45 Family Media Literacy Activities to Grow Smart Brains in a Digital Age – Help All in One Place

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What is “media literacy?” The word literacy connotes a high degree of competency and usually means that a person knows how to read and write. A literate person, on the other hand, is well read, using and applying high level thinking skills across a broad range of topics. Computer literacy means the capacity to use computers well. Media literacy, then, is the ability to use all forms of media well. A media-literate person uses television, movies, DVDs, computer and video games for specific purposes, just as a print-literate person reads a book or a magazine, a college text or a newspaper for specific, various reasons.

Using all visual screen technology intentionally is the first, and most important element in becoming media literate. Ultimately as parents we want children and teens to be in control of small screens and not be controlled by them. Research has verified and experts know that a child who mindlessly watches a lot of TV or plays video games endlessly is less equipped to develop the capacities for wise media use. A media literate child, on the other hand, would learn to self-monitor screen time-being able to take it in doses-rather than make a habit of it four-five hours a day ad nauseum. He or she would want to do other activities because thinking, creative children are curious beings and there’s a whole world out there to explore-screen technologies just being one small part of it.

While a print-literate person reads words; a media literate person reads images. Using analysis, evaluation, and higher level thinking skills, a media-literate person interprets the subtle messages and overt claims visual messages convey. This is where we want our children headed-in a direction of making it second nature to think well about all forms of media images.

If we boiled down media literacy for our children, I think we would find five basic skills that we would like them to acquire:

• Conscious, intentional, limited use of all forms of screen technology

• Ability to critique visual messages and understand their intent and intellectual and emotional impact

• Ability to communicate facts, ideas, and thoughtful opinions about media images

• A thorough understanding of media production techniques to fully appreciate how such techniques as camera angles, lighting, cuts, etc. impact the messages being delivered

• Ability to use all forms of screen technology purposefully, and eventually wisely

Children can enjoy becoming media literate. The 45 family media literacy activities are grouped as follows:

30 General activities that you can adapt and use with children or teens.

15 Activities for children, specifically designed for children, ages 3-6

30 General Family Media Literacy Activities

1. TV and books.

Keep track of the dates when a TV version of a book is scheduled to air and encourage your kids to read the book first, or follow up the program by suggesting they read the book afterwards. Great discussions can result from comparing the original book and the TV version.

2. Use TV to expand children’s interests.

Link TV programs with your children’s interests, activities, and hobbies. A child interested in crafts can watch craft programs for encouragement and ideas; after viewing a wildlife show, take the kids to a zoo and have them recall what they learned about animals from the TV program. How does the real life experience differ from the show they watched? Are there any similarities?

3. Time capsule.

Ask your child to imagine that he or she has been given the job of choosing five television programs that will be included in a time capsule, not to be opened for one hundred years. Discuss what type of society these shows might reflect to a child opening the time capsule one hundred years from now.

4. Different viewpoints.

All family members watch one program together. The TV is then turned off and each person writes a few sentences about their opinions about the show. Discuss and compare everyone’s opinions, pointing out to your child how different people will like or dislike the same program. Why are all opinions valid? Who had the most persuasive opinion about the show? Why?

5. Watch a TV show being taped.

Take kids to a television program taping either locally or as part of a family trip to New York or Los Angeles. To make the trip more meaningful, have your children draw the set, take notes on the format of the show, note the special effects, and talk about what it was like being in the audience. Is the audience important to the show? How? (It may be easier to visit a local TV or radio station. You could visit both and talk about the differences between them.)

6. Make up an alternate title.

When you’re watching a TV program or movie with your child, ask him or her to exercise imagination and think of another title. To get things rolling, suggest an alternate title yourself. All family members can come up with as many alternates as possible. Vote on the best. What makes it better than all the rest to convey the essence of the show or film?

7. Compare what you see with what you expect.

With your child, come up with a description of a show before watching it, based on what you’ve read in a TV schedule. Predict how the characters will act and how the plot will unfold. When the program ends, take a few minutes to talk about what you saw: Did either of you notice any differences between what was written in the TV schedule and what was actually shown? Were either of you surprised by anything you saw? Is the show what you expected it would be? Why or why not?

8. Which category does it fit?

Using a television guide, your child will list all the shows she or he watches, then divide them into the following categories: comedy, news, cartoons, sitcoms, dramas, soap operas, police shows, sporting events, educational programs, and documentaries. Which is her or his favorite category and show? Why?

9. Predict what will happen.

During commercial breaks, ask your child to predict what will happen next in the program. You can discuss such questions as: If you were the scriptwriter, how would you end this story? What do you think the main characters will do next? Is it easy or difficult to guess the main event in this program? Why or why not?

