The V-chip (sometimes called the Smart Lock, Auto Lock, Parental Controls, etc.) is a tool that enables parents to automatically block programs by TV ratings. The v-chip is a standard feature in all TVs 13 and larger, built after January 2000. The v-chip works based on the TV ratings system.TV ratings work top down, so, for example, if you want to allow shows rated TV-PG and below, select TV-PG. Everything above this rating TV-14 and TV-MA will be blocked.

You can also always block by content descriptors within an age group. For instance, if you want to block programs that contain high levels of violence in TV-PG, select TV-PG-V. Its as simple as that. Violence-rated shows above this rating TV-14-V and TV-MA-V will also be blocked. In all cases, when you tune to a channel that is blocked, a screen appears informing you of the block. Only the household members who know the blocking PIN can bypass this screen and view the blocked channel or program.

  • Press the menu button on your remote control.
  • Select v-chip (sometimes called the Smart Lock, Auto Lock, Parental Controls, etc.) and press enter.
  • Enter a four-digit PIN (a.k.a. parental lock code) using the numbers buttons or enter the temporary code found in your owners manual.
  • Complete the following TWO steps on your screen: Turn the v-chip on, then select the highest TV rating you want to be viewed (in ascending order they are: TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-Y7-FV, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA).

    To deactivate your parental controls, return to the v-chip menu, enter your PIN and select off.

  • If you only want to block programs with certain types of content, turn on the content descriptors (FV, V, D, S, L). Many TVs will let you turn these on and off at the same time you select the age group ratings. Other TVs provide on-screen instructions to tell you what button to press to move to the right screen where you can turn content ratings on or off.

Important notes about the v-chip:

  • Both the PIN and TV ratings must be set for the v-chip to operate.
  • Once you turn the v-chip on, you must turn the TV off and on again for it to work.
  • Some TV models also allow you to block programs by time, date or channel.
  • If you would also like to control what movies are seen in your home, you will have to set the movies ratings to block movie channels.
  • To learn more, check your TVs owner’s manual.


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