By Scott Rolfe - Communication's Director, The Dove Foundation
One of the advantages of being the Communications Director at The Dove
Foundation is that I get to review any new technologies being introduced to help
families enjoy entertainment without gratuitous sex, language or violence. One
such product that has appeared recently is an RCA DVD player that uses
“ClearPlay” filtering technology.
This DVD player is designed to actually edit films
“on-the-fly” allowing families to watch movies that contain objectionable
material without viewing or hearing the bad stuff.
When I received my player, I eagerly opened the box and
connected the player to my TV, put the batteries in the remote, and powered the
sleekly designed unit on. Like any red-blooded American male, I set the
instruction aside (without looking at them of course) and started working my way
through the on-screen menu.
Out of the box, the player’s “ClearPlay” filtering
technology is turned off. When you select the Parental Control feature for the
first time, the player will ask you to enter a 4 digit pass-code that will turn
the “ClearPlay” filtering system on and lock the player’s filtering settings.
By default, the player will filter out all objectionable
content. You can easily modify the allowable content by selecting or
deselecting settings in the following areas: 3 Violence settings; 4 Sex &
Nudity settings; 6 Language settings. Another feature allows you to control
what type of films can or cannot be watched based on their MPAA rating. All
settings can be overridden by entering the pass-code.
The RCA player comes pre-loaded with filters for 100 of
the most popular movies. You can browse through an alphabetical listing to see
if the film you are about the watch has its filter installed. If not, you may
download filters for hundreds of films for a small fee from the ClearPlay
website and burn the filters onto a CD. When you place a CD containing filters
into the player, it will allow you to select the filters you wish to load.
After your selection process is completed, the filters are loaded and you can
begin enjoying the show.
During my review process, I watched several films. I was
impressed with the way the player handled the different types of filtering. If
a bad word is spoken, the volume of your TV is momentarily muted. While you
cannot hear the words, you can still read the lips of the actor or actress but
this is not unlike watching a movie that has been edited for television.
Where the rubber meets the road is when you come to a
scene containing graphic violence or nudity. When this occurs, the player
“skips” over the objectionable content and picks up immediately afterward. This
jump is only noticeable in a few of the many times it may happen during the
viewing of a film. If you have seen the movie in a non-filtered version, you
may experience a brief sense of time travel; however, this is a very small price
to pay in order to view a film without its objectionable content. For the most
part, you will not even be aware that a “skip” has taken place.
In the movies I watched, 100% of the objectionable content
was removed. While not all films will meet Dove’s criteria even with filtering,
most PG/PG-13 and some R rated films will be sanitized to a level that would
meet or exceed our standards.
All in all, I was extremely impressed with the ease of
setup and use of the player and would highly recommend it to any family that
likes to watch films without objectionable material.
For more information, visit the ClearPlay website