TiVo’s KidZone Will Find Childrens’ Shows

Increasing its efforts to differentiate itself from the swath of personal video recorders and media center devices appearing in the market, DVR pioneer TiVo has announced forthcoming enhancements to its KidsZone offerings to make it easier for parents to control television programming recorded and played back for their children.

TiVo subscribers with TiVo Series 2 systems will be able to use KidZone to find and record age-appropriate programming for children. The Federal Communications Commission requires broadcast stations carry at least three hours of educational and informational programming for children every week; TiVo estimates most television markets carry 50 or more hours of so-called E/I programming every week, but much of it can be difficult to find, and it may not be on at hours children are likely to be using a television. TiVo’s forthcoming KidZone upgrade will automatically find and promote shows tagged E/I, adding them to the restricted KidZone programming parents can select to automatically record and play back for their kids.

KidsZone also enables parents to set up their TiVo to only show live or recorded shows from a pre-approved list; accessing material outside the KidsZone requires a passcode.

KidsZone will also carry a list of shows recommended by the Parents Television Council, Common Sense Media, and Parents’ Choice Foundation, three advocacy groups concerned with the content of childrens’ television.

The KidZone service will be launch in mid-2006 at no extra charge to TiVo subscribers. The service will only be compatible with TiVo Series 2 units, which explicitly excludes TiVo units sold through DirecTV.