- Cable TV? That was so three years ago.
These days, consumers are opting to cut the cable cord and stream their TV live.
According to a study by Deloitte in Nov. 2014, the stronghold that cable, satellite and telecommunications companies have held over TV programming is giving way to subscription streaming services and products that use this platform.
Some common complaints and reasons for dropping cable service include the high cost of packages, having to watch programs when they are aired, and the inconvenience of multiple desirable shows airing at once.
While cable subscribers have cited live sports as a reason to stick with traditional cable, various professional sports organizations are detecting the shift away from this model, as noted by the NFL's recent interest in providing streaming content to its consumers.
"The NFL has always been committed to being at the forefront of media innovation," says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. "[W]e are taking another important step in that direction as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving digital media landscape."
To this end, one company is doing its best to lure customers away from their cable boxes and satellite dishes and, to date, the virtual monopoly that has been in place.
ZUMMBOX 2.0 is a 4K streaming media player with a built-in digital antenna, which allows users to enjoy all of their traditional streaming content, while providing access to free television programming.
The way it works is this: the box essentially serves as a content- aggregating device, featuring a built-in app store, allowing consumers to download a variety of apps and other software that provides access to a diverse range of TV shows, movies, sports, gaming, podcasts, and radio.
Other key features include voice command recognition, Bluetooth compatibility, built-in DVR, and an optical import for surround sound, as well as four USB ports and three memory options.
For parents who are concerned about certain programming, the device includes a parental control feature and complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The device also complies with the Online Privacy Protection Act, and does not distribute personal information to outside parties without the consent of the user.
Unlike its competitors, there is no contract, no monthly fees and a two-year warranty. The product is available for a one-time payment of $159 and available online exclusively at Fundingotc.com.
Zumm and the creators of the ZUMMBOX 2.0
have been working with Fundingotc.com, a unique full-service crowdfunding platform, to help launch this device.
The difference between Fundingotc.com and other crowdfunding sites is that, instead of a large quantity of campaigns with questionable viability and best efforts deliverables, Fundingotc.com only posts time-to-market technologies and opportunities that have been proven to deliver.
"Time-to-market" means that the companies and products offered on this platform are already tested and past the initial development stage. Fundingotc.com also provides access to extensive marketing capabilities spanning print, radio, TV, affiliate marketing and other media outlets.
Fundingotc.com clients receive full service from copy and posting, to media and advertising. So unlike every other crowdfunding platform, they work to drive traffic to client campaigns.
- It's that time of year again--the time when families and friends come together to celebrate with food and open arms. That's right, it's almost playoff season, with football, basketball, and hockey playoffs all just around the corner.
With these highly anticipated games come the equally anticipated snacks--from chips and dip to wings and hot sauce. In fact, a lot can be said from people's usage of dips and sauces, and that usage has increased over the past year.
According to a survey by the Association for Dressings & Sauces, the reasons for using dips and sauces more often include: making more or new foods that need them, using them on more foods or as a healthy option with healthy foods, and cooking or eating at home more. So satisfy your craving for the perfect mid-game snack and bring them to parties in new and creative ways.
Here are a couple of tips that will help you pick the perfect recipe for your friends:
* Survey results show that Asian sauces, horseradish, hot and Mexican sauces are more popular than they were last year, with hot sauce and mustard being used several times a week by the majority of respondents. So go exotic and use bold flavors in your dishes!
* Geography also has something to say about what you should bring to a gathering. People in the Northeast reported a greater affinity for horseradish. Folks in the Midwest loves barbecue sauces. Asian sauces and hummus are more popular in the West and the South is all about hot sauce.
These tips should get your creative juices flowing so you can bring a tasty and unique contribution to whatever playoff party you're attending. Should you need a little recipe inspiration, however, check out some dishes at www.dressings-sauces.org/recipes
- It's an undeniable fact. Among cash, gift cards and the "toy of the moment," kids want to see video games under the Christmas tree. Rail against it all you want, that's the reality. But take heart, parents, today's video games can teach kids valuable life lessons not learned in a classroom.For those that scoff at the idea that video games have value beyond hours of mindless entertainment, Sherry Turkel, a professor and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, "think again.""The games demand skills that are complex," Turkel told The Washington Post in an interview. "There is learning how to learn ? there is nothing mindless about mastering a video game."One game that is getting attention for its complexity and teachable moments is Bungie and Activision's Destiny games
, a bold world of action and adventure where kids are a Guardian of the last safe city on Earth. If you're a veteran and have followed the game from its inception, you may like the newest release, Destiny: Rise of Iron. If you're a newbie, Destiny -- The Collection, contains five games in one collection, including the newest release from the award winning franchise. And best of all, it's available for just $59.99.Still not convinced? The following skills are just a few underlying themes in the Destiny franchise that teach kids lessons outside of simple distraction:* Astronomy. The game offers a futuristic fictional scenario of our Solar System, where humans colonized other planets but were mysteriously brought to the brink of extinction (with known survivors now living in and defending Earth's last city from alien invaders).* Problem solving and creativity. In Destiny, players not only fend off alien antagonists, but must also solve mysteries, create their own avatar race and class, and complete multiple tasks.* Hand eye coordination. As a shooter-based game, Destiny features combat against an onslaught of alien enemy attacks from all angles.* Team work. The game contains three-player strikes and six-player raids, requiring communication and teamwork.* Socialization. Unlike other similar shooter-based games, Destiny does not have blood, gore, or adult content. Instead, the game is rated T for teen and focuses on sci-fi fantasy and discovery, making it a perfect game for parents and siblings as well.Currently Destiny -- The Collection and Destiny: Rise of Iron are both offered on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms.For more information, please visit www.destinythegame.com
- Art can take on many different shapes and sizes in a variety of media. From watercolor paintings and bronze sculptures to still-life photographs and wood carvings, art can become the focal point of any interior living space. But, what if art could become part of a home's architecture in unexpected ways? The answer is yes, it can, and it comes in the form of natural stone.
