March 29, 2007

Live TV In The Backseat Of A Minivan? Siriusly?


So this is how it's gonna be? Well, bring it on. Sirius and Chrysler will offer live Backseat TV programming from Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network for $20/month. Non-stop corporate merchotainment in a minivan. Holy crap, people, it's like the axis of parenting evil.

Am I the deluded, freaky-sounding one here? Just listen to how these people talk in their most uncritical, glowing, self-congratulatory moments, and tell me you can, in good conscience, plug your child into this...I'd call it a Matrix, but that's a Toyota. From the press release, emphasis added for satirical, alarmist effect:

Mel Karmazin, CEO, Sirius: "...I am pleased to have the three most original family-centered programming providers in TV. Just as we provide the Best Radio on Radio, this allows us to launch SIRIUS Backseat TV as the Best TV in the Backseat."

Denise Dahldorf, EVP - MTV Networks Content Distribution and Marketing: "Like all of our MTVN brands, our goal for Nickelodeon is to be everywhere our audiences are, and the launch of SIRIUS Backseat TV gives kids and families even more screens to interact with us."

Ben Pyne, President - Disney and ESPN Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing: "We are excited to team with SIRIUS and Chrysler Group to super-serve our young viewers and deepen their connection with our shows and brands."

Coleman Breland, EVP, Turner Network Sales: "This new venture with SIRIUS is one we think parents will see the benefits of and represents the next generation of back seat entertainment."

I mean, compared to the rest, the guy from the Cartoon Network sounds like Dr. Spock guesthosting Masterpiece Theater.

If ever you needed just one. more. reason not to buy a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Caravan, this is it. Sirius. But if your biggest problem with backseat TV screens is the annoyance of having to change the Blues Clues DVD once a week, well, just sit tight. I'm sure the GPS-enabled Character MerchAlert system for guiding you to the three most original bigbox retailers in the country is already in the works.

SIRIUS Satellite Radio's Backseat TV(TM) Launches Only on Chrysler Group Vehicles [prnewswire via jalopnik, who has video coverage of the 2-minute unveiling in Times Square, complete with shots of MTVN marketing managers applauding themselves before heading back into 1515]


this sounds great! now if they could just come up with two more products to go with it.
1. touch screen ordering of toys
2. blues clues and dora credit cards so i don't have to pull over the car to pay for the toys

[now THAT would be some super-serving. -ed]

Well, it's great that they can entertain the kids and keep them calm in the car, but what am I supposed to do when we leave the car? The portable DVD player at the restaurant and dining table works pretty well, but even then I'm still finding there are times when the kids tend to run around and make noise. What we really need is some kind of visual cortex implant so the kids can get their TV feed 24 hours a day no matter where you go.

What a country this is going to be, oh, about 18 years from now.

I think it's all worth it just to learn the word "super-serving" and integrate it into my daily life. In fact, I'm going to go home and apolgize to my kids for not super-serving them better (i've been serving them, to be sure, but sadly for them not super-serving them!) (did you get my email?!!!)

Terrifying. And since when is watching television an "interactive" experience?

I loved this quote, too: "represents the next generation of back seat entertainment."

As a teenager with my parents car out on a date on the weekend, I remember we had our own forms of back seat entertainment.

Your spouse doesn't let you watch TV when you... you know...

[that's the LAST generation of backseat entertainment, my friend. get with the program -ed.]

I have a 2 yr. old and am I delusional in thinking that my son will want to, and actually enjoy looking out the window of the car?

Now someone needs to sell a DVR device that hooks up to the video signal, so you kids shows are available when they want to watch them.

If you want TV in the car, go the whole hog with one of these. 125 channels of satellite TV goodness.

John, when the view out the window is gridlock on the LIE, you'd be praising Mel Karmazin.

s'funny cause i when i skimmed the headline, i thought it said "live in the backseat of a minivan?" in which case it made perfect sense to have streaming television in your car...

Millions of teenaged boys want to know: does that thing get Playboy Channel?

[i'm sure that's the next next generation, but it'll only be available in Dodge Magnums -ed.]

You guys obviously do not have any young children who cannot stand still in a car for more than 2 minutes. Plop in a DORA DVD and watch their faces light up.

I see it as good parenting and good for their safety. Having 3 screaming toddlers in the back seat makes it incredibly hard to concentrate on the road.

Just because it's there, does not mean that it has to be used every single time the car is turned on. It's on, only when it needs to be on.

It's too easy to criticize society when you're on one side of the fence. But change sides and you'll be thankful that technology is there to make things easier for parents. People that care for the future generation that you will end up relying on.

"Obviously" is a pretty loaded term, Guy, and your alternatives--sedate the kids with Dora or be an irresponsible parent putting your kids' lives at risk on the road--are not the only ones, even if they're the ones you feel you're facing.

Unless your last name is Jetson, you probably didn't grow up with an era where every backseat had a TV. And yet we're all still here somehow.

I find that while TV does immobilize the kid while it's on, watching does NOT relax or calm her; it merely pushes off her meltdowns and freakouts until later. This situation is desirable in some cases, and a PITA in others, so we are careful about when we use the screen. It is not free of consequences. So you make whatever choices you want about how you raise your kid, but spare me the Think Of The Future Generations nonsense.

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