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Playing with ClearPlay's DVD player

Peter Rojas

In this week's Circuits section of the New York Times David Pogue reviews the DRC232N, RCA's new family friendly DVD player which uses ClearPlay's software to automatically edit out anything the least bit objectionable from movies. The ClearPlay DVD player doesn't use some sort of advanced artificial intelligence to figure out when the good parts are coming up — instead they have (presumably very easily offended) human editors deciding what goes and what stays from each movie (we interviewed the president of ClearPlay competitor CleanFlicks for a story in the Vilage Voice a couple of years ago, and he said there some movies, like Reservoir Dogs, for example, that were so offensive that they would have to snip out everything but the opening and end credits). Human editors mean that nothing accidentally slips by, but it does add the frustration (not that we intend to ever discover this first-hand) of having to download filters for each new movie you want to watch, burn them to a CD-R, and then upload them to the DVD player. Anyway, we've said it before and we'll say it again: it's dumb to pay good money for a movie only to cut out parts of it, but ultimately you shouldn't stop people from doing whatever they want with movies, books, and music that they own.

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