TVGuardian a hit in Utah homes

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    By ANDREW T. MOHLMAN

    The TVGuardian, a television profanity filter, has found its place in more Utah homes than anywhere else in the United States.

    Of the 5,000 TVGuardians sold in the U.S. in 1998, more than half were sold in Utah.

    “The LDS community is ideal for this. The LDS people have a very strong moral foundation and products like this are really appealing to them,” said Terry Hale, co-founder of Family Safe Media in Provo.

    “The TVGuardian really isn’t for everybody; it’s for a particular group of people who have strong moral convictions,” Hale said. “We help parents control the media they bring into their home.”

    Hale said members of the LDS Church tend to be early adopters of new technology.

    The set-top device, which connects between the television and VCR, provides 95 percent accuracy in tracking down and eliminating foul language in movies and television programming, said Jared Martin, co-founder of Family Safe Media.

    The TVGuardian monitors the closed captions of a program or movie, detects profanities and eliminates the sound for a moment. An alternate word is then shown on the screen.

    Martin said in the movie “Men in Black,” there are more than 70 profanities and the TVGuardian lets only three go undetected.

    “It has its limitations; it’s not perfect,” Martin said.

    Martin said if the device is used when watching “Gone With the Wind,” Rhett Butler’s infamous line is changed to “Frankly my dear, I don’t care.”

    Rita Pittman, sales manager for TVGuardian, said their target has been Christian communities, and the Mormon community seems to very excited about it.

    Pittman estimated that in 1999, more than 100,000 TVGuardians will be sold nationwide and that the $150 price tag is not likely to discourage potential buyers.

    “I think that people are willing to pay that. For what the product does, it’s well worth the cost,” Pittman said.

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