Cybertainment: Netflix, Amazon focus on children; YouTube channel features Corman films

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School's out, and video streaming services Netflix and Amazon have come up with new ways to ward off summer vacation boredom while going head-to-head in a battle for your kids' screen time.

The new Netflix Families offers a selection of recommended movies and TV programs for families with children. They can be streamed on any device -- smartphone, tablet, computer and gaming consoles.

Collections include "Are We There Yet?," movies and TV shows designed to pass the time while traveling; "TV for Curious Kids," which is designed to keep the learning process going outside the classroom ("How Stuff Works," "Walking With Dinosaurs," "Discover Planet Ocean"); "Family Movie Night"; and "Get Ready for Preschool." For teen viewers, there's "Superheroes Movies," and for grown-ups, there's a section where they can catch up on popular TV series they've missed out on.

Netflix Families is included with the Netflix regular streaming service for $7.99 a month. It is offering a one-month free trial for new members.

Amazon is countering by adding more titles to its Kindle FreeTime Unlimited library. Kindle FreeTime Unlimited offers books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows aimed at ages 3 to 8.

Kindle FreeTime Unlimited selections can be viewed on the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD through a free app.

New titles include Disney's "Where's My Mickey?," Warner Bros.' "LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4," episodes of "Dora the Explorer" and "Go, Diego, Go!" from Nick Jr., and popular games like "Scribblenauts Remix" and "Plants vs. Zombies."

FreeTime offers tools for setting time limits on the Kindle device: It can be set for unlimited reading time and limited video watching time, for example. The content features no in-app payments, advertising or social media.

FreeTime Unlimited subscriptions are $2.99/month for one child or $6.99/month per family for Amazon Prime members. Nonmembers pay $4.99/month per child or $9.99 per family. Amazon is offering a one-month free trial.

There's summer entertainment for grown-ups, too. YouTube is bringing the drive-in movie to the small screen with a newly launched channel devoted to the films of cult classic producer Roger Corman.

"Corman's Drive-In" features a collection of 30 films by the prolific producer, which will rotate monthly. They include "Dinocroc," "Attack of the Crab Monsters," "Piranha," "Sorority House Massacre," "Forbidden World" and several with Jack Nicholson in his earliest roles ("The Cry Baby Killer," "Little Shop of Horrors").

The channel features behind-the-scenes features, including an interview with the "Dinocroc" special effects team.

Subscriptions to "Corman's Drive-In" are $3.99/month, with a 14-day free trial.

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Adrian McCoy: or 412-263-1865.


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