Sunday, March 22, 2009

Children movies, TiVo, Netflix and more

In addition to using our computers to access youtube, we sometimes want to watch children programming on TV.  We, the parents, occasionally watch some TV but not much (we watch Lost; rarely also late night shows; news etc).  Given this and the the fact that our house had no antenna to receive over the air programming, we had been trying cable (Comcast and U-verse) and satellite (DISH) over the last few years.  We wanted a DVR, preferred to have some HD content and not pay too much given that we don't watch too much TV.

Last week, we decided to try a new way.  We canceled cable, installed over the air (OTA) antenna and bought TiVo HD.  We also connected our TiVo to the Internet.  We were lucky to have an Internet connection next to our TV.  If you don't have a wired Internet connection next to your TV, you may have to spend a little more money on a wireless network adapter (you can use the TiVo AG0100, or another wireless USB adapter but if you buy a non-TiVo one, make sure that you check the compatibility list).

Since we have a network connection, we connected our Netflix account to the TiVo.  Now we can still record and watch Lost, late night shows, children shows on public TV.  But in addition, we can now watch instantly an unlimited number of any of the 12,000 Netflix offerings.  All this for $12.95 for TiVo and $8.99 for Netflix (so, the total is less than $22 a month).  This is not free but much cheaper than cable or satellite and we get many extras included: we can watch youtube videos on our TV; we could order one of Amazon Video On Demand titles; or use any of the other services I haven't tried yet (CinemaNow, or Jaman).

My experience so far has been great: the quality of OTA TV and Netflix movies is great.  The convenience is great and I can expect that as more ways to stream video content become available, TiVo may add them to our DVR.  We are saving a lot of money every month, so our investment in the TiVo and antenna will repay soon.  And the quality of TiVo experience is higher than what experienced from cable and satellite.

Last but not least, I should add that we actually get most of the children movies from our local public library and that in general, we read more than watch which is what we recommend to all parents.

Learning the alphabet from youtube

Avril learned her alphabet when she was very young.  We were reading books to her often but I think another big factor that helped was youtube.  There were quite a few youtube videos about letters there that Avril watched over and over.  Here are a few of them:

(and a few other videos.)

Avril's iPhone favorites for March

I wrote a month ago about Avril's favorite games for iPhone.  She added two new games to her top 5 list.  She still likes Rolando, Cute Math, and the built-in Weather app but now there are two new games she really likes:

  • PopGeo USA Geography.  Avril likes to find countries of the world and US states on the map, so she really enjoys find the states in this game even though she can't read all the names of the states and usually asks for help reading the names.
  • Shape Builder.  Avril plays this game all by herself and really usually can complete 5 or so shapes before switching to another game.