Technology Filters Out Bad Words

A recent study found that American are offended more by bad language on TV and in movies than they are by nudity, sex, violence, and depictions of drug use, but there is a technological fix that lets them remove offensive language from the audio stream before it ever hits their ears.

Principle Solutions' patented TVGuardian technology detects foul language by monitoring the hidden closed-captioned text associated with every broadcast channel and compares each word against a dictionary of hundreds of offensive words and phrases. When it detects such words or phrases, it mutes those words from the audio stream and displays a profanity-free version of the dialogue in a text box on screen.

The technology is available as a separate device connected to the TV set or as a software component built into many TVs, DVD players, or VCRs. It is already deployed in more than 10 million TVs and DVD players, and is now being offered to the leading cable and satellite providers.

It works with more than 95 percent accuracy on most TV shows, movie channels, DVDs, videotapes, and pay-per-view programming. It does not work for programs that aren't closed captioned or many live broadcasts, such as news or sporting events. Though currently only available in English, TVGuardian could work with other languages simply by translating its dictionary of blocked words into those languages, explains Britt Bennett, Principle Solutions' president.

TVGuardian allows parents to set different filter levels, ranging from tolerant to strict, and can even be programmed to filter out religious or racial references.

"Current parental controls are based on the TV and movie rating systems and lock out an entire program or movie altogether," Bennett says. TVGuardian is different because it allows people to still watch a show, but without the offensive language. "People want to watch, but they don't want to hear the bad words."

According to Bennett, only about 2 percent of all movies and TV programs are 'G-Rated,' leaving about 98 percent of all available programming with some level of foul language. "Not many TV shows actually have nudity or excessive violence, but offensive language is in practically everything. Why block the entire show because there is an 'L' in the rating?"

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