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Cable Technology Feature Article

March 08, 2010

DirecTV Offers 'Common Sense' TV Reviews, Notes

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Parents are about to get a new resource: DirecTV (News - Alert), which is offering what company officials call “Common Sense Media’s age-based content reviews on its TV programming guide.”
The service is designed to provide parents with what DirecTV officials describe as “detailed, age-based information and reviews so they can make the right programming choices for their families.”
DirecTV and Common Sense Media have been making kid-friendly ratings information available on directv.com since early last year. Now DirecTV customers will be able to access this information on the electronic program guide via the “info” button on their remote control.

Doing so will give users access to Common Sense Media’s information on the program’s violence, sexual content, positive messages, topics for family discussion and more.

Saying it’s “based on childhood development criteria,” DirecTV officials say Common Sense Media’s age-based ratings system complements traditional ratings services by providing more detailed, easy-to-understand information.”

Earlier this month TMC’s (News - Alert) Calvin Azuri reported that DirecTV expanded its International programming platform with a new, exclusive 24-hour Chinese channel: Charming China.

Charming China “provides the newest and most popular Mandarin entertainment programs from nine popular provincial channels in China,” Azuri wrote: “DirecTV delivers state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming, sports packages and industry leading customer service to its customers in U.S. and Latin America.”

Eric Shanks, executive vice president, DirecTV Entertainment, says DirecTV “believes that finding appropriate TV choices for your kids should be simple and straightforward. Common Sense Media reviews go well beyond the current TV ratings system and actually give parents the information to make decisions about the TV choices in their home.”
Not only does it give practical information about individual TV shows, he added, “but it also presents ideas of how to discuss the shows or movies with your kids.”
“We applaud DirecTV for being the first to integrate our ratings into their on-screen guide,” said Anne Zehren, president and COO of Common Sense Media.
Customers can continue to access ratings information on directv.com by clicking on a TV show or movie title on the directv.com programming guide and use the “Parental Ratings” tab to link directly to the Common Sense Media information.
After reviewing the ratings, parents can use DirecTV’s DVR Scheduler by simply clicking on the “record to receiver” tab and scheduling the program to record on their DVR at home - only at directv.com.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri