Kid-friendly video apps seem to be all the rage these days — Google has YouTube Kids, Netflix has Just for Kids, and Sky has a new Kids video-on-demand section. It was pretty much inevitable, then, that more pay-TV providers would hop on the bandwagon, and today another has. DirecTV released the eponymous DirecTV Kids for iOS, an app that filters and repackages its existing on-demand library in a format ostensibly friendlier for youngsters.
It definitely delivers on aesthetic — it’s colorful and inviting, with changeable backgrounds and bubble-shaped category buttons for simple searches. But the wrapping is arguably less important than the content, and little ones can expect plenty of the latter. Cartoons, shows, and movies from Viacom’s Nickelodeon, Turner’s Cartoon Network, HBO, and a handful of other networks have made their way into the first release, and DirecTV says it’s adding Disney programming soon. To ensure age-appropriateness, the satellite provider’s partnering with Common Sense Media, a parental reviews website, for ratings. You needn’t worry if junior doesn’t heed the warnings, though — all programming in the app is rated at TV-Y7 or lower.
The intention behind DirecTV Kids was to “take the worry away from watching TV and give kids a simple and safe viewing environment without the need for complicated parental-control setup on multiple devices,” said Tony Goncalves, senior VP of DirecTV’s digital entertainment product group. It’s by all accounts successful, which is an accomplishment worth noting — YouTube Kids, by contrast, has been lambasted by critics for including highly targeted advertising and videos containing sex, drug use, and other adult themes.
DirecTV Kids is live in the App Store for iPhones and iPads running iOS 7 and higher. It requires an active subscription, and isn’t yet available for subscribers outside the U.S.