Sunday, April 6, 2008

ClearPlay DVD

My family loves to watch movies. Maybe it's being a product of the TV generation, or just liking the escape that watching a movie offers--I'm not here to analyze it. The fact is, we enjoy watching movies and it is often our weekend treat. However, I have two boys, one of whom is 13 and believes that now that he has reached that pinnacle all PG-13 movies should be allowed for his viewing pleasure. We have, of course--and much to his chagrin--explained that just because some MPAA ratings board made up of people we do not know says a movie is okay for a 13 year old doesn't mean it's okay for OUR particular 13 year old.

Furthermore, his tastes are no longer satisfied by Disney-style family movies and, in typical boy fashion, he loves adventure and action movies. The quickest way for me to clear a room is to say "Jane Austen" or "British drama."

So, our solution has been the ClearPlay DVD player. This lovely little machine filters out all sex, violence, profanity, and gore from DVD movies. Here's how it works: You buy the DVD player (we bought ours for $40 at Target). It is pre-loaded with 2,000 filters. You put in the DVD, it recognizes the movie, loads the filter, and you watch the movie. However, if you want to view a movie that is not among the 2,000 pre-loaded filters, you must subscribe to the ClearPlay service, which runs around $4/month with a one-year subscription. You are sent a filter stick that you plug into the USB port in your computer, download the filter from the ClearPlay site, plug it into the DVD player, put in your DVD, and you're ready to watch the movie.
In case that was all clear as mud, there are demo videos on the ClearPlay site.

Just in case you're wondering, many of the edits are flawless. You can usually tell that something has been edited, but it is fairly smooth. Only on the occasion when there are several violent scenes at once it can look a little choppy. Every curse word, including the name of our Lord in vain, is silenced.

Of course, it cannot edit content, and there is a content advisor at the beginning of the movie that will tell you of anything not able to be edited out. Our kids will still not watch the Golden Compass or Harry Potter, but for those movies that are decent in content except for the occasional over-the-top gore, sex, or curse words, this has been a helpful product for us.

I don't get any kick-backs or benefits from ClearPlay, by the way, though it would be nice because we've "sold" several to our friends! For us, it's a great way to allow us all to enjoy movies together without the fear of those few words or that "one scene" that can ruin an entire movie and send its rating to the realm of PG-13.

1 comment:

Weetabix said...

I thank you for pointing us at them. We've been able to watch movies with the kids that we've referred to for years.

The kids will shout, "Oh! THAT's where you got that phrase!"