Perhaps it's the allure of the exotic location from which it originated, or an unusual texture or uncommon color -- representing that single event in time illustrating when and how the stone was created. Whether it's a rare stone that is one in a million or one that was uncovered from the depths of the earth, natural stone can truly make a beautiful and exotic piece of art.
"Mother nature definitely has defined and shared her art with us through her supply of natural stone," says Tom Harty, director of procurement at Stone Source
, a company that specializes in curating natural stone and a member of MIA BSI: The Natural Stone Institute. "The beautiful and creative veining found in natural stone is like a painting on a canvas."
Whether natural stone is used to draw attention to a fireplace design, or is carefully selected as a standout countertop in a bathroom, the ways in which it can be used are endless. Some homeowners even enjoy mounting stone slabs on interior walls as pieces of art.
Chris Schulte, president of Las Vegas Rock, Inc.
, a quarry that concentrates on extracting metaquartzite stone and also a member of MIA BSI, explains that the company's "rainbow gardens" offer a multitude of natural stone colors ranging from purples and reds to yellows and browns. Some of these stones are so beautiful, they can stand alone as art. "We have many customers who have purchased slabs as wall art," he says. "In fact, in the cities of Henderson, Nevada and Las Vegas, government buildings have slabs of metaquartzite displayed on the walls."
Onyx is another type of exotic natural stone that can be used in artful ways. "The translucent character of many onyxes lends them to be backlit and incorporated as decorative pieces," says Harty. In fact, popular uses of onyx include bar backsplashes, built-in wall cabinets, bathroom countertops, staircases, and fireplaces.
Those who find beauty in nature might see natural stone as more than just another building material; they see it as a unique piece of fine art. For more information about natural stone, visit www.usenaturalstone.com
- The holiday season is right around the corner, which makes this the perfect time to spruce up your home before entertaining friends and family. Whether your guests are coming just to watch the big game or to stay for an extended period of time, your media space will no doubt be a popular gathering spot. The American Lighting Association
(ALA) suggests a few ways to enhance everyone's viewing experience.
No matter what kind of space you have, whether it's a dedicated media room, a simple TV nook or something in between, the fundamental components are comfort and appropriate lighting. For the majority of homeowners, most media-related activity takes place in a multi-use space, which means the lighting must have the flexibility to go from everyday activities to TV viewing.
"One of the primary design objectives in a media space is to create the ability to achieve multiple and varied types of experiences, and lighting provides the key element to achieve that goal," says Joe Rey-Barreau, AIA, IES, education consultant for ALA and associate professor at the University of Kentucky's School of Interior Design.
Three necessary elements for the ultimate media viewing experience are the source of light, types and placement of light fixtures, and the use of smart dimmers.
Keep in mind that natural light from outside is as influential as light from indoor fixtures. Multi-purpose spaces generally have windows, which create the need to control that light during the daytime as well as at night when even minor reflections can be distracting.
Erik Anderson, national sales manager for Lutron Electronics Co., says that when it comes to lighting, "the sun is light bulb number one." He suggests using motorized shades, which can be retrofitted to an existing window, as a convenient and effective way to manipulate ambient light. It is important to consider where your light is coming from as well as the time of day and season, which affect not only the amount of incoming light, but also the angle and intensity of the light.
Fixture type and placement
The types of fixtures used in a dedicated media room are different from those typically used in a family room. Selecting fixtures for any type of media space can be confusing. To get it right, your best bet is to consult with a professionally trained lighting consultant at an ALA-member showroom.
Using dimmers may seem like a no-brainer, especially considering they are easy to install and highly impactful. New wireless smart dimmers simply attach to a wall or sit on a tabletop. Anderson explains that Lutron's Caséta Wireless dimmers are designed for simple, do-it-yourself installation. The inexpensive devices can be synced with a phone to control the lights, window shades and room temperature from a remote location.
