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Bought a Clearplay player - lock & load!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just went out and got one of the new Clearplay players from Target. If you don't know it is a special DVD player that allows you to play any DVD but with the addition of allowing pre-authored "filters" to be applied to the movie to skip over objectional content. I should say that I am well aware of all the "watch the movie as the director intended it to be seen" and "what's the difference between this and FF through the scenes I don't want to see" discussion so let's try to "filter" those comments. I know this isn't a competitor to videophile products but thought it might be of some interest in the DVD player forum as it certainly has a unique position.

You can see the specs here - http://www.clearplay.com/shopdetail.aspx?id=31. What's missing would be HDMI, DTS and upscaling but otherwise it's a pretty standard, inexpensive player typical of most of the Chinese ones, with the exception of the filtering capability.

The filters are downloaded from Clearplay's web site to a USB stick which is then plugged into the front of the player. From here you can set a L,M & H level of filtering for each of violence, language and sexual content. When a DVD is inserted the player searches the stick for the appropriate filter and then plays the movie with your settings. I played Children of Men with the most restrictive settings. The video playback was seamless and didn't affect my viewing of the movie at all. I could tell it was a violent movie and I knew what happened but I didn't see the graphic details. The language filtering could be a bit choppy in those sections of dialog where there was a lot of profanity. You could dial back the profanity filter though and let that pass while still filtering the violence.

One thing that isn't mentioned is that you have to use a pressed DVD, not a copy. I tried setting the booktype to DVD-ROM on a copy but it wouldn't find the filter. You can set the player to play only DVD's with filters, any DVD, any DVD under a certain MPAA rating, or optionally choose to play w or w/o filtering. All this is controlled by a dvd password - which can easily be overridden with a player reset.

The unit glows a bright blue but dims when playing back a DVD. It still glowed when I played a CD. You also have to subscribe to Clearplays subscription service to get filters for new movies on a regular basis. It costs about $50/yr for this.
post #2 of 24
Something tells me you won't find a lot of Clearplay fans at AVS.
post #3 of 24
I'm a fan of the concept, I just wish they'd let you create your own filters, and release a better quality player. I know chances of that are probably quite slim, but I'd be on board if they would do that.
post #4 of 24
I could see this working for parents, I guess if they felt there isn't enough G and PG material out there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mathrandir View Post

I just wish they'd let you create your own filters

That'd be cool if you needed to filter out other things, or didn't agree with what was filtered. But I think going through a movie ahead of time and flagging things might be a bit of a pain for the casual user of this (read: parents.)
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post

Something tells me you won't find a lot of Clearplay fans at AVS.

Probably true but I don't quite understand why people become "fans(in the true sense of the word - fanatical) about all this stuff. Oh well.

As far as creating your own filters, you can accomplish some of that in that you can adjust the aggressiveness of the filters for each of profanity, violence and sexual content. That would be nine distinct filtering choices. You also don't have to use filters as it can function as any other DVD/CD player

Other than some high end capabilities (HDMI, upscaling, DTS) a strong addition would be Internet connectivity so that the unit could pick up the filters on-line instead of having them downloaded and transferred via USB.

Besides being a parent, I'd have to say that I personally appreciate the ability to knock some of the harder edges off some good movies.
post #6 of 24
I saw this at Target, pretty nice for the parents, there are many movies which are partially acceptable for children to watch but may contain several "parts" which one would rather not have their children watch. I can see why it may appeal but I'm not too sure about it's popularity. Time will tell.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mather View Post

I can see why it may appeal but I'm not too sure about it's popularity. Time will tell.

From what I understand the 2005 Family Entertainment & Copyright Act specifically allowed technologies like this as long as the original work was not modified. Seems like Clearplay is making a more aggressive marketing push now that they've been green lighted.

I also see that they are negotiating with BD and HD DVD manufacturers to get their technology included in some models, as well as streaming (on demand) providers. I don't understand Hollywood's reluctance to embrace technology like this. Seems like giving consumers an option to watch a movie at a level appropriate to them would quiet most of the criticism aimed at Directors & Producers.
post #8 of 24
No Dts = No Good
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by louthewiz View Post

No Dts = No Good

Actually I was playing a movie last night and switched to the DTS soundtrack and it worked fine. It's just not advertised as such. I've had other players do the same thing.
post #10 of 24
I saw one of these at my local Target and just about started to roll all over the floor laughing!!! What a joke.
post #11 of 24
Guess you don't have kids yet.
post #12 of 24
Yeah, this thing is not built for home theater enthusiasts. It has a niche market that I'd say the majority of us here don't fall into.
post #13 of 24
"How does that work?
It's really quite ingenious.
We create filtering information on a movie by movie basis, and then put those "filters" into the DVD player.
This way, the DVD player knows when to skip or mute while the movie is playing."

