TV and Media – Electric Fireplace

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The leading manufactures of the electric fireplaces have out done their selves with the invention of the  TV  and  Media  Consoles and the electric wall fireplace. These innovative styles and designs have opened up a new way to heat with style. With both of these designs being vent free electric fireplace, you will not have to worry about a chimney. Not remodeling that might require a roofer or the building contractor. This will help to keep the cost down if you are trying to remodel a room. The  TV  and  Media  Console and the electric wall fireplace are both great pieces of furniture that will add a new depth and interest to any room.

The  TV  and  Media  Consoles will allow for a place to place the TV and have plenty of shelves for your entertainment system. With plenty of shelves, some that are adjustable, you will have a location for the CD’s and the DVD’s. With the mantel designed to hold you TV, you could always hang a flat screen on the wall and use the shelf for other objects. To be able the hang a fireplace on the wall is surly something to talk about. Either of these two electric fireplaces will quickly become the focal point of any room.

Most of theses electric fireplaces will come with a remote. On certain models you may be able to control the flame brightness. Another great option will be able to turn off the heat but still have the fire on. The crackle that some of the electric fireplaces can also be turned off and on. The safety features have not been over looked on these electric fireplaces. The glass is cool to the touch so there is no worry if a small child is in the room.

There is nothing that can kindle thoughts of the warmth and cozy feelings like the electric fireplace can. If you imagine your friends and family sitting around a fireplace in your home, consider the electric fireplaces. The wood look will come in mahogany, cherry, pecan, walnut and oak electric fireplace. The black or white is also available. There is something to fit every type of room decor.

These very innovative designs of the major manufactures of the electric fireplaces have taken away the look of the old, ugly, metal boxed thing and has left us with a piece of furniture that we will be proud to show off. The units of today are more a work or art then the boxed heater that our grandparents might have stuck in the back room.

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How to Set Up the Multi-Media TV

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This article will explain how to connect your PC to a Big Screen TV, and experience the ultimate in HD picture and HD sound, using the existing PC outputs. The set up is actually very simple, and will most likely only require an additional minimal purchase of an HDMI cable to connect the PC to the TV. The HDMI (High Definition Modular Interface) cable will carry both HD sound and picture to your TV.

Before you begin, you will need to verify that the Motherboard on your PC has an outlet to plug in a second display. Most of the newer motherboards contain both VGA and HDMI outputs on the same board. You will also need to verify that your TV has an HDMI input.

To complete the installation, first install (1) end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI output on the back of the PC. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI Input on the big screen TV. Then, configure your PC for using dual monitors. To configure your PC using the MS -Vista O.S., Click on the Vista Start Logo, Click on Control Panel. Click on Personalization, Click on Adjust screen resolution. You should now see the Display Settings window with the existing computer monitor (labeled 1), and a second smaller monitor (labeled 2).

Located immediately below the monitor icons, you will see the drop-down selector box with both monitors listed. By default the number (2) monitor will be the Big Screen TV. Immediately below the selector, check the (2) boxes, This is my main monitor, and extend the desktop on to this monitor. Click OK and Close the window.

Now for an example, resize your I.E. browser window, so it is about half the size of your computer screen. Grab the top of the browser window, and drag it over to the other monitor. After dragging the window, you should now see the I.E. browser window open on your other screen(TV). Now the fun part! Go to one the new free movie sites like Hulu, and now you can watch the show on your big screen TV courtesy of your PC.

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What Is Smart TV?

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The very latest waves of Flat Screen Digital TVs hitting our shores this year are being marketed as “Smart TVs”. What does this mean, and what benefits do they have? Let’s try and explain this concept in a simplified manner.

First – A very quick history on TV evolution

Television technology has advanced rapidly over the years, progressing from the basic “Square” 4:3 Analogue CRT Tube. The introduction and sharp rise in popularity of DVD then saw the implementation of widescreen TVs to suit this format. As the trend towards viewing movies in widescreen digital became the standard, similar steps had to be made for day to day Television viewing. So the integration of digital set top boxes began, and our Television networks began to broadcast our TV programs in digital to coincide with that. As the public began to embrace the “cinema” experience, the next natural progression was larger screens, so Plasma, LCD and later LED panels were introduced. In the years that followed, besides obvious improvements in clarity, sound & design, the only major change made to TV technology was size – demand called for bigger and thinner TVs. Over the last year or so, the introduction of 3D Technology was the next “big-thing”, as well the call for more eco-friendly panels.

So we’ve seen TV’s develop from a bulky, square Picture Tube with a choice of five stations to view in analogue, to large, ultra-slim, Full High Definition panels capable of displaying 3D images, and a choice of over twenty channels broadcasting many programs in widescreen digital. Add to that a very sharp decline in price, and an ever increasing focus on environmentally friendly performance – we’ve certainly come a long way. So where to from here?

Introducing Smart TVs…

The internet is now a dominant part of our daily existence. Our mobile phones have now evolved from devices used just for making phone calls into “Smart-Phones” – basically mobile phones with internet accessibility. The same technology has filtered through to our TVs, and coined the phrase – “Smart TVs”. Today’s new waves of Smart TVs have a very large focus on online interactive media such as Internet   TV ,  media  streaming, social networking and web browsing. In a Similar way to how internet browsing, web widgets and software like games or applications are integrated in today’s smartphones, the same trend towards such connectivity has now become part of today’s TVs, creating a convergence between computers and Digital TV. Smart TVs allow viewers to search for and find movies, video clips and photos on the internet, stored on a home hard drive, through to your TV, using your remote control.

