15.120 Program blocking technology requirements for television receivers.§ 15.120 Program blocking technology requirements for television receivers.
(a) Effective July 1, 1999, manufacturers of television broadcast receivers as defined in section 15.3(w) of this chapter, including personal computer systems meeting that definition, must ensure that one-half of their product models with picture screens 33 cm (13 in) or larger in diameter shipped in interstate commerce or manufactured in the United States comply with the provisions of paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of this section.Note:
This paragraph places no restrictions on the shipping or sale of television receivers that were manufactured before July 1999.
(b) All TV broadcast receivers as defined in § 15.3(w), including personal computer systems meeting that definition, with picture screens 33 cm (13 in) or larger, measured diagonally, or with displays in the 16:9 aspect ratio that are 19.8 cm (7.8 in) or greater in height and digital television receivers without an associated display device shipped in interstate commerce or manufactured in the United States shall comply with the provisions of paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of this section.
(c) Transmission format. (1) Analog television program rating information shall be transmitted on line 21 of field 2 of the vertical blanking interval of television signals, in accordance with § 73.682(a)(22) of this chapter.
(2) Digital television program rating information shall be transmitted in digital television signals in accordance with § 73.682(d) of this chapter.
(d) Operation. (1) Analog television receivers will receive program ratings transmitted pursuant to EIA-744: “Transport of Content Advisory Information Using Extended Data Service (XDS)” (incorporated by reference, see § 15.38) and EIA-608: “Recommended Practice for Line 21 Data Service” (incorporated by reference, see § 15.38). Blocking of programs shall occur when a program rating is received that meets the pre-determined user requirements.
(2) Digital television receivers shall react in a similar manner as analog televisions when programmed to block specific rating categories. Digital television receivers will receive program rating descriptors transmitted pursuant to industry standard EIA/CEA-766-A “U.S. and Canadian Region Rating Tables (RRT) and Content Advisory Descriptors for Transport of Content Advisory Information using ATSC A/65-A Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP),” 2001 (incorporated by reference, see § 15.38). Blocking of programs shall occur when a program rating is received that meets the pre-determined user requirements. Digital television receivers shall be able to respond to changes in the content advisory rating system.
(e) All television receivers as described in paragraph (a) of this section shall block programming as follows:
(1) Channel Blocking. Channel Blocking should occur as soon as a program rating packet with the appropriate Content Advisory or MPAA rating level is received. Program blocking is described as a receiver performing all of the following:
• Muting the program audio.
• Rendering the video black or otherwise indecipherable.
• Eliminating program-related captions.
(2) Default State. The default state of a receiver (i.e., as provided to the consumer) should not block unrated programs. However, it is permissible to include features that allow the user to reprogram the receiver to block programs that are not rated.
(3) Picture-In-Picture (PIP). If a receiver has the ability to decode program-related rating information for the Picture-In-Picture (PIP) video signal, then it should block the PIP channel in the same manner as the main channel. If the receiver does not have the ability to decode PIP program-related rating information, then it should block or otherwise disable the PIP if the viewer has enabled program blocking.
(4) Selection of Ratings. Each television receiver, in accordance with user input, shall block programming based on the age based ratings, the content based ratings, or a combination of the two.
(i) If the user chooses to block programming according to its age based rating level, the receiver must have the ability to automatically block programs with a more restrictive age based rating. For example, if all shows with an age-based rating of TV-PG have been selected for blocking, the user should be able to automatically block programs with the more restrictive ratings of TV-14 and TV-MA.
(ii) If the user chooses to block programming according to a combination of age based and content based ratings the receiver must have the ability to automatically block programming with a more restrictive age rating but a similar content rating. For example, if all shows rated TV-PG-V have been selected for blocking, the user should be able to block automatically shows with the more restrictive ratings of TV-14-V and TV-MA-V.
(iii) The user should have the capability of overriding the automatic blocking described in paragraphs (e)(4)(i) and (4)(ii) of this section.[63 FR 20133, Apr. 23, 1998, as amended at 68 FR 68546, Dec. 9, 2003; 69 FR 2849, Jan. 21, 2004; 69 FR 59534, Oct. 4, 2004; 73 FR 5682, Jan. 30, 2008; 74 FR 63079, Dec. 2, 2009; 77 FR 4913, Feb. 1, 2012]