The V-Chip (which stands for ViewControl, not Violence), that venerable protector of children's morals nationwide, will soon spawn an upgraded version that is scheduled to start appearing in digital sets on March 15th. According to an FCC mandate, all 16:9 DTVs 7.8-inches or greater in height plus 4:3 models with at least 13-inch diagonals must incorporate the digital V-Chip, or "v.gis," which unlike its analog counterpart, can be adapted to modified future rating systems and also fine tuned with regards to its filtering system. The v.gis chip was designed by Tim Collings, the same man who invented its predecessor, and who draws criticism from the Consumer Electronics Association because of his ownership in companies that essentially have a government-granted monopoly over this mandatory tech (which, of course, must be licensed by CEA members). That's why you may have noticed an unusual number of "public service announcements" on TV lately touting the wonders of the current V-Chip- they are actually part of a larger public relations campaign by the CEA, MPAA, and others to build up support against v.gis specifically and the expansion of the technology in general.

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