Control

One of cable's key features has long been control. Cable not only offers a wide array of programming choices, it also gives parents a number of options in order to control the flow of programming into their homes. Depending on your cable company, set-top box and television set, there are different alternatives available that let you block out specific programs or entire channels.

Don’t have a set-top box?
You may be able to block programming with your TV's V-Chip. Your cable company may also be able to install blocking equipment if you don't have a set-top box.

One of cable's key features has long been control. Cable not only offers a wide array of programming choices, it also gives parents a number of options in order to control the flow of programming into their homes. Depending on your cable company, set-top box and television set, there are different alternatives available that let you block out specific programs or entire channels.

Don’t have a set-top box?
You may be able to block programming with your TV's V-Chip. Your cable company may also be able to install blocking equipment if you don't have a set-top box.

TV Parental Controls

Parental Controls in Set-Top Boxes

In addition to delivering hundreds of channels, digital cable lets you manage those channels with sophisticated parental control capabilities.

Channels

You can select one or more channels to block. Once you do, the channel(s) will be blocked at all times unless viewing is authorized by the use of a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you create.

Programs

You can select the individual programs you want to block by date, time and channel.

TV Ratings

You can block all programs that have received a certain TV rating(s). Be aware that some programs, such as live sports events, newscasts and public affairs programs have not been assigned ratings.

Movie Ratings

You can block all films that have received a certain movie rating(s). Premium channels like HBO and Showtime air unedited movies that carry the original MPPA movie ratings.

Adult Titles in Program Guide Listing

Your electronic program guide displays all program titles. Using the parental controls, you can hide titles that are targeted to adult audiences.

Understanding Your Remote Control

Generally, the key to using the parental controls of a digital cable set-top box lie in a familiarity with the cable remote. For an overview of a remote, visit here or for information on a Comcast remote, visit here.

Here are the general instructions for setting parental controls (click to enlarge):

Contact Your Cable Company

Visit your cable company's website for more specific information about parental controls.

The V-Chip

If you don’t have a set-top box, your TV set may provide control features. All television sets 13-inches or larger manufactured after January 2000, and some sets sold after July 1, 1999, contain technology called the V-Chip. The V-Chip technology utilizes the industry’s TV ratings system to block programs that may be of concern. If you bought your television in 2000 or later, it is likely to have a V-Chip. This device electronically reads a signal embedded in the programming and enables parents to choose the programs that they deem appropriate for their family.

The V-Chip can block by ratings which are both age- and content-based. You may be familiar with the icons that appear at the beginning of television programs in the upper left-hand corner of the TV screen for the first 15 seconds of the program.

The V-Chip works differently from set to set, depending on the manufacturer. The set-up process for your V-Chip can be found in the on-screen menu options or in the set’s instruction manual. It is controlled through your TV set’s remote.