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Definition: V-chip


An electronic circuit in a TV that parents can use to block TV programs they consider objectionable for their children. The FCC mandated that post January 1, 2000, all TVs 13" and larger contain the V-chip. TV programs receive ratings based on violence and sexual content, and this rating is transmitted in the TV's vertical blanking interval (VBI). The V-chip is a programmable closed-caption controller chip that decodes the signals. For existing TVs, a V-chip set-top box can be added.

Not Widely Used
To date, the V-chip has not been widely used because parents found setting it up confusing, and there is a general lack of awareness about it. In addition, the V-chip does not have any effect on commercials that parents might find objectionable.