Australia imposes parental lock for digital TVs
No controversy here
The Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) has searched for several months for a "technical standard to make parental lock a required feature of digital television receivers" sold in Australia.
The fruits of its labours are published this week as The Broadcasting and Datacasting Services (Parental Lock) Technical Standard 2010.
From 4 February 2011, all new integrated digital TVs, set-top boxes and PVRs must incorporate parental lock, which determines access to programs based on their age classification. Australia's TV broadcasters self-classify their own programmes but are monitored by ACMA for complaints.
Unlike that other filter, The great Firewall of Australia, which will control access to the internet, parental lock is entirely uncontroversial, as it is not government but parents who decide, in their own homes, if they want to switch it on or not.
Parental lock is probably a footling expense for manufacturers to bear as most as most new digital TVs contain the technology in some form. In a release today, ACMA praise the television supply industry for its "positive engagement" in developing the standard. ®
Only Problem I Can Think Of
Making parental lock capability mandatory on all televisions adds to their manufacturing cost.
More importantly, since the signal for a program's rating in Australia isn't the same as that used in other countries with the same television system, banning import of receivers without the parental lock allows the Australian market to be segmented out by manufacturers.
So while the former might increase the price of a TV set by pennies, the latter could easily have a much bigger effect.
Are the aussies infants?
Paranoid or mentally unstable?
Please smack the next brit, who complains of "nanny state", squarely in their face!
Having worked in the industry of designing and making TV for many years I can tell you that the software in TVs is different for each country anyway. Each country has different standards and different regulations and so the TV software has to be appropriately modified to account for this. Even if you can't SEE the differences, they are there. Even between the European countries where the actual TV standard is (mostly) similar, there can be significant country-specific differences that must be accounted for. And if you try and use a TV from one country in another one, you might find that it won't work properly anyway. Not because of some evil manufacturer who's trying to lock you into a specific product, but because the standards are different.
So that blows your "increased cost" argument out of the water.
On a more general point, "parental lock" is built into many many TV and set top box devices. Most of the ones sold in the UK and many other countries have a parental lock system. It costs virtually nothing to implement, and if you are a parent, it's a GOOD thing if you want to stop your kiddies watching stuff that you consider inappropriate. If you don't want to use it then ignore it - no one is making you use it.
If Oz had just passed a law saying that parental lock should NOT be available, then we would now have a bunch of idiots complaining about that instead!