Electronic Media Control Device: ChoiceChip™


ChoiceChip™ is a device which allows parents to develop their own criteria for television programming to be viewed in their household. All programs are automatically locked out (blocked). Only those programs that have been determined suitable by the parent are unlocked for viewing whenever they are broadcast. The technology can be utilized with or without broadcast ratings.

How It Works:

The device uses two strategies to discriminate among TV programs. When program identification information is not encoded in the TV signal, then hardware and software are used for signal recognition (e.g., title screens or theme songs). If Extended Data Service (EIA-608) data are encoded in the program signal, then the device decodes and uses program identifiers (e.g. rating codes). Adults enter program choices by use of the device password through the means of a channel changer, a keyboard or a box on top of the television, or by voice recognition technology.

Potential Competitive Advantages:

Does not require encoded program ratings. Overcomes the limitations of prior art by providing the ability to unlock or lock out channels or programs. Doesn't require service subscriptions or that programs be broadcast on any schedule. Ease of use. Compatibility with ratings information if that becomes available in the future.

Examples of Applications and Markets:

May be implemented either as a set-top device or built into televisions. This innovative technology can also be applied to radio and CD or cassette players.


This patent is available for licensing or outright sale.


"Electronic Media Program Recognition and Choice," U.S. Patent No. 5,485,518, issued January 16, 1996.

Literature Available:

National Science Foundation Phase I SBIR proposal, Reducing the Exposure of Children to Televised Violence, June 1994.

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