10. The guessing game.

Turn off the volume but leave the picture on. See if your child can guess what is happening. To extend this into a family game, have everyone pick a TV character and add his/her version of that character’s words.

11. Letter writing.

Encourage your child to write letters to TV stations, describing why s/he likes and dislikes certain programs. Emphasize that giving factual and specific information will be helpful.

12. Be a camera operator.

Have your child experiment with a video camera to learn how it can manipulate a scene (omission-what it leaves out; selection-what it includes; close-up-what it emphasizes; long shot-what mood it establishes; length of shot-what’s important and what’s not).

13. Theme songs.

Help your child identify the instruments and sound effects used in the theme songs of his favorite shows. Have her sing or play the music in the show and explain what the music is doing. Does it set a mood? How? Does it tell a story? How does it make him/her feel?

14. Sequence the plot: a game.

To help your child understand logical sequencing, ask her to watch a TV show while you write down its main events, jotting each event on a separate card. At the completion of the program, shuffle the cards and ask your child to put them in the same order in which they appeared during the program. Discuss any lapses in logical sequence.

15. A time chart.

Your child will keep a time chart for one week of all of her activities, including TV watching, movie watching, and playing video games. Compare the time spent on these activities and on other activities, such as playing, homework, organized sports, chores, hobbies, visiting friends, and listening to music. Which activities get the most time? The least? Do you or your child think the balance should be altered? Why or why not?

16. Winning and losing.

Tell your child to watch a sports program and list all the words that are used to describe winning and losing. Encourage a long list. You can make this into a friendly competition, if you like, with two or more children collecting words from several sports programs and then reading them aloud.

17. TV and radio.

While watching TV coverage of a sports game, turn off the TV sound and have your child simultaneously listen to radio coverage. What does your child think about the radio coverage? About the TV coverage? What are the strengths of each? The weaknesses?

18. Quiz show comparison.

Compare and contrast the wide variety of game and quiz shows with your child. You’ll see shows that test knowledge, shows that are based on pure luck, and shows that are aimed specifically at children. Which are your child’s favorites? Why?

19. TV lists.

Assist your child in making lists of all television programs that involve hospitals, police stations, schools, and farms, and all television programs that contain imaginative elements, such as science fiction shows or cartoons.

20. Television vocabulary.

Challenge your child to listen for new words on TV and report back to the family on their definitions.

21. Critical viewing survey.

Ask your child to watch one of his favorite programs with you. Afterwards, you will both fill out the following survey. Then compare your answers. Are they different? Why? Are there right or wrong answers, or is much of what was recorded open to individual interpretation?

Critical Viewing Survey

Program watched:

Characters (List three to five and describe briefly):

Setting (Time and place):

Problems/Conflicts:

Plot (List three to five events in order of occurrence):

Story theme:

Solution:

Logic (Did the story make sense? Would this have happened in real life?):

Rating of the show (from one to ten, with ten being the highest):

22. Body language.

Observe body language in commercials and/or TV shows and films. Notice head position, hand gestures, and eye movement. How does body language affect how you feel about the intended visual or verbal message? Children could cut out postures and expressions from print advertisements (magazines and newspapers) and see if they can find those postures and expressions on TV or in movies. How important is body language to convey persuasive visual messages?

23. Variations on a story.

Look at how a particular story is handled differently by different channels. Use videotaped shows to compare. What are the differences? What are the similarities?

24. Quick problem solving.

Point out to your child how quick problems are solved on many TV shows. Discuss the differences in dealing effectively with challenges in real life. You may want to include in your discussion what processes you go through to identify, confront, and resolve problems.

25. Put words in their mouth.

As a family watch a favorite program with the sound off. Try to figure out what each of the characters in the show is saying. Discuss why you believe that based on past knowledge of the program and how the characters are behaving. Encourage your child to think about how he or she would write the script for each of the characters. What are the important things that they say? Why are these considered important?

26. Make your own family TV Guide.

Gather your child/ren and ask them to make a family TV Guide for the upcoming week. What programs would they include? What programs would they make sure not to include? Ask them to give reasons for their choices.

27. Thinking ahead to predict what might happen.

This is a great activity for school-age children who may need guidance in watching their favorite programs while you can’t be there with them. Give your child a written list of 3-5 general questions that they can read before they watch a TV show. Consider such questions as: “What do you think this program will be about? What do you anticipate the main character’s troubles will be? How will he/she resolve them? Why are you watching this show and not doing something else?” Instruct your child to think about the questions while viewing-no need to write anything down-just think. As your child watches, he/she won’t be able to stop thinking about these questions-it’s just how the brain works. Intermittently, ask your child to discuss the TV program with you, along with how this activity helps to think about the program!

