DVD player? Well thats news to me.

61.2.2007 10:20

clearplay on dvd players some boxes read cc and replace the text also mute audio been done before

71.2.2007 10:20

yeah... me too. but its retarded anyway!

81.2.2007 15:44

This sounds pointless...

94.2.2007 10:44

Only pointless for those that don't want this service. Fact is, some people just don't want that kind of language in their homes. It's narrow sighted to insist that people should just accept what comes on the tv 'as is' or just not watch it. You can attract a far greater audience if the viewer is allowed some choices in how they view the show. Now, how this differs from other existing services... well Clearplay only works on DVDs, not TV shows. I don't know how different it is from the Guardian tool. I heard they were going to start building this type of feature into some TVs.

105.2.2007 3:29

That's just retarded.

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