"It can be inconvenient to turn each thing on and off every time you enter or leave a room," says Anderson. "With Lutron's Caséta Wireless, you can pre-set it to adjust everything at once, so that it all comes to life with one press of a button."
For more ideas and advice for improving your media viewing experience while maintaining functionality in your multi-use space, stop by your local ALA-member lighting showroom or visit AmericanLightingAssoc.com.
- Sponsored News - Family time can be scarce these days, with activities and distractions pulling parents and kids in every direction. But a family-friendly television network, INSP, wants to change that. In an increasingly polluted television environment, they are one network trying to offer a breath of clean air.
Building its alternative one show at a time, INSP recently kicked off "Destination Fridays," a trio of programs that are appropriate for audiences of all ages. "State Plate," starring Taylor Hicks (of American Idol fame), is the newest original series to join INSP's Friday lineup. Each episode features the cuisine of a particular state. During the show, Hicks visits farms, ranches, markets, festivals, and other diverse and unusual locales as he assembles a plate of the most popular foods in each state.
For example, viewers can expect to learn about crab cakes in Maryland, peach treats in Georgia, potatoes in Idaho, and chili in Texas, along with the interesting history and often humorous stories behind each state's food traditions.
Joining "State Plate" on Fridays is "Handcrafted America
." Host Jill Wagner journeys across the country, introducing viewers to unique, gifted, and entertaining artisans who preserve and build on traditional skills as they make arts and crafts the old-fashioned way - by hand.
"Destination Fridays" kicks off each week with "Cash Cowboys." The show features Scott Cozens, a journeyman electrician- turned-lawyer, and Sheldon Smithens, a third-generation antiques dealer and auctioneer. Together, the pair rummage through barns, basements, attics, sheds, flea markets, and more in search of hidden treasure, sporting their signature cowboy hats and Western gear. The hook: They will buy anything -- from motorbikes to folk art memorabilia -- in hopes of turning a profit.
But these cowboys aren't just about the money; they have a passion for the past, the thrill of the chase, and the surprise of the unexpected gem. From the producers of "American Pickers," the series has tested well with INSP's core family audiences, and promises to entertain fans of antique and "picker" shows as well.
"Destination Fridays" begins at 8:00PM ET each week with "Cash Cowboys"; "State Plate" follows at 9:00PM ET, and "Handcrafted America" at 9:30PM ET. For more information, visit insp.com.
- Sponsored News - What is it about families and reality TV that have us tuning in on a regular basis? Is it watching a family dynamic unfold? Is it the drama? Whatever it is, UP TV's "Bringing Up Bates"
has families hooked.
The series stars the Tennessee-based Bates Family, Gil and Kelly Jo, and their 19 children. Over the course of four seasons, viewers have watched the Bates family experience the joys of marriage proposals to health scares to baby showers, as this ever-growing family continues to navigate life's triumphs and challenges.
Matriarch Kelly Jo has brought up the Bateses a certain way, but viewers have followed Erin Paine, Whitney Bates and Alyssa Webster in their journey through motherhood as they navigate their own way of parenting. In the final episodes this season, fans will see the much-anticipated arrivals of the two newest Bates grandbabies. For Erin, who has a new lullaby piano album coming out soon, growing up in a large family as one of the older children helped her to learn responsibility at an early age. This, she says, has translated to her everyday life.
"Having a little one that comes running to you for comfort, love, and affection, in addition to giving it, is a priceless treasure," she says.
Whitney Bates, youngest of the three new moms, admits that as a young mother, she has a lot to learn, but relishes the time she gets to spend with Bradley and Kaci Lynn.
"Being a mother to me means investing in my children's lives and getting to love them more than you ever imagined was even possible." For an only child, marrying into a family of 19 can be a bit of a culture shock, but Whitney says at the end of the day, watching the Bates' interact with one another helped prepare her for motherhood.
"When little problems, loud noises, inconveniences or arguments come up, they [the Bates] learned to work through them," she says.
As for Alyssa, motherhood, she says, has definitely taken her by surprise.
"I don't think anyone can ever fully prepare themselves for it [motherhood], but growing up with so many younger siblings was like taking a beginner course on parenting times 10!"
Currently expecting her second child, Alyssa says she hopes to raise a generation that has "character and shows kindness to others," while accepting the inherent challenges that come with being a parent.
"Motherhood is one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced," she says, "but it requires a lot of dedication and patience."
"Bringing Up Bates" airs Thursdays at 9 pm ET on the family-focused network, UP TV.
For more information, please visit www.uptv.com
- La creatividad se dispara cuando los niños se disfrazan y se les da la oportunidad de expandir sus propias identidades personales.
Los disfraces pueden despertar la imaginación bien sea cuando es el momento de pensar en Halloween, o solo durante un día al disfrazarse para una fiesta del té con amigos imaginarios.