Smart TVs will eventually change the way we access media in our homes

This convenience will eventually change the way we access media in our homes, or more precisely, from where we access our media. One example would be not having to run down to our local video stores anymore just to rent a movie. By pressing a couple of buttons on our TV remote we suddenly have access to hundreds of movies available for streaming from the comfort of our lounge. Applications (or “Apps” as they are commonly referred to) add yet another facet for us to explore. There are a limitless number of apps that can be created. If you are an I-Phone user, you will already have encountered dozens upon dozens of ingenious applications that you now find hard to live without. There are apps for everything, ranging from live weather and news forecasts, to TV Show catch-up episodes, the latest sports news for your favourite team as well as live scores, and of course the whole social media forum such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These are now right at your fingertips, transforming TVs into a very diverse media network. The ability to Skype call is also an option, with the aid of a brand-specific Skype camera. While a small number of these features, in some form, have been available over the last year from some television manufacturers, in 2011 we will see the introduction of unrestricted web-browsing in some models. This opens up a limitless array of possibilities by transforming your TV into a fully functional web browser.

Smart TVs – Bringing the internet into your lounge room

There is a distinct advantage of not having to take the effort to boot up your PC, which is usually located in another room, to perform tasks such as purchasing items on eBay, checking your E-mail, or to Google something that has just taken your interest on TV. With large high definition screens, and web pages fully optimised to suit, there is certainly a distinct advantage in browsing the internet from the comfort of your lounge instead of through a little laptop screen or sitting at your computer desk. Even if you have photos, music, movies or video files stored on your home computer, you can access all of these wirelessly through your Home network and stream them directly to your TV.

So, in summary…

Smart TVs are the next generation of Flat Screen Digital Television, merging your TV and computer’s functionality into one.

With the ability to stream high definition movies, connect with your friends using Facebook and Twitter, stream TV Shows, and get instant access to news, sport and weather – all from the comfort of your lounge and on a large High Definition TV screen. Some of the higher end Digital TV models will offer built in web browsers – opening up unrestricted web browsing directly to your Television Set. As Plasma and LED Screens have evolved to become thinner, more energy efficient and providing us with stunning Full High Definition clarity. We now have a limitless array of media applications opened up to us, providing us with versatility and cross functional capability like we have never had before.

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Western Digital TV Live Review

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In this article I’ll be discussing the Western Digital TV Live, which is a media player that connects to your HD TV and allows you to play HD content in either 720p or 1080p resolutions.

The first thing you’ll notice about the WD TV Live is its size, it’s tiny. You wouldn’t think such a small device could pack such a big punch, but it does. The player comes with a remote control, and its necessary batteries, and also its power adapter. Unfortunately a HD cable isn’t provided, so you’ll have to source this elsewhere.

Once you’ve connected the device, and turned it on, you’ll notice a baby blue light on the front of the player to signify that it’s on. When you change your TV’s channel to the player’s channel, you’ll then notice the WD TV Live’s boot up screen. This is displayed for roughly a few seconds, and it then changes to the main menu, where you can choose from a host of options which include, video, music, photos and settings. The setting’s option allows you to customise your player experience, allowing you to change how files and folder are displayed, how and if your WD TV will connect to a network, the language selection etc. Selecting the music option takes you to the music menu, which allows you to open up files and folders which host any music files. The photo’s option takes you to the photo’s screen, and the video screen likewise.

You can connect your media to the WD TV Live player in a variety of ways, ranging from a USB stick which physically plugs into either or both of the media players USB ports, an external hard drive which connects to the media player via a USB cable, or a network connection. A network connection allows you to connect your WD   TV  live  media  player to your network, and stream any music and videos in real time. This is how mine is currently setup, and it works faultlessly, no skipping, pausing, just a smooth playback. I’ve also tested playing videos and music via a USB stick or an external hard drive, and this also worked perfectly. There is also the option of connecting the device to your network via a wireless USB stick, but only some USB sticks are compatible, so you’ll need to have a look at the product’s home page on the manufacturer’s website to ensure it’ll work correctly.

HD movies are displayed beautifully on the WD  TV  live  media  player, and you have a range of options during playback. You can choose whether to display the films built in subtitles, and if so, what language. You can pause the film at any moment, fast forward or rewind in single mode, x2, x4, x8 or x16, and you also have the option of skipping forwards or backwards in 10 minute intervals.

The WD  TV   media  player is a fantastic device which has worked faultlessly for me in my 6 months of ownership. It’s a perfect device for those who wish to add to their home theatre, and due to its size and slick appearance, it’s sure to look the part as well.

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Glorifying Social Media – When Television Met Twitter

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There is no denying the prominence of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter over the past couple of years. Although these social media platforms did not exist a decade ago, they are now firmly integrated into modern society. In fact, it is incredible how much our lives are influenced by social media. We not only communicate online, but we also “tweet” and “digg” and “bookmark” and “favourite” and share all kinds of content. Any event of interest, regardless how insignificant it may be, is almost guaranteed to be reported via multiple online avenues. Whether it is a tweet or a blog post or a viral video, the buzz spreads rapidly across the Internet. After all, we are the Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter generation – we live and breathe through social media.

