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MCU Enables Television Viewers To Block Undesired Programming

In March of this year, the Federal Communications Commission requested that by July 1, 1999, half of the new television models with screens of 13" or more include the ability to block programming based on content rating. And all new sets must comply by January of 2000. To that end, the Z86130 microcontroller carries the requisite on-board intelligence to achieve blocking of objectionable programming.The so-called "V-Chip" receives and processes a data stream sent by a broadcaster or other content provider that contains program content advisory data. When programmed by the viewer, a TV set equipped with the Z86130 MCU and other circuitry can respond to the advisory data by blocking content that the viewer finds objectionable. The chips are said to offer a simple hardware solution that minimizes I2C bus traffic, reduces main processor ROM and RAM requirements, and imposes a lesser overall load on the host. It also offers a less complicated handshake, making the application run more efficiently.To help reduce the risk of missing the FCC's mandatory deadlines for TV set compliance, the company provides all of the software routines necessary to run the application. By offering source code complete with a hardware platform, the Z86130 device is said to present a proven solution with regard to market timing and code verification.The chip performs complete stand-alone Line 21 data recovery for both fields 1 and 2, which is where the content advisory data resides. It's preprogrammed to provide full compliance with EIA-608 specifications for extended data services (XDS). Special XDS packets, such as program blocking, are automatically extracted and serially outputted. The smart Z86130 microcontroller is available in 18-pin DIP or SOIC. Samples are available immediately.

Company: ZILOG INC.

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