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Netflix for kids? Samsung puts Hopster on Smart TVs

Samsung's latest smart TV app delivers certified kids-safe programmes

Samsung is trying to woo the next generation of video-on-demand fans with a Netflix-style app aimed at kids. The Hopster app will deliver a range of pre-school programming to owners of Samsung’s Smart TVs, without running the risk of the kids stumbling across Breaking Bad. 

All of the content on the Hopster app has been rated U – suitable for audiences of all ages – by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and has, according to the company, “also been vetted by leading academic advisors”. The app also features no adverts, so there’s no danger of the kids being enticed into junk food or adding expensive items to their Christmas lists whilst watching the shows. 

Programmes available via Hopster include familiar names such as Bob the Builder, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, Paddington Bear, Pingu and Max & Ruby. The service costs £3.99 a month. Hopster already offers apps for smartphones and tablets. 

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Netflix itself offers “kids” profiles, so that parents can allow their children to browse suitable content without having access to 18-rated films and programmes intended for adults. However, there’s no option (in the UK at least) to lock down the parent accounts with PIN numbers or passwords, meaning children can simply select the parent’s account if they’re watching without supervision. That means many parents are reluctant to let their children watch Netflix, lest they flick over to find Jessie taking a drugs overdose in Breaking Bad or life inside a women’s prison in Orange Is The New Black. 

A report published earlier this week by telecoms regulator Ofcom highlighted how streaming services such as Netflix are placing strain on the UK’s broadand networks. The Ofcom report found that Britons now download an average of 57GB of data per month on their fixed-line connection. Ofcom says that British households now need a connection of at least 10Mbits/sec to cope with the demands of such services. 

Meanwhile, Netflix is ramping up its selection of homegrown content, pontentially dragging more viewers away from traditional television broadcasters. The company hopes to have 20 of its homemade series running by 2015. Netflix originals such as House of Cards have helped drive massive growth in subscribers to the service over the past couple of years.  

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