Filter technology: Families can watch DVDs safe in the knowledge that the scenes will be suitable for all ages
Ever sat down to watch a DVD with the family, thinking there's nothing up ahead likely to cause embarrassment or shock, only to find the stars undressing or blasting each other's brains out?
Well, help has arrived for parents caught out by moments of movie nudity, violence or swearing.
Experts have developed an electronic film filter which edits potentially offensive scenes.
The ClearPlay system uses patented technology integrated into the next generation of DVD players to skip and mute content based on seven categories that can be set to meet viewing preferences.
These are violence, blood, nudity, sex, swearing, blasphemy and offensive content.
ClearPlay bosses claim that many films - especially those that are rated 15 - lend themselves to such treatment because their rating is based on only one or two brief scenes which can be edited without spoiling the rest of the movie.
To use the system households will have to pay about £1 a week to subscribe to an online scheme which allows filters for movies to be downloaded. Filters will be available for hundreds of films already out and will ready for new films within 48 hours of their DVD release. Players that can use Clearplay will be about the same price as current machines.
Andrew Duncan, head of Clearplay International, said: 'We know from our research that parents are concerned about inappropriate content but don't like conflicts around censorship at home. Our system effectively ends the important but tiresome debates.'
DVD players with ClearPlay technology will be on sale in the UK in July. The technology is also adaptable to video-on-demand services and ClearPlay is in talks with UK digital TV operators.
The company says the sort of films the system will work with include Love Actually, Atonement, The Matrix and Sweeney Todd. All contain scenes which ClearPlay bosses say can be edited without ruining the whole film.
The system has been developed by the same U.S. team which invented VideoPlus, the system which simplified recording of TV programmes.
ClearPlay director Skip Riddle added: 'Clearly there are some films that don't lend themselves to filtering but the vast majority do. Often the aspects of a film that give it a 15 certificate are connected with a few very short sequences.'