Los niños que aspiran gobernar el reinado pueden ir en búsqueda de Elena de Avalor
, una adolescente valiente y aventurera que aprende a liderar su reinado como una princesa heredera.
Abajo podrás encontrar algunas divertidas maneras de equiparte para tu próxima aventura familiar de la misma forma en que Elena lo haría.
* Disfrázate para la aventura: Las princesas tienen que estar listas para gobernar, y qué mejor manera de hacerlo que usando el vestido rojo de Elena. Ningún vestido está completo si no se tienen los zapatos y accesorios tales como zarcillos, un brazalete y un cintillo de flores.
* El baile: las chicas se pueden disfrazar de la princesa heredera de Avalor con el vestido del baile real el cual pondrá el ritmo a la canción principal, "My Time", que sonará en el show. Agrega más accesorios, como lo son zarcillos, una tiara, y zapatos.
* Canta. ¿Quieres inspirar a tu hija con música? La guitarra de Elena está personalizada con su firma y tiene tres modos de juego: puede tocarla usando cuerdas verdaderas, tocar tres canciones, o cantar con Elena.
* Gobierna el mundo. ¡La aventura de Elena no estaría completa sin su cetro! Así como Elena cree que la magia viene desde lo interno, las chicas podrían querer activar las luces y poderes mágicos en pleno show con la onda del cetro mágico de luz. La varita mágica también hace sonar la canción principal "My Time", presentada en el show.
Para más información, por favor visite el sitio web www.jakks.com
- Sponsored News - From 3-D technology to bold, bright visuals, animated movies continue to get better with time and this upcoming season is no exception. If you're a fan of animated films starring a new collection of fun, colorful characters for the whole family, there are now more ways than ever to bring your next magical movie experience home after the final credits roll.
* Storybook Lane: If bedtime stories are a nightly ritual in your home, get the little ones involved by creating a storybook station in your living room. When you get home from the movie theater, channel your kids' excitement over the movie into a creative and educational exercise. Developing homemade storybooks based on their favorite movie characters with added storylines that incorporate their own imagination is a great way to bring the magic of an animated movie home, while encouraging kids to think outside the box and practice writing and artistic skills. Type up and print out their dream story while they act as illustrator to their own personalized story for added fun.
* Mom Time: Animated movie fun isn't just for kids anymore. If you're looking for a new favorite online game to help liven up downtime, look no further than games inspired by some of your favorite animated movies. Online games such as "Sandwich Factory," inspired by Warner Brother's new movie, Storks, and the family-owned deli meat company, Land O'Frost
, are a great way to have more fun with your favorite movies in the comfort of your own home. The game will transport you into an interactive sandwich factory with movie characters: Junior, who appears to "save babies," and Tulip, who grabs the finished meal from the sandwich maker.
* Chef Corner: Get your kids involved in the kitchen by turning lunchtime into a movie experience. When excitement over a new movie is at its peak, encourage kids to put their chef's hat on and come up with a custom menu inspired by their favorite characters. Once the menu is set, host a lunch for the whole families where the kids get to play king and queen of the kitchen and share their creation with mom and dad.
To play the "Sandwich Factory," visit www.landofrost.com/storks-game
, and for coupons and more information about Land O' Frost, visit www.landofrost.com
- Sponsored News - Are you thinking about planning a Florida vacation? The greater Fort Lauderdale area is among the most popular South Florida destinations. For outdoor enthusiasts, Greater Fort Lauderdale
features 23 miles of Blue Wave-certified beaches, as well as more than 300 miles of inland waterways for sightseeing. This beach resort destination offers a range of daytime and nighttime options for entertainment, shopping and dining.
The area is accessible via the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which offers flights from all major points in the United States and Canada. In addition, the Greater Fort Lauderdale area is home to the Port Everglades cruise port, which hosts a range of luxurious and popular cruise lines on a regular basis.
An affordable package now available in Fort Lauderdale makes it even easier to plan a vacation. The "Vacation Like a VIP" package features a variety of hotel upgrades and discounts on dining, shopping and entertainment to appeal to a range of travelers.
The Vacation Like a VIP package is available at 11 Lauderdale Luxe hotels, including the Diplomat Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, Lago Mar Resort and Club, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, Royal Blues Hotel, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, W Fort Lauderdale and the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.
The package includes free valet parking and a room upgrade at select Lauderdale Luxe hotels, along with a $25 American Express gift card and a $100 resort credit that may be used for food and beverage, golf, spa services, pool and beach cabana fees, water activities and kids programs (where available). The package also has options for free valet parking and a "Savings Passport" at the nearby Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills, as well as a Summer Savings 2-for-1 card, valued at $200.
The Vacation Like a VIP package is available for travel between May 1 and September 30, 2016, with a minimum two-night stay. For more information, visit sunny.org/vip.
