ClearPlay Impressions, Performance & Conclusion
Powering on the unit without a disc gets you to a screen where you can set up the features of the player or opt to configure the Parental Controls. This is where you configure the ClearPlay settings. You'll need to set a password and lock the player to get into these settings so write down the 4-digit security code once you enter it.
ClearPlay allows you to assign settings for the following areas:
- Strong Action Violence
- Gory Brutal Violence
- Disturbing Images
Sex and Nudity
- Sensual Content
- Explicit Sexual Situations
- Vain Reference to Deity
- Crude Language and humor
- Ethnic and Social Slurs
- Strong Profanity
- Graphic Vulgarity
Below you can see some of the applicable screens for setting the player's filtering preferences:
The player has a finite number of movies that can be stored before having to delete existing movies from the system. The number of movies isn't specified anywhere but it appears to be around 350. Eventually, if you have a large movie collection, you will need to delete movies from the unit in order to make room for newer (or older) releases. Somewhat cumbersome is that it takes about 5 button presses to delete a movie already loaded into the player. If you plan on clearing out the unit and adding in your 300 DVD movie collection, plan on spending some serious time in front of this interface.
If you want to skip the ClearPlay filters, you can also set the player to read the ratings flags and disallow movies entirely based on their MPAA rating.
One other note: be very careful how you position the
player in your entertainment center, at least with this RCA unit. There are uncovered screws that poke
out from beneath the RCA player and they actually damaged the top of my Mitsubishi projection
television because not all four feet were setting flat on top of the unit. This is a simple fix and a
big no-no that RCA should never have let slip by quality control.
Watching Content Filtered Movies
To fully test the system I played a movie that would be tough to filter due to its intrinsically rough nature: Braveheart. In Chapter 11, the first battle with the English, foul language was muted, rather than skipped, allowing the storyline to continue unfettered. As the filters (obviously) do not have the ability to eliminate just the dialogue track, the entire soundtrack is muted during filtering. The famous "mooning" scene was skipped entirely. Much of the battle was eliminated and cut short; however there was a good bit of close up contact and weapons making impact. The edits were mostly obvious, and some digital errors were present, most likely due to the video processing not being able to fully keep up with the edit list. The overall effect, however was acceptable given the intended result and indeed was not much more worse off than an airplane or television edit. The advantage to a television edit, of course, is that ADR is generally performed allowing for replacement dialogue which is remixed with the M & E (music and effects) track to provide a more seamless cut.
Conclusions and Overall Perceptions
The ClearPlay filters work and work well. The software used to implement them is a bit clunky and involves way too many steps to add or delete movies. Perhaps if the remote were more responsive or the screens changed at a faster rate, then the existing system would be more tolerable. I feel, however that there should be a "Loaded Movie Filters" list that can simply be checked and deleted to make more room in the player. This is, in fact, similar to the way new filters get loaded into the player via CD-ROM. Better yet, let's hook up the player to the internet via phone line or Ethernet and allow dynamic or auto-selection of movie filters.
Regardless of its interface deficiencies, the ClearPlay system is currently the best affordable solution for filtering DVD content for your family. Its flexibility and multiple configuration options allow you to set the parameters for your family's viewing habits. If you are looking for a dynamic DVD filtering solution that works with your existing DVD movie collection, this is the most viable the market has seen to date.
NOTE: Due to the nature of this review product, we separated the ratings of the ClearPlay DVD filter software from the review of the player which includes it. This was done simply because the ClearPlay software will be made available to more than just this player in the very near future. Overall, the RCA DVD player performed as expected with no real frills and no major disappointments. The ClearPlay filter technology was above average in its capability, wth room to improve with regards to its interface and configuration.
19 Chapin Road, P.O. Box 867
Pine Brook NJ 07058 -9777
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor
|Standard Definition Video Performance|
|Ergonomics & Usability|
|Ease of Setup|