In particular, the rise of social media brought upon an interesting phenomenon within the traditional media format. Recently, the world watched its first ever situational comedy inspired by a Twitter account. Crassly titled $#*! My Dad Says, the show features William Shatner as a cantankerous old man with a wide array of snappy one-liners, while his son records these remarks on the Internet. The actual Twitter account has almost two million followers; the sitcom premiere debuted to an audience of over twelve million viewers. Let those impressive numbers sink in first, and then you better realize that it was an anonymous old man – who would never have been famous without the Internet – drew this much attention and popularity.

At first, the concept of a Twitter account sounds laughably absurd – how could an actual television show sustain based on the random tweets of less than 140 characters? As it turns out, $#*! My Dad Says is no different from the standard laugh track comedies on CBS, complete with Shatner’s distinguished way of delivering a ha-ha punch line (or any line at all, really). Yet, it is the idea behind the sitcom that displays the most originality. Think about what the show has accomplished by its mere existence: a social media icon is being celebrated in network television! Can you imagine getting a TV show based on your disjointed thoughts online? Can you imagine being famous because of your Twitter account?

While Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter grow more dominant in our culture, it is becoming increasingly clear that social media has no boundaries anymore. Its influence extends beyond the Twitterverse or a primetime television show; it affects our modernity as a whole. This essay will analyze deeper into the seamless integration between social media and traditional media, as well as the unsettling repercussions of this recent pop culture trend.

The Facebook movie and the Twitter sitcom are just two recent examples among numerous success stories. Several high-profile entertainment bloggers have quit their day jobs so that they can become full-time online gossipmongers. HBO is in the works of producing a comedy called Tilda, featuring Diane Keaton and Ellen Page, about a fearsome blogger loosely resembling Nikki Finke. In addition, there are hundreds of minor Internet sensations made famous by their viral videos, and sometimes their fame extends to lucrative opportunities in the entertainment industry. For example, that YouTube kid is on The Amazing Race with his father a few seasons ago. In fact, YouTube is like the hub of revolving online celebrities; their stardom fades in and out over time. Leave Britney alone, anyone?

Since a sizable portion of social media users belong to the younger demographic, it is no surprise that a number of youth-oriented programs feature social media into the show’s premise. For example, iCarly showcases three teens that discover the success of their webcast as they become online celebrities. Balancing the normalcy of adolescent life along with the abrupt Internet fame makes iCarly unique from the other television shows. Similarly, while the targeted demographic of Gossip Girl is aimed towards a slightly older audience, it showcases an anonymous blogger that spreads scandalous gossip on the Internet and how this inadvertently affects the lives of several privileged young adults. Gossip Girl covers the darker side of social media, where the online anonymity poses a threat to real-life privacy.

By promoting social media so heavily into television and film, the entertainment industry has sent a message that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are integral elements in our everyday lives. It seems that a Facebook account is even more significant than an e-mail address or a cell phone number. It seems that relying on Twitter updates and viral videos are more preferable than reading an actual news article. It seems that blog posts will revolutionize the journal industry sooner enough. As the number of television shows and films about social media increases, this trend indicates that we cannot function in society without some sort of social media platform or social profiling account. How else will you communicate with your acquaintances? How else will you manage your friendships and relationships?

I am in the school of thought that relying on any technological medium too much can lead to disastrous results. Social media may have eased our communication processes, but it also oversimplified our abilities to form coherent and insightful thoughts. After all, how profound can your tweets be if it only permits you 140 characters per message? And anyone who bothered to look at the comments section under a YouTube video, especially regarding controversial topics, can witness a wide array of banality. Even Facebook, with its frequent breach of privacy, has an unsophisticated system of categorizing your profile details, such as the “It’s Complicated” option for your relationship status. (Of course, they don’t care about what you put in your profile, as long as you are part of the demographic metrics for the prospective online advertisers. Single male in his thirties who uses Facebook a lot? How about clicking on the online dating site advert in the sidebar?)

Social media does not pose any life-threatening perils, although there are some incidents of online stalkers or worse, but we should still be informed about its obvious limitations as a communication medium. Don’t assume that social media is essential just because it is promoted everywhere in films and television shows. Do not misjudge its prevalence as a form of necessity. As consumers, as online users, and as human beings, we should take a critical look of social media as a form of the new traditional media. If these social media platforms are here to stay, where do we fit in? Are we satisfied with being defined as the Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter generation?

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45 Family Media Literacy Activities to Grow Smart Brains in a Digital Age – Help All in One Place

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What is “media literacy?” The word literacy connotes a high degree of competency and usually means that a person knows how to read and write. A literate person, on the other hand, is well read, using and applying high level thinking skills across a broad range of topics. Computer literacy means the capacity to use computers well. Media literacy, then, is the ability to use all forms of media well. A media-literate person uses television, movies, DVDs, computer and video games for specific purposes, just as a print-literate person reads a book or a magazine, a college text or a newspaper for specific, various reasons.