For additional information about how to make the most of your Florida vacation, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org
. You also can get the latest information, tips and advice on Florida travel by contacting the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau via social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Pinterest: @visitlauderdale.
- Sponsored News - "Go for the Gold" will be the mantra echoed around the globe as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, or the 2016 Summer Olympics, as we refer to them here in the U.S, gets underway this summer. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will play host to a record number of countries participating in a record number of sports. More than 10,500 athletes from 207 countries will "go for the gold," looking to make World Records and beat their personal best along the way.
Swimming, fencing, football (aka soccer): 2016 will see a total of 42 Olympic sports categories including one of the most popular and traditional, athletics, which includes running, jumping and throwing. Athletics has been a part of the games since Athens 1896. Today, no other Olympic sport offers more medals: 141 total.
There are many ways people will be going for the gold this summer -- some with mobile devices. Talking Tom, legendary apps athlete and star of the hit animated series on is looking to break records this summer with the XXIII app release in the Talking Tom franchise, Talking Tom Gold Run
. This new release from Outfit7 breaks new ground as one of the first infinite runner games that immerses players into the action with an actual reason to run.
Talking Tom Gold Run begins with a robbery, causing the player to run as fast as possible to retrieve their stolen gold, dodge obstacles and collect rewards. The game allows players to get back their gold bars to help Tom and Friends build their dream homes from the ground up. Fans have a total of seven worlds to unlock, including the city, woods, beach and more. As each character's houses are built, new home upgrades, characters and running segments appear.
Outfit7, Limited -- makers of the Talking Tom franchise is also breaking a major digital record this summer, crossing the 4.5 billion download mark across its series of family-friendly apps. That's right, 4.5 billion, with a "B." That's over half of the entire world's population (according to the U.S. census, the worldwide population is over 7.3 billion and counting), and more than those who watch the Summer and Winter Olympics combined.
Since the first Talking Talking Tom and Friends app launched over five years ago, the suite of apps has skyrocketed in popularity worldwide. The franchise has also amassed over 5.7 billion views of its various branded content on YouTube. In addition, "Talking Tom and Friends: The Animated Series," currently in its first season, has cemented a rock-solid audience with over 760 million-plus views alone on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app. The series airs weekly and features an all-star voice cast led by Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Colin Hanks ("Fargo") and Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants").
Whether you are one of the 480,000 tourists attending Rio 2016, the 1 billion fans watching the games on TV or 4.5 billion people playing Talking Tom and Friends apps, download the new Talking Tom Gold Run app and go for the gold today! Available for iOS, and Android Windows and Amazon.
- Sponsored News - As summer days grow longer (and hotter), with them comes a more relaxed mindset -- there are no lunches to make, kids to get off to school or parent-teacher conferences to attend. In short, it tends to be a great time to catch up on some of those guilty pleasures that you deny yourself nine other months out of the year.
For bookworms, summer is license to read light.
"I still cherish the notion that summer reading is more leisurely and wonderful than the rest of the year," Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis Mo. told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an interview.
If you're looking for a recommendation on what to take to the pool or on vacation, look no further than the recommendations below:
* "The Lightbearers," by Nora Garcia. According to one reviewer, "Garcia has done an excellent job of providing a mix of the paranormal, evil geniuses and robots into one thrilling story around a couple that removes the boundaries of a single life." "The Lightbearers" starts off by proving Jean and George Crystal are not your average couple. They have been tasked with guarding humanity and enlightening those with whom they come into contact. As readers move through 3,300 years, they're shown how George and Jean, originally an Egyptian king and queen, can cross all boundaries to ensure they accomplish their given task.
For more information or to buy the book, click here
or search "Nora Garcia" on Amazon.
* "The Girls in the Garden," by Lisa Jewell. For anyone who fancies themselves a sleuth, this mystery begins in a London neighborhood after a girl finds her 13-year-old sister Grace unconscious and hidden in a remote corner of a communal garden. The community denies any wrongdoing and, as an investigation unfolds, secrets and betrayals are spilled, challenging the picturesque and idyllic neighborhood image.
* "End of Watch," by Stephen King. The acclaimed author finishes the Bill Hodges trilogy ("Mr. Mercedes" and "Finders Keepers") in typical page-turning fashion by pitting an aging protagonist (Detective Hodges) against his nemesis, a mass murderer who is back with more even more terrifying methods at his disposal than before. Washington Post reviewer Elizabeth Hand says, "One finishes this novel feeling great empathy for its resolute protagonist and even greater trepidation about that next round of Candy Crush."
- Sponsored News - In a world that thrives on bad news and sensationalized storytelling, it can be difficult to find programming consisting of genuine and authentic shows about family.
Research suggests that 42 million adults are looking for programming with family in mind.
Enter UP TV
, a network whose mantra is We Get Family, and is staying true to its brand by ushering in shows that bring adult viewers all the fun, dysfunction and love that defines the modern American family.
