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Tivo to Add New Parental TV Controls

Techstination feature for Thursday, March 9, 2006

Mr. Rogers….and childrens' TV. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. We're not talking about the late Fred Rogers….the host of the long running show for children on PBS. This time…it's Tom Rogers, the former NBC executive who is now CEO of Tivo. Rogers has announced that beginning in June, owners of stand alone Tivo boxes will have a new, free service available called KidZone, the will give parents simple to use controls over what their children watch on TV…

"What we've done with KidZone is gone way beyond V-chip and created an ability for the best in television program to always be present and available for kids when they turn on the television set based on menus of recommendations from expert groups. So always having hours upon hours of great kids' television just waiting for kids. And in addition, keeping out anything that a parent does not want."

Tivo is working with the Parents Television Council and Common Sense Media to create menus of recommended programming. KidZone will lock out channels and programs not specifically permitted by parents….who will have to enter a code to exit the KidZone. Rogers says it's the kind of control that's needed. Of course, his hope is, it will help Tivo sell more of its DVRs….

"The fact that this is only available through Tivo and not generic DVRs, we think will help Tivo drive its sales forward nicely."

The service will not be available to subscribers using DirecTV Tivo boxes. The programming contract between Tivo and DirecTV expires in February of next year. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.