Using all visual screen technology intentionally is the first, and most important element in becoming media literate. Ultimately as parents we want children and teens to be in control of small screens and not be controlled by them. Research has verified and experts know that a child who mindlessly watches a lot of TV or plays video games endlessly is less equipped to develop the capacities for wise media use. A media literate child, on the other hand, would learn to self-monitor screen time-being able to take it in doses-rather than make a habit of it four-five hours a day ad nauseum. He or she would want to do other activities because thinking, creative children are curious beings and there’s a whole world out there to explore-screen technologies just being one small part of it.

While a print-literate person reads words; a media literate person reads images. Using analysis, evaluation, and higher level thinking skills, a media-literate person interprets the subtle messages and overt claims visual messages convey. This is where we want our children headed-in a direction of making it second nature to think well about all forms of media images.

If we boiled down media literacy for our children, I think we would find five basic skills that we would like them to acquire:

• Conscious, intentional, limited use of all forms of screen technology

• Ability to critique visual messages and understand their intent and intellectual and emotional impact

• Ability to communicate facts, ideas, and thoughtful opinions about media images

• A thorough understanding of media production techniques to fully appreciate how such techniques as camera angles, lighting, cuts, etc. impact the messages being delivered

• Ability to use all forms of screen technology purposefully, and eventually wisely

Children can enjoy becoming media literate. The 45 family media literacy activities are grouped as follows:

30 General activities that you can adapt and use with children or teens.

15 Activities for children, specifically designed for children, ages 3-6

30 General Family Media Literacy Activities

1. TV and books.

Keep track of the dates when a TV version of a book is scheduled to air and encourage your kids to read the book first, or follow up the program by suggesting they read the book afterwards. Great discussions can result from comparing the original book and the TV version.

2. Use TV to expand children’s interests.

Link TV programs with your children’s interests, activities, and hobbies. A child interested in crafts can watch craft programs for encouragement and ideas; after viewing a wildlife show, take the kids to a zoo and have them recall what they learned about animals from the TV program. How does the real life experience differ from the show they watched? Are there any similarities?

3. Time capsule.

Ask your child to imagine that he or she has been given the job of choosing five television programs that will be included in a time capsule, not to be opened for one hundred years. Discuss what type of society these shows might reflect to a child opening the time capsule one hundred years from now.

4. Different viewpoints.

All family members watch one program together. The TV is then turned off and each person writes a few sentences about their opinions about the show. Discuss and compare everyone’s opinions, pointing out to your child how different people will like or dislike the same program. Why are all opinions valid? Who had the most persuasive opinion about the show? Why?

5. Watch a TV show being taped.

Take kids to a television program taping either locally or as part of a family trip to New York or Los Angeles. To make the trip more meaningful, have your children draw the set, take notes on the format of the show, note the special effects, and talk about what it was like being in the audience. Is the audience important to the show? How? (It may be easier to visit a local TV or radio station. You could visit both and talk about the differences between them.)

6. Make up an alternate title.

When you’re watching a TV program or movie with your child, ask him or her to exercise imagination and think of another title. To get things rolling, suggest an alternate title yourself. All family members can come up with as many alternates as possible. Vote on the best. What makes it better than all the rest to convey the essence of the show or film?

7. Compare what you see with what you expect.

With your child, come up with a description of a show before watching it, based on what you’ve read in a TV schedule. Predict how the characters will act and how the plot will unfold. When the program ends, take a few minutes to talk about what you saw: Did either of you notice any differences between what was written in the TV schedule and what was actually shown? Were either of you surprised by anything you saw? Is the show what you expected it would be? Why or why not?

8. Which category does it fit?

Using a television guide, your child will list all the shows she or he watches, then divide them into the following categories: comedy, news, cartoons, sitcoms, dramas, soap operas, police shows, sporting events, educational programs, and documentaries. Which is her or his favorite category and show? Why?

9. Predict what will happen.

During commercial breaks, ask your child to predict what will happen next in the program. You can discuss such questions as: If you were the scriptwriter, how would you end this story? What do you think the main characters will do next? Is it easy or difficult to guess the main event in this program? Why or why not?

10. The guessing game.

Turn off the volume but leave the picture on. See if your child can guess what is happening. To extend this into a family game, have everyone pick a TV character and add his/her version of that character’s words.

11. Letter writing.

Encourage your child to write letters to TV stations, describing why s/he likes and dislikes certain programs. Emphasize that giving factual and specific information will be helpful.

12. Be a camera operator.

Have your child experiment with a video camera to learn how it can manipulate a scene (omission-what it leaves out; selection-what it includes; close-up-what it emphasizes; long shot-what mood it establishes; length of shot-what’s important and what’s not).

13. Theme songs.

Help your child identify the instruments and sound effects used in the theme songs of his favorite shows. Have her sing or play the music in the show and explain what the music is doing. Does it set a mood? How? Does it tell a story? How does it make him/her feel?

14. Sequence the plot: a game.

To help your child understand logical sequencing, ask her to watch a TV show while you write down its main events, jotting each event on a separate card. At the completion of the program, shuffle the cards and ask your child to put them in the same order in which they appeared during the program. Discuss any lapses in logical sequence.