"With family as our framework, we are filling a void in the media landscape as the brand families trust most to bring them positive programming," said Charley Humbard, president and chief executive officer, UP.
That is how UP is finding its niche with families -- through its brand. From shows about a single mom to parents with sextuplets to a family with 19 kids, UP is all about relatable and entertaining storytelling.
"We believe family, whether through blood, friendship or community, provides us with the most emotional and memorable experiences in our lives. It's a journey with highs and lows and everything in between."
No doubt, with an endless array of choices, it can be difficult to find good, authentic, entertaining stories that viewers can feel great about watching. UP seems to have found its footing through original programming such as Growing Up McGhee, Bringing Up Bates, and Jo Frost: Nanny On Tour, as well as syndicated series such as Parenthood, Gilmore Girls and America's Funniest Home Videos.
And for those who are looking specifically for family and faith-affirming content, UP has a subscription-on-demand offering, UP Faith & Family.
For more information, please visit www.UPtv.com
- Sponsored News - For a Rolling Stones fan, what could top meeting the band in person? New Yorker Alex Emanuel met Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood inside the Recording Gallery within the Rolling Stones retrospective exhibit, Exhibitionism, at London's Saatchi Gallery.
After handshakes and back slaps with the band, Alex recalled, "It's going to sound silly, but for a moment I thought I was a member of the Rolling Stones. It's not every day you get to meet your idols." He added, "The show has given me a unique glimpse of the city through the eyes of the Rolling Stones."
Exhibitionism is a Rolling Stones treasure trove, and includes 9 themed gallery spaces with 500 items from original stage costumes, rare instruments, lyric books, backstage and touring paraphernalia, album art, photography, stage designs, personal diaries, and never-before-released audio and behind-the-scenes footage.
Celebrating the Stones' artistic collaborations in music, art and design, fashion, and film, Exhibitionism also features original works on display from an array of artists as diverse as Andy Warhol, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Dior, Ossie Clark, L'Wren Scott, David Bailey, Michael Cooper, Jeff Koons, Walton Ford, Shepard Fairey, and Martin Scorsese.
"The exhibition offers the most in-depth insight into The Rolling Stones and their incredible career," says Thea Jeanes-Cochrane, Director of iEC (International Entertainment Consulting), the company behind the exhibit. "We've worked hard to create something utterly breathtaking and it's very pleasing to see the fans reactions."
Chris Gottlieb, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at VisitLondon.com
adds, "Alex's Rolling Stones tour of London shows how the city is steeped in the history of one of the world's greatest rock bands."
Alex was taken on a Rolling Stones-themed, once-in-a-lifetime trip to London after the city's official tourism body, Visitlondon.com, identified him as a "super fan" of the band.
Alex visited many iconic Rolling Stones locations, including Edith Grove, Chelsea, where the band lived together; Regents Sounds in Denmark Street, where they cut their first albums; the 100 Club, where they played an impromptu gig in 1982, and Olympic Studios where "Sympathy for the Devil" was recorded.
Tourism initiative Fans of London -- devised by Visitlondon.com and supported by the GREAT Britain Campaign, British Airways, and Hilton -- celebrates many special events across London this year including the Rolling Stones exhibit, Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday celebrations, and 400 years of Shakespeare's legacy.
Exhibitionism runs until September 4 at London's Saatchi Gallery. Tickets are available at stonesexhibitionism.com. Want to win a trip to London for your own music fan fantasy? Visit www.visitlondon.com/fans
- Sponsored News - Just in time for Earth Day, a new book introduces young readers aged 7 to 11 to a whole new world of unique and compelling endangered species, environmental awareness, teamwork and, best of all, a rollicking, outlandish group of characters that entertain the whole family.
The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions
, by Tracey Hecht, focuses on a group of animals who form an unlikely team to solve the mystery of why other nocturnal denizens of their forest are disappearing. Dawn the fox, Tobin the pangolin and Bismark the sugar glider embark on a fantastic adventure that takes them to the depths of the earth and places their survival at stake.
R.L. Stine, author of the bestselling Goosebumps children's series, describes the book as "an enchanting story about a group of animals who band together to protect their friends and find adventure. The characters are delightful, and the nighttime landscape is captivating. It was just as I expected -- because the best stories always take place in the dark!"
The book is aimed not only at children, but at their parents, and is written with an ear toward being read aloud to educate all ages about the importance of protecting animals and the environment. The story combines snappy dialogue with plot twists and action, and slips in education about different types of animals and how they live and behave.
Author Tracey Hecht noted in an interview that the benefits of shared reading aren't limited to pre-readers.
"I didn't stop reading aloud to my kids -- I still haven't -- and it's the best part of my day," she said. "I keep books everywhere and I?think of reading like a conversation -- just have it. Just pick up a book and have it. You'll be amazed at how well it bridges the gaps," she emphasized.
