We were invited by Samsung to the lovely Maggie and Rose club in London for the launch of their new “Kids Club”. On one of their flagship 4K curved screen giant TVs they showed us how their Internet-connected TVs can have a variety of apps installed on them to bring anything from catch-up TV to games to your big screen. The Samsung Smart TV Kids Club initiative aims to bring together and highlight to parents the range of family friendly content available through the platform from a range of content providers including a firm geek family favourite Hopster.
If I had to describe Hopster I would say it is “Netflix for kids”. The team who make Hopster would prefer to say this of their app:
It is a one-of-a-kind, ad-free subscription service that gives kids aged 2-6 access to a large range of age-appropriate TV content.
The Hopster app was launched in November 2013 on iOS devices, and I have been a subscriber for probably a year or more – £3.99 per month gives access to all their content, and it is probably the geekson’s favourite way of watching TV shows. You can watch episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Pingu, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom and many others. Because it is all age-appropriate and there are no adverts it is one of the few video streaming services that I will allow my kids to watch completely unsupervised. I was interested to learn that Hopster is the first and only app to have all its content comprehensively ‘U’ rated by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), and it has also been vetted by academic advisors to ensure all shows are developmental and educational. It’s an app that appeals to both parents and children, because parents can be reassured that their kids are gaining some benefit from the shows, and the kids think they’re just watching TV!
It’s great to see Hopster branching out onto different platforms – it’s a really good addition to the Samsung lineup, and I’m also told that an Android app is “imminent”.
In addition to Hopster, families can also access programmes from CBeebies, CBBC, CITV, Milkshake! and Netflix Kids on the Samsung Smart TV. This is in addition to catch-up services from the 4 major free-to-air services (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), streaming services from Ketchup, Curzon Home Cinema, YouTube and Spotify, and social networking with Facebook and Twitter.
The geekdaddy and I cancelled our satellite television subscription some years ago now, and we have existed quite happily on a combination of free-to-air television through FreeView, streaming services on Netflix , Now TV and Amazon Instant Video. Any film or TV series we can’t get through those services and just can’t live without we purchase through iTunes or Google Play, but these are getting fewer and further between as the aforementioned services expand. However we accept that to do that we have installed a reasonably geeky television setup (using a Mac Mini as a media server, along with a number of other Internet connected devices like a Chomecast and an AppleTV). This is probably a lot more complicated than most people would like their television watching to be, and so I think having a Smart TV, like the Samsung, which can have apps installed on it and provides a much more “integrated” experience is a more accessible introduction to the wonderful world of streamed, on demand content, and makes it much easier for less geeky families to “cut the cord” (cancel their traditional cable or satelite television services).
Disclosure: The geek family were guests of Samsung at their Kids Club launch event. Our travel costs were paid by Samsung, and the kids were given a goody bag at the end of the event. All opinions are my own.