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TV Makers To Meet V-Chip Deadline

June 10, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ V-chips have made their way into a growing number of new television sets.

The Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday that most television manufacturers have put the blocking technology in at least half of their new sets. They predicted TV makers should have few problems meeting a year-end deadline to install the blocking technology in all new televisions.

V-chips are intended to give viewers, primarily parents, the option of blocking shows they find objectionable. A 1996 telecommunications law requires that all new TV sets 13 inches and larger must be equipped with the v-chip by Jan. 1, 2000.

Last year, the FCC imposed a July 1 deadline on manufacturers to install the technology in at least half their new sets. Nearly all of them met the deadline, FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani said.

``The v-chip is about to become a reality,″ she said during a news conference where the technology was demonstrated.

The manufacturers in compliance represent 90 percent of all television sets sold in the country. Information was not available on the remaining 10 percent, but Tristani added that ``we have no reason to believe they won’t comply with the deadlines.″

Panasonic announced that its 1999 television models are 100 percent compliant with v-chip integration.

The v-chip works in coordination with an electronically coded TV ratings system. Most television and cable networks use letter notations or age-based ratings to flag violence, sexual situations, crude language and suggestive dialogue.

Tristani took aim at recent reports claiming that parents were slow to embrace the v-chip, saying ``the system hasn’t even been in place yet.″

``Let’s give the v-chip a chance before we rush to any judgments about what parents want,″ she said.

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association, announced his organization has launched a publicity campaign intended to educate consumers about v-chips and how they work.

The group will create a logo and sticker that retailers can use to help people identify v-chip equipped television sets.

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