15. A time chart.

Your child will keep a time chart for one week of all of her activities, including TV watching, movie watching, and playing video games. Compare the time spent on these activities and on other activities, such as playing, homework, organized sports, chores, hobbies, visiting friends, and listening to music. Which activities get the most time? The least? Do you or your child think the balance should be altered? Why or why not?

16. Winning and losing.

Tell your child to watch a sports program and list all the words that are used to describe winning and losing. Encourage a long list. You can make this into a friendly competition, if you like, with two or more children collecting words from several sports programs and then reading them aloud.

17. TV and radio.

While watching TV coverage of a sports game, turn off the TV sound and have your child simultaneously listen to radio coverage. What does your child think about the radio coverage? About the TV coverage? What are the strengths of each? The weaknesses?

18. Quiz show comparison.

Compare and contrast the wide variety of game and quiz shows with your child. You’ll see shows that test knowledge, shows that are based on pure luck, and shows that are aimed specifically at children. Which are your child’s favorites? Why?

19. TV lists.

Assist your child in making lists of all television programs that involve hospitals, police stations, schools, and farms, and all television programs that contain imaginative elements, such as science fiction shows or cartoons.

20. Television vocabulary.

Challenge your child to listen for new words on TV and report back to the family on their definitions.

21. Critical viewing survey.

Ask your child to watch one of his favorite programs with you. Afterwards, you will both fill out the following survey. Then compare your answers. Are they different? Why? Are there right or wrong answers, or is much of what was recorded open to individual interpretation?

Critical Viewing Survey

Program watched:

Characters (List three to five and describe briefly):

Setting (Time and place):

Problems/Conflicts:

Plot (List three to five events in order of occurrence):

Story theme:

Solution:

Logic (Did the story make sense? Would this have happened in real life?):

Rating of the show (from one to ten, with ten being the highest):

22. Body language.

Observe body language in commercials and/or TV shows and films. Notice head position, hand gestures, and eye movement. How does body language affect how you feel about the intended visual or verbal message? Children could cut out postures and expressions from print advertisements (magazines and newspapers) and see if they can find those postures and expressions on TV or in movies. How important is body language to convey persuasive visual messages?

23. Variations on a story.

Look at how a particular story is handled differently by different channels. Use videotaped shows to compare. What are the differences? What are the similarities?

24. Quick problem solving.

Point out to your child how quick problems are solved on many TV shows. Discuss the differences in dealing effectively with challenges in real life. You may want to include in your discussion what processes you go through to identify, confront, and resolve problems.

25. Put words in their mouth.

As a family watch a favorite program with the sound off. Try to figure out what each of the characters in the show is saying. Discuss why you believe that based on past knowledge of the program and how the characters are behaving. Encourage your child to think about how he or she would write the script for each of the characters. What are the important things that they say? Why are these considered important?

26. Make your own family TV Guide.

Gather your child/ren and ask them to make a family TV Guide for the upcoming week. What programs would they include? What programs would they make sure not to include? Ask them to give reasons for their choices.

27. Thinking ahead to predict what might happen.

This is a great activity for school-age children who may need guidance in watching their favorite programs while you can’t be there with them. Give your child a written list of 3-5 general questions that they can read before they watch a TV show. Consider such questions as: “What do you think this program will be about? What do you anticipate the main character’s troubles will be? How will he/she resolve them? Why are you watching this show and not doing something else?” Instruct your child to think about the questions while viewing-no need to write anything down-just think. As your child watches, he/she won’t be able to stop thinking about these questions-it’s just how the brain works. Intermittently, ask your child to discuss the TV program with you, along with how this activity helps to think about the program!

28. Ask: “What will happen next?”

This is a simple, yet effective activity. Mute the commercials while your family watches TV together and ask each child and adult what he/she thinks will happen next. There are no right or wrong answers! This gives everyone a chance to engage in creative interplay and then to test his/her “hypothesis” when the show resumes. Children may learn just how predictable and mundane a lot of programs are and soon improve on the scriptwriters, adding their own creative ideas!

29. Record your child’s favorite show.

Then play it back during a long car trip or around a cozy fireplace on a dark winter evening. The purpose of this activity would be for your child to hear the program, without seeing the visuals. Talk about how the characters and their actions change as a result of only hearing the show. Does your child have to listen more intently? Why or why not? What are some crucial distinctions between watching and listening?

30. Encourage your child or teen to be a media creator.

Ultimately what we want is for our children to find ways to creatively express who they are. You can encourage a child to use a digital camera and make a photo collage of a family trip, for instance. Older children and teens can create websites, blogs, even podcasts. Screen technologies are powerful tools and when used intentionally, with specific purposes, our children become media-literate in the process of learning more about their own creativity and unique skills.

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15 Media Activities for Children, ages 3-6

Screen Violence

1. Talk about real-life consequences.

If the screen violence were happening in real life, how would the victim feel? In real life what would happen to the perpetrator of the violence. Compare what’s on the screen to the consequences of what happens when someone hurts another person in the real world.

2. Violence is not the way to solve problems.

Emphasize that hurting another person in any way or destroying property is wrong and won’t solve a person’s problems. Point out to your child that many of the violent cartoon characters never seem to solve their problems from episode to episode, and that to use violence is to act without thinking of the consequences. Tell your child it’s powerful and smart to find peaceful, creative ways to solve problems with other human beings. Choose a problem your child encountered recently such as another child taking a toy away and talk about the reasonable way the problem was resolved or could have been resolved-without hurting.

