By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: From 4 February 2011 set top boxes sold by retailers in Australia must offer a parental lock feature as determined by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The technical element was decided upon in August 2010 and must feature in any new domestic reception equipment used for viewing free to air TV such as integrated digital televisions, set top boxes or personal video recorders, according to a statement by ACMA.

“The parental lock feature allows parents and guardians to protect their children from content on television they may consider inappropriate or harmful,” said ACMA acting chairman, Richard Bean.

“While a significant proportion of equipment currently available in the market already includes parental lock, the technical standard makes it a required feature in new models sold from 4 February,” he said.

“However, some models offered for sale prior to this date, and still in stock, may not include the feature.”

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