Sony Signs for DVD Sanitizer

Sony Corp. is the latest DVD manufacturer to license that technology's equivalent of the V-chip, according to the patent holder.

The electronics giant has signed a deal with Digital Choice of Texas for its various parental control patents for "stored media playback equipment," including DVD players.

The technology allows users to restrict playback of violent or sexually explicit portions of DVDs or, in some cases, to substitute other prerecorded material if the DVD includes alternate scenes or both a rated and unrated version, according to Leslie Ware, partner in Monts & Ware, Dallas, which represents Digital Choice.

With sanitizing software like ClearPlay allowing for the editing of movies by viewers, Ware figures that studios will increasingly offer DVD's with alternate scenes so that they can, in effect, have more creative control over the sanitizing.

Ware points out that there is pressure from Congress to give parents more control over their families' media diets. He sees one of two paths: "Either third parties like ClearPlay will edit the films, or the studios will. I think the studios will opt for shooting substitute scenes. "
With the Sony deal, virtually every DVD player--with the exception of Chinese imports--have licensed the Digital Choice technology.

Sony joins a Who's Who® of manufacturers that have licensed the technology, including Matsushita, Samsung, LG Electronics, Sanyo, Sharp and Orion.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.