3. Anger is natural.

Talk about the fact that we all get angry, that it’s normal. It’s what we do with our anger-how we cope with it and express it-that’s important. When screen characters hurt people out of anger, it’s because they have not learned how to deal with their anger. Your child could make a list of screen characters who know how to deal with their anger in positive ways.

4. Count the number of violent acts.

While watching a favorite cartoon with your child, count the number of actual violent actions. Point out that these are harmful to others and you would never allow him/her to do such things to others. Total the number of violent actions at the end of the program and ask your child if he/she thought there were that many. Decide not to watch cartoons or any shows with such violent actions.

5. Talk about real and pretend.

If your child is exposed to a violent movie or video game, it is especially important to talk with him/her about the fact that the images were pretend-like when your child plays pretend and that no one was actually hurt. Make it a common practice to talk about the differences between real and pretend with any TV programs, movies, your child watches. Understanding this concept basic to becoming media-literate!

Screen Advertising

6. Blind taste test.

Show your child how she can test the claims of commercials. Have her do a blind taste test. It can be done with a wide range of foods such as three or four kinds of soda pop, spaghetti sauce, cereal-your child’s favorites. Are the products as great as the commercials claimed? Can she tell the difference between a generic brand and a famous one? Can she identify products by name? Do the commercials make products seem different than they really are? Why or why not? This is a fun activity to do with several children. Have a taste test party!

7. Draw pictures of a feeling.

Suggest that your child draw a picture depicting how he feels after watching two different types of TV commercials. What are the differences between the pictures? Discuss your child’s feelings about the different commercial messages. Picture the buyer. Younger children can watch a commercial and then draw a picture of the type of person they think will buy the product. After discussing the child’s picture, explain how various audience appeals are used in commercials to attract specific audiences.

8. Cartoon ads.

While watching cartoons, your child can look for specific cartoon characters that appear in popular commercials. Explain the differences between the commercial and the cartoon: In the commercial, the character sells a product; in the cartoon, the character entertains us. The next time she watches TV, have her report to you if she sees any cartoon characters selling products.

9. The toy connection.

When visiting a toy store, you and your child can look for toys that have been

advertised on TV or promoted by TV personalities. Point out to him how the toys advertised on TV initially seem more attractive than those he hasn’t seen advertised.

10. Invent a character.

Your child can pick a product, such as a favorite cereal, and create an imaginary character that can be used to sell the product. He/she could draw a picture or role-play the character. Or, using puppets, stage an imaginative commercial for a made-up product. Afterwards discuss with your child what she or he did to tell people about the product. Watch a few commercials and point out basic selling techniques such as making the product looking larger than life, repeating a jingle, and showing happy children using the product.

Screen News

TV news contains elements that may not be appropriate for young children. As much as possible, watch news when your child is in bed or not in the room. Protect your little one from graphic images and topics that she/he is not ready to handle cognitively or emotionally.

Screen Stereotypes

11. Not better, just different.

Children are never too young to start learning the message that differences do not make anyone better than anyone else. Point out how each family member has his or her own individual preferences, habits, ideas, and behaviors. Differences make us all unique and interesting. When your child sees a racist or sexist stereotype on the screen, explain that the writers of the script made an error in portraying the character in that light.

12. Change the picture.

Play a game with your child: When she encounters a screen stereotype, ask her whether other types of people could play that role. For instance, if the secretary is a young woman, explain that men are secretaries, too, and that many older women are very competent secretaries.

13. Girls, boys, and toys.

As you walk through a toy store, point out various toys to your child, asking each time whether the toy is made for a boy or a girl. Ask if any child could just as well play with the toy. Encourage your child to find toys that would be fun for girls and boys to play with. Then, when your child sees toy commercials on TV, point out whether only little boys or little girls are playing with the toys.

14. Play: Who is missing?

Often what children see on the screen does not represent all nationalities and the diversity he or she encounters in preschool, kindergarten, or on the playground. While watching favorite cartoons or movies with your child, discuss who is missing-such as an older person; a disabled person, or a person of a certain race or nationality. You can also discuss what types of people your child encounters more often on the screen-young, glamorous, happy white people usually take up the majority of the visual images with men outnumbering women 3 to 1!

15. Model discussion of screen stereotypes.

When your family watches a favorite TV program or a popular DVD, you can help your youngster identify stereotypical roles, behaviors, and attitudes by holding family conversations to involve your spouse and/or older children. While watching the program or movie, the adults and the older children take notes, tracking whenever they spot a stereotype of age, gender, or race. After watching, turn off the TV/VCR and discuss everyone’s observations. Using each family member’s notes, compile a master list of the stereotypical statements and portrayals that were noted. This discussion can be made more interesting if you taped the program (or replay the DVD in appropriate scene/s), so you can refer back to it as family members discuss the stereotypes they spotted. Your little one will listen to this family media literacy conversation and absorb important information while the others share their ideas.

