Help me with satellite provider parental controls.
April 30, 2008 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out which satellite provider has the best parental controls, specifically restrictions on time of day.

We're moving to a new place at the beginning of June and the only viable choice for TV is Dish Network or DirecTV. The girlfriend has a 12 year old boy who is generally good.

We don't mind him having a TV in his room since we know we can use the V-Chip and block certain channels, but what we'd really like to do is set up restrictions on the time of day that the TV can be viewed. He's an ADHD kid and if you have a squawking box powered on at 3am, he'll zone out in front of it and won't sleep.

I'd like to know if any of you have experience with the time of day restrictions on the Dish Network or DirecTV hardware.

* Yes, I have searched both websites but cannot find anything beyond basic information. I'm interested in personal experiences.
* Please, no "Why does he need a TV?/Take the TV away!/etc" types of answers. I see nothing wrong with kids watching cartoons on a Saturday morning, but watching Cartoon Network at 3am on a school night is another story.
posted by drstein to Technology (5 answers total)
I have Dish and am not familiar with any time restriction tool. I did a quick radio shack search and found this Hopscotch Technology BOB TV Time Manager - looks exactly like what you are looking for.
posted by doorsfan at 1:15 PM on April 30, 2008

I don't think you are going to find a 'time off' feature from either provider. The typical parental V-Chip and porn controls are the most you'll really see.

You might look at some other options for keeping the TV off.
posted by Argyle at 1:16 PM on April 30, 2008

Best answer: For DIRECTV, you can allow certain viewing hours. There are three categories that can be set independently: Monday-Thursday, Friday-Saturday, and Sunday.

For each category, you can set a start time and a duration in hours (whole numbers only, up to a maximum of 24).

I don't know how the overlapping works: i.e. if you set a Sunday start time of 7pm and a duration of 24 hours, I don't know if it will automatically grant access on Monday morning, or if it will cut off at midnight. (My guess is it will cut off at midnight, and the M-Thur settings will take over).

Obviously, if you have an antenna, he will still be able to watch local channels at any time.
posted by kidbritish at 1:22 PM on April 30, 2008

DIRECTV Parental Controls:
* Allow viewing based on MPAA ratings or block specific movies.
* Lock out entire channels.
* Set limited viewing times.
* Even establish spending limits on Pay Per View purchases.

DISH Parental Control:
1. Rating:

* Based on Motion Picture Association of America ratings
* Option to select additional protection based on expanded ratings such as violence, language, nudity and sexual content

2. Specific Channels:

* Prevent anyone from viewing selected channels unless they enter the correct password
* Lock any channel, including movie channels, Pay-Per-View and local channels
posted by badger_flammable at 1:53 PM on April 30, 2008

Response by poster: doorsfan/Argyle: Those are all interesting but completely useless products. Any kid with half a brain will simply unplug them and be on their merry way. :-)

badger_flammable: That's the exact same information I saw on the websites, as I had mentioned in my post. That's the "basic information" I already found.

kidbritish: Awesome, thanks. That's what I was looking for. The TV he has doesn't have its own tuner so it needs a box. We're moving to an area that's fairly devoid of interesting channels. It's the 24 hour a day overstimulating cartoon channels (and SpikeTV/CourtTV/Comedy Central/etc) that he doesn't need to be watching all night.
We don't want to outright block the channels because we don't object to the programming, just the fact that the kid will sit up all night long watching television if he's allowed.

So it sounds like DirecTV is going to be the better option at this time.
posted by drstein at 8:24 AM on May 3, 2008

« Older Financial books for a college graduate   |   Unwanted VHS tapes - what to do? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.