Tivo launches new parental control tools

MUMBAI: Since the beginning of television, parents, public policy makers and the entertainment industry have wrestled with the challenge of ensuring that their children watch only the programming that best suits them, their family and their values.

The challenge has become further complicated with the myriad of digital channels and programming for mature audiences, along with the explosion in kids programming choices, making the need for a simple, easy-to-use solution even greater than ever before.

American firm Tivo which creates television services for digital video recorders is tackling this problem head-on with the introduction of Tivo KidZone, a groundbreaking solution for the children's television dilemma.

TiVo KidZone offers a first-of-its-kind solution, provides parents expert guidance and easy set-up to help them find and choose the television programming that is most appropriate for their family based on the individual needs and values of their household.

As part of this initiative, Tivo is partnering with American parenting and family groups including Common Sense Media and the Parents Television Council, the two largest grass roots organizations, with 4 million members between them, to create entire menus of recommended programming automatically provided right to the television set.

Moreover, a child is able to use the television set to enjoy these selections and other parent-approved programming, while parents can still use the Tivo service to automatically record their viewing selections and enjoy their favourites when they are ready to watch. In doing so, Tivo is offering the first real answer to the 50 year-old question of how to create the ideal television environment for kids in their own homes.

Tivo president and CEO Tom Rogers says, "Tivo's promise has always been one of delivering "TiVo, TV your way" and today we are building on that foundation to further enable families to more easily find and display programming for their kids that reflects their family's values and interests."

"In creating Tivo KidZone, we are using the strength of Tivo's unique technology to offer a powerful new solution that puts programming control in the hands of parents, guided by expert editorial recommendations that parents can choose from, and in doing so, creating a vast amount of television programming choices for kids to watch."

"What TiVo has created is a simple means by which a parent can choose from an entire menu of weekly recommendations from expert organizations for what kids should watch and allowing them to automatically record all of those shows so that there will always be a full array of good programming choices for the kids to pick from. Furthermore, we are making it easy for parents to select specific programs or channels and allowing them to customize our experts' recommendations even further. Most importantly, when TiVo is in KidZone mode, it won't display other programming, both live and recorded, for access by children in the home," adds Rogers.

The company says that Tivo KidZone represents an advancement over technologies such as the V-Chip deployed in many television sets in homes today. The V-Chip, which uses industry ratings on children's programming to enable parents to block certain channels and programs has had its impact limited by the complicated nature through which it is deployed in a home television set. Moreover, while the V-Chip was designed to block certain programming, it does nothing to pro-actively help parents find and record the very best television programming for their children.

Rather than relying solely on industry ratings, TiVo's new KidZone empowers parents to set their own standards via TiVo's easy-to-use user interface and smart technology. As part of the offering, children will have their own space within the TiVo interface to enjoy their favorite shows, and parents get a password-protected place to make the decisions about what's best for their children to watch. TiVo KidZone also allows subscribers to:

- Choose from entire menus of shows recommended by a variety of family organizations and set automatic recordings based on those recommended menus.
- Add or subtract specific programs or channels to further customise what is available for children
- Lock out all other programming or channels that are not specified for TiVo KidZone from access by children, while making all channels available when a parent wants to watch television

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