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The Best Roku Media Sources

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Roku is a streaming media player that plays video, music, and other media. Roku connects your TV to an amazing amount of content with no computer required. All you need is a high-speed Internet connection. Roku can be set-up in as little as 5 minutes and is simple to use. Also, because it streams the media directly from the Internet to your TV, there is no need to wait for downloads. Your favorite media is available instantly.

There are many Roku Media options available. The most popular media providers include Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Video On Demand. All three of these options provide access to your favorite movies and television programs in high-definition.

Netflix currently has an unlimited streaming subscription option for only $7.99 per month. The Netflix library contains nearly every movie or television show available on DVD. However, the portion of the Netflix library available for streaming is smaller. Most new releases are not available for streaming with Netflix. Also, a Netflix subscription does not give you access to current season TV shows.

Hulu Plus is a very popular service video streaming service. It offers a subscription for $7.99, the same price as the Netflix streaming only subscription. Hulu Plus offers current and prior season TV shows from most networks. It also offers a large selection of movies, although many new release premium movies are not available.

Amazon Video On Demand has a different pricing model than Netflix or Hulu Plus. Amazon Video On Demand does not have a monthly fee. Instead, you pay to purchase or rent movies and TV shows. TV shows and movies can be rented for as little as 99 cents. Amazon Video On Demand offers nearly any movie or TV show that is available on DVD. It also offers current season TV shows.

The best Roku media source for you depends on what content you want the most. To cover the most options with the least cost, many people chose to purchase a monthly Netflix subscription and then supplement this with an occasional Amazon Video On Demand purchase. This way, you get most of your favorite content for $7.99 per month. Then, if there is a must watch TV show or new release movie that is not included in the Netflix library, it can still be purchased from Amazon Video On Demand.

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Snappy Sound Bites Will Turn a Tv Appearance Into a Huge Success

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Anyone wanting to be a guest on Oprah or Good Morning America must learn to master the fine art of generating sound bites for television. Television thrives on sound bites – those brief, quotable remarks that will be repeated again and again on television news and talk shows. Sound bites are the pearls that flow out of our mouths into the ears of TV producers and onto the airways.

If you want to be quoted, you must convert the message points in your book into sound bites. To do this remember that analogies, bold action words, emotions and personal examples, attacks and absolutes make good quotes and sound bites. The highly personal, classic sound bite has action, emotion, and attacks – all of these elements will work to make reporters swoon.

My experience as a publicist and book marketing consultant has taught me to shy away from humor which can be a tricky business. What seems funny to colleagues, friends, or family at 5:30 p.m. may not seem so funny the next morning when you read your comments in USA Today. Sarcasm and teasing types of humor usually don’t work well in the media because you lose control of context and, in the case of print media, you lose the ability to communicate with your voice and facial expressions. The humor that is most effective is self-deprecating humor.

What about YOU? Are you skilled enough in producing sound bites to earn an interview on local or national TV? If you’ve not had media training, believe me it’s too late once you get the call. You may have to get in a car or on a plane within an hour’s notice. It’s too late to get the training then. That’s why you need to be prepared before you get the call. When my clients agree to media coaching, my first choice for them is TJ Walker, CEO of Media Training Worldwide.

TJ Walker is one of the leading authorities on media training in the world. With more than 20 years of media training experience, Walker has trained thousands of CEOs, authors, and experts, including leading government officials in the United States, European Prime Ministers, and African diplomats.

Here’s TJ Walker’s Sound Bite Checklist:

1. Create sound bites that are 10, 15 and 30 seconds.

2. Work an example into the sound bite.

3. Clichés make good quotes and sound bites. Reporters can’t write clichés, but they love quoting other people using clichés.

4. Humor makes good quotes and sound bites but the problem with using humor in front of the media is that someone somewhere is likely to be offended, resulting in a permanent public record of your remarks. So, quip if you must, at your own expense and your own risk.

5. One great way to get your message quoted by reporters is to state your ideas in the form of a rhetorical question.

6. Opposition quotes make good quotes and sound bites. Opposition quotes remain a favorite of reporters, but use them only if and when they are appropriate to your message.

7. The first letters from the following: Analogies, Bold action, Emotions, Attacks, Clichés, Humor, Pop culture, Rhetorical questions, and Opposition quotes spell out A BEACH PRO. The higher number of A BEACH PRO elements you use, the greater your chances are of being quoted. If you have not used any A BEACH PRO elements, you will not be quoted.

8. Absolutes are absolutely quote worthy. If I say “We will be the next champions” that has a better chance of landing in the story than “We are hoping to win.” Saying “Our company is the top performer in this field” would be another example.

9. Recycle your quotes. If one worked well with another media interview in the past, use it again.

10. Populate your quotes with pop culture references.

11. Put analogies in your answers, use bold, action-oriented words, let your emotions flow freely, and attack your way to the headlines.

Memorize that checklist but understand that a sound bite is only one aspect of a successful television appearance. You also must be concerned about your total message, the knowledge you display, and the self-confidence you demonstrate.

As a book publicist I’ll prepare questions for our clients ahead of time and include those in our press kits emailed to the stations. Often times the television host will read those questions right in order. Other times they refer to our questions and include some of them. That’ll help you because you’ll know what to expect and you can respond with the “sound bites” you’ve already developed.

