Netflix Lets Kids Pick the Plot

From today’s NY Times article:

Attention, kids: Netflix just put you in charge.  The streaming service released a new episode of the animated show “The Adventures of Puss in Boots” with an interactive twist. About a half-dozen times during the episode, viewers — most likely children — will be prompted to choose which plot point the show should follow. Each decision will send the story in a different direction. At one point, for example, viewers must decide whether Puss will confront nice bears or angry bears. On a touch screen, a press of the finger will do the work; on a television, a remote control will be required. The first interactive episode, called “Puss in Book,” will last 18 to 39 minutes (depending on which path viewers go down), with viewers being asked to make a decision every two to four minutes.

Amazon Alexa Hears TV Report, Orders Dollhouses For Owners

Tablettoddlers came across a story about a youngster who accidentally ordered a pricey toy through Amazon’s Alexa device. Now that story has prompted orders for unwanted dollhouses after a San Diego station repeated the story to their audience. Earlier this week the Amazon device made Dallas girl, 6-year-old Brooke Neitzel’s dollhouse dreams a reality. “Alexa ordered me a dollhouse and cookies,” Brooke explained to CBS 11. According to CW6 in that city, their morning show anchor Jim Patton commented on the story and said “I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.’” The station reports that after Patton uttered those words “viewers all over San Diego started complaining their echo devices had tried to order doll houses.”

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Augmented Reality Game Osmo Pizza Co. Teaches Young Kids Entrepreneurial Skills

From the VentureBeat post:

Osmo has made its mark with award-winning augmented reality iPad games for children, and now it’s launching another one: Osmo Pizza Co., where kids learn how to run a pizza shop and develop entrepreneurial skills. It’s another magical way to teach kids how to run a business, make change, and keep customers happy.

The title is the third game that Palo Alto, Calif.-based Osmo has launched this year, and it once again uses the iPad camera and a simple mirror to create an augmented reality experience for children ages 5 to 12.

With Osmo Pizza Co., you attach a mirror to the top of an iPad, enabling its camera to see what is immediately in front of the tablet. Then you start the game, responding to customers who ask for a certain kind of pizza. You place faux pizza dough in front of the iPad. Then you quickly place pizza toppings on top of it, fulfilling the customer’s order.

The magic comes in as the iPad camera, with the help of Osmo’s artificial intelligence software, recognizes the objects thrown in front of it. If you have put the correct pieces in front of the tablet, the app generates a positive response. It recognizes the pizza toppings and checks to see if you got the order correct. After the customers eat the pizza, they pay you, and you make change by putting physical currency in front of the camera. The tablet recognizes the correct amount and shows the math on the tablet screen.

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Loving the Kids Zone

Tablettoddlers has written about this before but we thought it was worth revisiting:  KidsZone on Comcast Xfinity’s X1 Platform is fantastic.  It’s like parental controls on steroids.  When in Kids Zone, my kids can browse all on their own, selecting live programming, free Xfinity On Demand content, movies as well as any saved programming on our DVR — all of which has either been flagged by the network or studio as kids programming, or deemed age-appropriate for kids 12 and under by Common Sense Media.  Also, while in Kids Zone, kids can quickly find recently-watched programming, browse by their favorite network and even sort by their favorite theme such as “superheroes,” “princesses” or “talking animals.” Parents can even filter programming that surfaces within Kids Zone down to specific age-ranges. For example, if I don’t want my six year old to watch shows designed for older kids, I can filter those out, tailoring the Kids Zone content to appropriate fare. They can also set shows to shuffle play.

So glad we made the decision to become connected again with Comcast after several years of cord-cutting.

Dad Time With The Olympics

Recently, I had the chance to sample some of the Rio Olympics TV viewing experience at a Comcast event in Boston.  Here’s what I learned…

For Rio, Comcast has created an Olympics destination on X1, offering customers a place to easily search, discover and access more than 6,000 hours of NBC’s Olympic programming available throughout the Games.  The Road to Rio homepage is accessible through the main menu, which Comcast has enhanced to offer easy, instant access to real-time Olympic coverage as well as Front Row to Rio and customized content.  Customers will also have the ability to personalize their Olympics experience by using the “favorite” feature on X1 to easily follow the athletes, teams and nations they care about most and navigate the entire Olympics experience with the sound of their voice using the X1 voice remote (in English or Spanish).

With the integrated X1 Sports app, customers can search and explore the latest medal counts, live results, and real-time stats for events, as well as browse all live and streaming programming schedules, select the specific event live stream they would like to view, and watch the latest highlights of their favorite events and athletes on demand.

Plus, X1 customers can also access GoldZone right on the TV or on their mobile device to watch any Olympics match that will result in medals for the winners.

And, there’s no worries about missing any of the action with real-time notifications around must-see moments, the ability to select from broadcast or specific online streaming coverage of individual events and catch up on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, or any edition of the full NBC primetime show, available the next day on Xfinity On Demand.

Tablettoddlers is looking forward to watching the Olympics with the kids.

Re-Connecting the Cord with Comcast

Tablettoddlers attended an event sponsored by Comcast last week which introduced us to its X1 platform and KidsZone.  As a first generation cord-cutter, we were skeptical.  However, after witnessing a demo of the product, we’re here to say that when Tablettoddlers moves into its new home (office) in Chestnut Hill at the end of June, we’ll be coming back to Comcast.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • The Guide is so much easier to navigate.  It looks better and lets you “Favorite” top shows, movies, actors/actresses, and sports teams
  • You can stream videos of your kids from your iPhone to the TV and most importantly, share with family and friends.  Very easy to save, access and share videos and photos with cloud storage.
  • The X1 sports app turns the TV into a live scoreboard with stats.  For a fantasy baseball aficionado like me, that’s golden.
  • The DVR allows you to now record up to 6 programs at once, plus stream those recordings from any internet connection (wifi and 4G) or download them to go with the free Xfinity TV app – great for plane, train, and car rides with no internet access.
  • The X1 voice remote blows Siri away.
  • And last but certainly not least – KidsZone.  Read much more about this here.  A total game-changer/lifesaver.

 

PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children

The network announced Tuesday it will launch PBS Kids, a 24-hour free broadcast and live-streamed channel of nonstop programming for children. The move comes as Netflix has made in-roads with its kids programming and “Sesame Street” began airing on HBO last month. PBS brass says PBS Kids will emphasize educational content.

Check out this NY Times article for more.