The V-Chip Essay

674 Words Sep 28th, 1999 3 Pages
The V-Chip

What is a V-chip? This term has become a buzz word for any discussion evolving telecommunications regulation and television ratings, but not too many reports define the new technology in its fullest form. A basic definition of the V-chip; is a microprocessor that can decipher information sent in the vertical blanking of the NTSC signal, purposefully for the control of violent or controversial subject matter. Yet, the span of the new chip is much greater than any working definition can encompass. A discussion of the V-chip must include a consideration of the technical and ethical issues, in addition to examining the constitutionally of any law that might concern standards set by the US government. Yet in the space provided for
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The NTSC signal includes extra information space known as the subcarrier and Vertical blanking interval. As explained in the quotation from Mr. Marquis, the V-chips will use a certain section of this space to send simple rating numbers and points that will be compared to the personality settings in the chip. Many new technologies are being developed for smart-TV or data broadcast on this part of the NTSC signal. Basically the V-chip will severely limit the bandwidth for high performance transmission of data on the
NTSC signal. There is also to be cost to this new technology, which will be passed to consumers. Estimates are that each chip will cost six dollars wholesale and must be designed into the television's logic. The V-chip could easily push the price of televisions up by twenty five or more dollars during the first years of production. The much simpler solution of set top boxes allows control for those who need it and allow those consumers who don't to save money and use new data technology. Another cost will most definitely be levied to television advertisers for the upgrade of the transmitting equipment. Weather the V-chip encoding signal is added upstream of the transmitter or directly into uplink units and other equipment intended for broadcast; this cost will have to compensated for in advertising sales and prices. The V-chip regulation may also require another staff employee at most stations to effectively rate locally

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