The bottom line: Prepare some clever answers and snappy sound bites ahead of time, rehearse them every day and you’ll sound like a pro turning your TV appearance into a huge success.

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Spokane TV Stations: From Analog to Digital

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Spokane TV stations are broadcast companies in Spokane Washington that transmits programs over a television (medium). The most recent technology promotes that broadcast signals will be switched to the new digital signal. There are a number of well-known TV stations in Spokane which is already broadcasting digitally. So it exactly means that they will all switch off the analog signals by next year. When switched to this latest innovation, viewers will discover that stations are able to add auxiliary channels.

Here is a list of Spokane’s TV stations that serves the Spokane television market provided with their corresponding channels:

  • KREM Channel 2

KREM Channel 2 is one of the television stations in Spokane, WA which serves the Spokane television market. This TV station is located in 4103 South Regal Street Spokane, WA 99223. The programming of the station is run by the CBS network. KREM operates with 893 kilowatts of power and is owned by the Belo Corporation.

  • KXLY Channel 4

KXLY is a television station which runs programming from the ABC network. KXLY is a digital full-power television station that operates with 23.3 kilowatts of power and is owned by Spokane Television Group, a subsidiary of Morgan Murphy Media.

  • KHQ Channel 6

This TV station has just completed its installation and testing of a new digital antenna to greatly improve the station’s signal strength last week. The station runs programming from the NBC network and operates 45.1 kilowatts of power. The station is owned by The KHQ Television Group, a subsidiary of Cowles Publishing Company, which owns The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

  • KSPS Channel 7

This TV station which broadcasts three channels, including channels 8 and 44 has modified its digital frequencies. This change will be effective next year. The station runs programming from the PBS network and operates with 21.6 kilowatts of power. KSPS Channel is owned by Spokane Public Schools.

  • KWSU Channel 10

KWSU is a television station in Pullman which runs programming from the PBS network. KWSU with 6.2 kilowatts of power and is owned by Washington State University.

  • KSKN Channel 22

KSKN is a television station in Spokane which runs programming from the The CW network and identifies itself as “CW 22”. KSKN operates with 250 kilowatts of power and is owned by Belo Corporation.

  • KQUP Channel 24

KQUP is a television station in Pullman, WA which runs Daystar programming and identifies itself as “KQUP 24”. KQUP operates with 57 kilowatts of power and is owned by Daystar Television Network.

  • KCDT Channel 26

KCDT is a television station in Coeur d’Alene, ID which runs programming from the PBS network and identifies itself as “Idaho PTV”. This television station operates with 38 kilowatts of power and is owned by Idaho State Board of Education.

  • KAYU Channel 28

KAYU is a television station in Spokane, WA which runs programming from the FOX network and identifies itself as “FOX 28”. KAYU operates with 91.4 kilowatts of power and is owned by Northwest Broadcasting.

  • KGPX Channel 34

KGPX is a television station in Spokane which runs programming from the ion network. KGPX is a digital full-power television station that operates with 104 kilowatts of power and is owned by ION Media Networks.

  • KHBA Channel 39

KHBA Channel 39 is a low-power TV station broadcasting locally on UHF. This TV station is the only local Christian station which runs programming from 3ABN. The station is owned by He’s Alive Broadcasting Association.

Get the latest news scoops that you want at Spokane TV stations.

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Digital Media Players – Interesting Predictions For 2011

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Technology for digital media players changed dramatically in 2010. For the first time ever, a person could store all their movies, music, and photos in one place and stream them directly to their living room television. So exactly what can we expect for 2011? I think 2011 will be a furiously fast year for digital media sreamers and we will see jumps in technology and a drop in price also.

  • Every Major Television Manufacturer Will Include Digital Media Player Technology As An Included Feature – This device was the first to connect the home computer to the home theater. I know that Apple has the Apple TV and there are a few other devices out there that kind of got close to the mark, but full media streamers were the missing link. Now, with storage becoming more affordable, a person could make a backup copy of every DVD in their personal collection. The digital player allowed for streaming of video and audio, including high-definition, straight to your living room television. Coming in 2011 will be the full on emergence of Wifi enabled televisions that can connect to the internet and your home network. Sony televisions are even including things like widgets that make things a lot easier. In 2011 you will have the ability to connect and stream your media to your television without the need for the player. If you aren’t planning on upgrading your television, don’t worry, you can still get a super high-tech player with all the bells and whistles.
  • Streaming Players Will Increase Portability And Storage Capacity Will Be Included – Because the actual size of the technology like circuit boards and memory, I believe the size of the media players will also shrink. The smaller size will mean that it will be easier to travel with your player. For those that have video connections and screens in their car, this could mean that you can take your entire DVD collection with you without even needing to bring a single DVD. Now, most players have the option for the user to install their own 2.5″ SATA hard drive so that they can store the media directly on the device. Let’s say you don’t have a wireless network at home, storing your digital music, movies, and photos on the device means that all you have to do is take the player to your television and connect directly with A/V cables. In 2011 I believe we will see players come standard with built-in hard drives or solid state drives.

These are just predictions, but I look forward to seeing if these happen. These are not guarantees by any means. If you are considering whether to buy a digital media player now or maybe considering getting a television with the capability built in, you might want to hold off a little longer to see what happens.

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