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TVGuardian can filter out cussing and foul words

SHARE TVGuardian can filter out cussing and foul words

Just imagine these movie and TV moments:

After he outwits the bad guys with his gadgetry and smokescreens, James Bond has "hugs" with the film's exotic woman.Rhett Butler tells a dejected Scarlet, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a `darn.' "

And while trying to squeeze a confession out of a murder suspect, "NYPD Blue" detective Andy Sipowitz screams, "What did you do with the body, you . . . `jerk.' "

The changes are possible thanks to a new filtering device that promises to mute 100 foul words and phrases from your viewing experience.

With the TVGuardian, "sex" becomes "hugs," "damn" changes to "darn" and "jerk" replaces a variety of words that aren't printed in a family newspaper.

The TVGuardian is a small black box that connects with your TV and VCR. It works only with movies and television programs that contain closed captioning.

Throughout the program, whenever one of the predetermined words or phrases would be said, the TVGuardian mutes the sound and an alternate phrase appears as a caption.

Phrases such as "for heaven's sake," "oh crud" and "man" are among the most common replacement words. The alternative phrases are supposed to offer the same essential meaning, although sometimes the meaning gets lost.

"There's a lot of movies like `Liar, Liar' and `Men in Black' that are PG-13 movies that kids love to watch, but they have all kinds of offensive language in them," said Gregg Wright, president of Sound Vision, a marketing company in Orem.

"It's hard for parents to say it's OK to watch this because of all the language."

Once the box is plugged in, the lower left corner of the TV screen displays "TVG" or "No TVG." "No TVG" will appear when the program does not have closed captioning. The device does not operate with live broadcasts.

"I think it's really a situation where it's more for the kids than for the adults themselves, even though the adults don't want to hear it either," Wright said.

The device is really designed for families, said Richard Hanson, national sales manager for the TVGuardian.

John Jesperson, Orem, bought the TVGuardian about a month ago for his family.

"We have a lot of kids. It's good for the little kids and good for the family," said Ryan Jesperson, 17, an Orem High student.

"We thought it was a good idea. We put it on the TV for any show, as well as for videos," John Jesperson said. "It works great."

The TVGuardian has two settings for sound censoring - strict and tolerant.

"In the strict mode, words like `butt' and `breast' are also taken out," Wright said. "(The) tolerant (setting) would leave in the `butt,' but would still take out the uses of deity as an expletive."

In an average half-hour TV program, five or six words or phrases are usually muted. "That's how you know it works," John Jesperson said.

Ryan Jesperson said the TVGuardian primarily helps his family with movies and TV they already watch.

"I think it's cool because you can watch more shows," said 11-year-old Lauren Jesperson. "My parents let me watch `The Simpsons' more."

John Jesperson said he would probably rent a movie rated for language and swearing that he would not have in the past. "Even PG-13 movies have the `F'-word in them now," he said.

Cougar Video in Provo is one of the only video stores in the nation to rent the TVGuardian. Manager Rachel Coker said she has not heard anything negative about the product from her customers.

"We thought it would be a good thing because of all the family business we do," she said.

However, not too many customers of Cougar Video have rented the device. Adam Hoyt, Provo, has rented it twice and used it with R-rated movies. He said the $7.99 to rent the filter for two days was worth it.

"If you don't want to hear cussing in movies, go rent it," Hoyt said. But he said he noticed some words were deleted that he feels didn't need to be.

Family Video, a new video store opening this month in Santa Clara, Washington County, advertizes that it won't carry R-rated movies. But after using the TVGuardian, part-owner David A. Moss decided to carry a few movies rated R for language.

"We watched an R-rated movie and it took it down to what I would call a PG movie," he said. "We were really impressed with it."

At Family Video, the R-rated movies will be held under the counter for only adults to rent unless they are also renting the TVGuardian, he said. "In my way of thinking, we are not renting out R-rated movies."

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the device.

"We have not heard of that particular device. We don't endorse it," said Rich Taylor, vice president of public affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America. "We've played our part in developing television ratings."

Wright said the TVGuardian can be even more useful through the use of a movie content informative Web site at (www.screenit.com). This Web site displays content of movies and videos. "With the use of that, you have the capability of determining what might be a good movie to use the TVGuardian with," he said.

While the TVGuardian addresses language, it does not address sex or violence. Wright said violence in movies does not personally bother him because he knows it is fake. "Whereas with language and nudity - that's not fake nudity, it's not fake language - those are real things."

Wright believes that for children, sexuality and language have a greater immediate effect than violence.

"The TVGuardian isn't going to get rid of any nude scenes, but they won't swear naked, they'll be naked, but not swear."

The TVGuardian can be purchased directly from Wright or on the Internet at (www.tvguardian.com).


Additional Information

`Offensive' words caught by TVGuardian

Without With

Movie name TVGuardian TVGuardian

E.T. 13 1

Home Alone 12 1

Jungle to Jungle 15 0

Lost World-Jurassic Park 17 0

Men in Black 66 1

Mrs. Doubtfire 21 1

Speed 93 4

Source: TVGuardian brochure