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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

Report No. ET 97-8 ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY ACTIONSeptember 25, 1997

(ET DOCKET NO. 97-206)

The FCC today began the process that would require that most television receivers be equipped with features that enable viewers to block the display of video programming based on program ratings. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted by the Commission today responds to the Parental Choice in Television Programming requirements contained in Sections 551(c),(d), and (e) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In the Telecommunications Act, Congress determined that parents should be provided with timely information about the nature of upcoming video programming, and with the technological tools that would allow them to block violent, sexual, or other programming that they do not want their children to watch.

In addition, the Commission proposed amending Parts 73, 74 and 76 of its rules to ensure any ratings information that is provided with video programming is transmitted to the television receiver intact, without disruption by any broadcast, cable television, satellite or other video programming distribution service. The Commission also proposed similar requirements for other services that can be used to distribute video programming to the home, i.e., Multipoint Distribution Service and Direct Broadcast Satellite Service. Comments are requested.

The 1996 Act mandates that the FCC shall: 1) require new television receivers that have a picture screen 13 inches or greater include a feature to enable viewers to block the display of all programs with a common rating; 2) provide oversight for the adoption of industry standards for blocking technology; and, 3) take appropriate action to ensure that blocking services continue to be available to consumers as technology advances.

The Commission proposed that television manufacturers be required to provide blocking technology on at least half of their product models with a picture screen 33cm (13 inches) or greater in size by July 1, 1998. The remainder of the models would be required to contain blocking technology by July 1, 1999.

Action by the Commission September 25, 1997, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 97-340). Chairman , Commissioners


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