Children, parents and teachers can visit www.nocturnalsworld.com
for more information about the book, including a sample chapter that introduces the main characters. In addition, the website offers bonus animated shorts, activities and educational materials, including a Next Generation Science Guide, templates for animal trading cards and library resources including guidelines for middle grade book clubs.
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What Makes a Legend?
According to Merriam-Webster's definition, a legend is "a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well." Amazing individuals have earned legendary status: In the sports world, Michael Jordan and Jesse Owens top the list; musicians and artists include the likes of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson; and in Hollywood, stars like John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando are among the legends.
Many say that legends are made, not born, but in the the case of animated characters such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and SpongeBob SquarePants, they are drawn. These stars have been loved by generations the world over on TV and the silver screen. Animation is big business: The global animation industry is estimated to be worth approximately $250 billion annually. There's nothing looney about that number.
Legends in Animation
There are many notable landmarks in animation history. Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in 1937, is thought by most to be the first feature length release in theaters. 1958 marked the premiere of Hanna-Barbera's Huckleberry Hound, the first half-hour television program to feature only animation. In 2010, the apps world was taken by storm with the introduction of the Talking Tom Cat app, the only talk-back cat app in town.
A Digital Legend
After taking a bow in the original Talking Tom Cat app in 2010, Tom has CATapulted to stardom as the leader of the Talking Tom and Friends franchise that boasts more than 20 apps and 3.6 billion downloads.
Talking Tom Cat is THE app that created a viral sensation for families around the world, well before "something went viral" was a daily trending topic. Now, in 2016, in a nod to its flagship character, creator and entertainment leader Outfit7 Limited is reintroducing the Talking Tom Cat with fresh upgrades including a modern new look, laugh-out-loud animations and more. And not to worry, the infamous Talking Tom flatulence and other kooky sounds are still front and center.
Talking Tom has earned a spot on most mobile devices and tablets across the globe, giving him true digital legendary status. Over the last six years, players have spent an astronomical 945,000 years playing with Talking Tom apps.
Tom is also star of the hit animated series of the same name, which touts over 470 million views on YouTube, making him a bit of a digital superhero the world over. The show chronicles the adventures, hijinks and inventions of Talking Tom and the gang as they shoot their own reality television show from
his garage, aka app studio. http://talkingtomandfriends.com
In his quick rise to the top, Tom has truly found his place among the stars and is sharing the spotlight with other great animation A-listers like Mickey & Donald, Bugs & Daffy, Homer & Bart, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Care Bears and many more. You never know -- with this kind of success -- a Talking Tomland with rides and more could be in the not-so-distant future.
The new and improved Talking Tom Cat app is available for free on all platforms including iOS, Android, Amazon and Windows at www.outfit7.com/applications
For more information, please visit www.outfit7.com
- Sponsored News - A Los Angeles family visiting the British capital was left amazed when they came face-to-face with actor James Phelps (aka Fred Weasley), who then took them on a one-off VIP tour of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London -- The Making of Harry Potter.
Phelps, who played one-half of the Weasley brothers in the blockbuster movies, met the Johnson family as they visited the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London -- The Making of Harry Potter. The actor then took them on a very special tour of the studio.
The family, consisting of mum Sam, Victoria (14), Daniel (13) and Adam (11) knew the trip involved a Harry Potter theme, but had no idea they would be embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime tour with one of the stars of the movie series.
The Johnson family, which runs a successful LA-based charity that helps local children overcome bullying, were picked by the city's official tourism body, Visitlondon.com
, for a special trip as part of the Fans of London tourism drive for the capital.
Speaking about his day with the Johnsons, Phelps said: "I had such a great time with Adam, Victoria and Daniel, showing them around the film sets, telling them stories about when we shot the films and even teaching them a few magic tricks...London is one of my favourite places in the world and fans of Harry Potter can still enjoy so much of its magic across the city."
"My mum used to read the books to me and my brother and sister even before we were born," said Harry Potter 'super fan', Adam Johnson. "When I think of Harry Potter I always think of London. Our trip was so much fun, especially meeting James Phelps, and I really wish I had a real-life Firebolt broomstick so that I could fly back to London whenever I want!"
Fans of London celebrating the blockbuster events across London this year, such as The Queen's 90th birthday celebrations, 400 years of Shakespeare's legacy and the world's first exhibition on the Rolling Stones, EXHIBITIONISM. For the chance to win a trip to London, go to www.visitlondon.com/fans
- Sponsored News - Most parents know the best way to get kids to read later in life is to read to them early and often. But even parents' best efforts to create bookworms sometimes fall flat -- especially in today's world of lights and action best seen from a screen.
Yet, studies continue to suggest that the benefits of reading from an early age not only teach kids the rules of syntax and expand their vocabulary, but, according to one study released last year, also activate the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language.