This might be a great feature to those with kids, but this is a wrong kinda forum.
post #14 of 24
Yeah, I always wanted to have my kids watch Pulp Fiction while not having to think of myself as a bad parent...


PASS.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McGuire View Post

Guess you don't have kids yet.

I do, but find these players kind of silly too. I've never had a problem finding great movies suitable for my family, but then we all love movies from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

To be honest, I am more worried about TV than movies, since the prurience there is unpredictable and gratuitous, and together with the stupidity and offensive subtext is ubiquotous and unfilterable. - DR
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan View Post

Yeah, I always wanted to have my kids watch Pulp Fiction while not having to think of myself as a bad parent...


PASS.

Someone brings up an example like this anytime it's discussed anywhere. I really don't think that's the point. I've never seen pulp fiction, and I wouldn't use this player to watch that. I wouldn't use it to turn a Tarantino or Scorcese film into a 15 minute short. I would use it so I can watch any number of PG movies that toss in an F-bomb, or "that one scene" just to get the PG-13 rating. I would also use it as a convenience. There are certain parts of movies my wife or I simply don't want to see. To this day my wife has never seen the "orc birth" scene of Fellowship of the Rings. I covered her eyes in the theaters, and every time we've watched it on dvd.

That's just one example. There are lots of times that I wish I could simply tell the player to always skip this part of a movie, for whatever reason, whether it's gratuitous violence or gore, offensive language, or just plain boring (like The Phantom Menace, I could actually enjoy the final lightsaber battle without constantly cutting away to Jar-Jar and his blue balls).

Right now I wouldn't really use this for my kids, as they are still young enough that about the only thing that interests them are animated or musical shows. But if I could define my own filters, and if they released a better dvd player I would probably buy one for my own viewing now, and for use when the kids get older.

I appreciate the info from the OP. I'll pass for now, but will keep my eye on ClearPlay. FWIW, I did find that you can use mplayer to create your own "filters" or "edit decision lists" as they call them for video playback. I don't currently have an HTPC, but might look into it in the near future just for this feature. If anyone else is interested do a search for mplayer and EDL and you should be able to get the necessary info.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by eganov View Post

Actually I was playing a movie last night and switched to the DTS soundtrack and it worked fine. It's just not advertised as such. I've had other players do the same thing.

A way to get around paying for a DTS license ??
post #18 of 24
Depends if the guy's using analog or S/PDIF... No reason it wouldn't pass DTS via S/PDIF even if it can't decode it.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hall View Post

A way to get around paying for a DTS license ??

My take on it too. I've had other players with no DTS logo that passed DTS fine. I've also had non-logo'd players that didn't pass DTS. Yes, passing w/S/PDIF.

Quote:


This might be a great feature to those with kids, but this is a wrong kinda forum.

Quote:


I saw one of these at my local Target and just about started to roll all over the floor laughing!!! What a joke.

Quote:


Yeah, this thing is not built for home theater enthusiasts.

Quote:


Yeah, I always wanted to have my kids watch Pulp Fiction while not having to think of myself as a bad parent...


Relax guys. It's DVD player discussion in a DVD player discussion forum. I get a little bit of the feeling that there is some elitistism creeping in here. I dare say that, while I do have a home theater, I have hit the FF & SKIP on occasion violating the "watch the movie as the Director intended it" rule. I've even had the gall to fall asleep during movies despite the Directors best intentions.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
I should update that while the manual says there are four categories that you can set to one of four filtering level (none, low, medium, high) there are actually 12 categories by 4 levels for a total of 48 total filtering increments. The manual is wrong and doesn't specify these.
post #21 of 24
I won't even get this kind of product if I had kids. My parents were never that way with me. They approved what I could and couldn't watch beforehand.
post #22 of 24
I suppose those of you who like this product plan to home-school your children and keep them at home until they are at least 30. Can't be too careful. Just kidding - please don't take offense.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
You can always tell when a thread has run its course - social commentary, politics, religion and ego inflation start to take over. Mods - feel free to lock thread. Oh yea - please don't take offense
post #24 of 24
I know this is an old thread and don't know if people still read replies but regards creating your own filter for dvds there actually is a product. It is free software and you edit on your computer and you just pay a small monthly fee. If anyone is still around the link is http://www.enjoymoviesyourway.com/
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AVS › AVS Forum › Video Components › DVD Players (Standard Def) › Bought a Clearplay player - lock & load!