Because of its interest in closing the reading gap among children in this country, RRKidz Inc., home of the beloved children's brand Reading Rainbow
, embarked on a Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2014. Through generous donations by its legions of fans, the company raised more than $6.4 million in 35 days.
As a result, Skybrary Family, the award-winning digital library of books and videos, was released. On the heels of this successful introduction, RRKidz Inc. is proud to announce the launch of Skybrary School, an educator-specific version with features designed to increase reading frequency and build literacy skills.
This new digital library, especially for early elementary school students (K-3) and their educators, offers close to 1,000 fiction and non-fiction books, all in the hopes of creating life-long readers and learners.
"Teachers devote their lives to giving students the tools needed to succeed in reading, and we want to make sure we are doing the same for them," said LeVar Burton. "With Reading Rainbow's Skybrary Family and now Skybrary School, we are offering a comprehensive solution to assist both educators and parents in providing engaging and relevant content to develop children's literacy and learning skills."
In addition, the service features more than 200 educational video field trips hosted by Burton, such as a trip to the White House, peeking inside the Mars Rover at NASA, behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil and other locations. Other benefits to Skybrary School include:
* Working with acclaimed publishers such as National Geographic and Britannica to discover books that meet children's interest and reading level
* Forty standards-aligned, themed lesson plans inspired by books and videos in the library
* Instructional programs with flexible online and offline activities
* A web-based subscription service with on-demand access to read and learn anytime, anywhere
* New books and videos added to the service every week
RRKidz Inc. is also giving Skybrary School to 10,000 classrooms nationwide for free.
For more information, please visit www.readingrainbow.com
- Sponsored News - In the '50s and '60s, certain classes, such as home economics and woodshop, were required in most high schools. Maybe that's why Americans are so fascinated with handcrafted projects.
This new revolution, called the maker movement, is where people create and market products from raw materials, and the movement has given rise to websites such as Kickstarter, Etsy, Pinterest and Maker Faire, which boast millions of followers and billions of dollars.
Now a new series on family entertainment television network, INSP, is celebrating artisans and their work. In Handcrafted America
, viewers will meet fascinating people from all across America who are dedicated to their crafts. In every half-hour episode, host Jill Wagner (Teen Wolf, Wipeout, Christmas in the Smokies) meets three gifted artisans (some more than five generations in their field), and takes you on a behind-the-scenes look at how they create their products, from start to finish. Along the way, Wagner will delve into the history and cultural heritage that inspire and influence the design of their handcrafted products. Viewers will become part of these artisans' lives as they tell the stories of their families, their journeys and their dreams.
"From glass blowing to ornate clock making to blacksmithing, Handcrafted America entertains and informs -- not in a dry, academic way, but with adventure, spirited discovery, fun and authenticity. America's passion for making things continues to be strong, and Artisans from coast to coast still create handcrafted treasures. This is the focal point of the series," says Craig Miller, VP of original programming at INSP.
Handcrafted America can be seen on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on INSP. For additional information, including information on where to watch in your area, please visit www.insp.com
) - Sponsored News - Blame it on kids who can download music from iTunes with a swipe of a finger. Or point to a sluggish economy. Maybe it's the fact that society as a whole, while still in love with music, would rather watch TV than gather around a piano.
Whatever the reason, piano sales have been less than grand for decades, as fewer people take up the instrument. With an average cost of $16,000 for a new grand piano, it's easy to understand why those who are interested might opt for a less expensive electronic keyboard or buy used.
According to the National Association of Music Merchants, the best year for new piano sales was more than a century ago; in 1909 more than 364,500 were sold, and our population was only 90 million.
Today? Our population has more than tripled, while piano sales have reportedly plummeted to an all-time low. Only 30,000 new pianos were sold in 2015.
"Computer technology has just changed everything about what kids are interested in," said Larry Fine, a Boston-based piano technician. "People are interested in things that don't take much effort, so the idea of sitting and playing an hour a day to learn piano is not what kids want to do."
Which is why piano stores like Piano Man's Piano Superstore
in College Park, Maryland, is being forced to close its doors. The 32,000 square foot store specializes in late-model, brand-name, pre-owned pianos at discounted prices, catering to professionals as well as beginners. The company normally reconditions and restores 20 to 30 pianos every month, but the company said its sales have been lagging.
Owner Nick Margaritas said that since the onset of the recession, new piano sales have been dropping rapidly and are only half of what they were in 2008. Another indicator that things are not what they once were is that sales for the 2015 Christmas season -- a peak time for the industry -- were the softest seen in years. Couple that with the blizzard of 2016, and the decision to close an operation that was simply "too big to succeed" was an easy one, said Margaritas.
Top brands such as Steinway, Baldwin, Yamaha, Kawai and others must be sold prior to the projected closing date of April 30. The Baltimore Showroom and Piano Service Center that has been in operation since 1974 will, however, remain open.
For more information, visit www.pianomansuperstore.com
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