28. Ask: “What will happen next?”

This is a simple, yet effective activity. Mute the commercials while your family watches TV together and ask each child and adult what he/she thinks will happen next. There are no right or wrong answers! This gives everyone a chance to engage in creative interplay and then to test his/her “hypothesis” when the show resumes. Children may learn just how predictable and mundane a lot of programs are and soon improve on the scriptwriters, adding their own creative ideas!

29. Record your child’s favorite show.

Then play it back during a long car trip or around a cozy fireplace on a dark winter evening. The purpose of this activity would be for your child to hear the program, without seeing the visuals. Talk about how the characters and their actions change as a result of only hearing the show. Does your child have to listen more intently? Why or why not? What are some crucial distinctions between watching and listening?

30. Encourage your child or teen to be a media creator.

Ultimately what we want is for our children to find ways to creatively express who they are. You can encourage a child to use a digital camera and make a photo collage of a family trip, for instance. Older children and teens can create websites, blogs, even podcasts. Screen technologies are powerful tools and when used intentionally, with specific purposes, our children become media-literate in the process of learning more about their own creativity and unique skills.

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15 Media Activities for Children, ages 3-6

Screen Violence

1. Talk about real-life consequences.

If the screen violence were happening in real life, how would the victim feel? In real life what would happen to the perpetrator of the violence. Compare what’s on the screen to the consequences of what happens when someone hurts another person in the real world.

2. Violence is not the way to solve problems.

Emphasize that hurting another person in any way or destroying property is wrong and won’t solve a person’s problems. Point out to your child that many of the violent cartoon characters never seem to solve their problems from episode to episode, and that to use violence is to act without thinking of the consequences. Tell your child it’s powerful and smart to find peaceful, creative ways to solve problems with other human beings. Choose a problem your child encountered recently such as another child taking a toy away and talk about the reasonable way the problem was resolved or could have been resolved-without hurting.

3. Anger is natural.

Talk about the fact that we all get angry, that it’s normal. It’s what we do with our anger-how we cope with it and express it-that’s important. When screen characters hurt people out of anger, it’s because they have not learned how to deal with their anger. Your child could make a list of screen characters who know how to deal with their anger in positive ways.

4. Count the number of violent acts.

While watching a favorite cartoon with your child, count the number of actual violent actions. Point out that these are harmful to others and you would never allow him/her to do such things to others. Total the number of violent actions at the end of the program and ask your child if he/she thought there were that many. Decide not to watch cartoons or any shows with such violent actions.

5. Talk about real and pretend.

If your child is exposed to a violent movie or video game, it is especially important to talk with him/her about the fact that the images were pretend-like when your child plays pretend and that no one was actually hurt. Make it a common practice to talk about the differences between real and pretend with any TV programs, movies, your child watches. Understanding this concept basic to becoming media-literate!

Screen Advertising

6. Blind taste test.

Show your child how she can test the claims of commercials. Have her do a blind taste test. It can be done with a wide range of foods such as three or four kinds of soda pop, spaghetti sauce, cereal-your child’s favorites. Are the products as great as the commercials claimed? Can she tell the difference between a generic brand and a famous one? Can she identify products by name? Do the commercials make products seem different than they really are? Why or why not? This is a fun activity to do with several children. Have a taste test party!

7. Draw pictures of a feeling.

Suggest that your child draw a picture depicting how he feels after watching two different types of TV commercials. What are the differences between the pictures? Discuss your child’s feelings about the different commercial messages. Picture the buyer. Younger children can watch a commercial and then draw a picture of the type of person they think will buy the product. After discussing the child’s picture, explain how various audience appeals are used in commercials to attract specific audiences.

8. Cartoon ads.

While watching cartoons, your child can look for specific cartoon characters that appear in popular commercials. Explain the differences between the commercial and the cartoon: In the commercial, the character sells a product; in the cartoon, the character entertains us. The next time she watches TV, have her report to you if she sees any cartoon characters selling products.

9. The toy connection.

When visiting a toy store, you and your child can look for toys that have been

advertised on TV or promoted by TV personalities. Point out to him how the toys advertised on TV initially seem more attractive than those he hasn’t seen advertised.

10. Invent a character.

Your child can pick a product, such as a favorite cereal, and create an imaginary character that can be used to sell the product. He/she could draw a picture or role-play the character. Or, using puppets, stage an imaginative commercial for a made-up product. Afterwards discuss with your child what she or he did to tell people about the product. Watch a few commercials and point out basic selling techniques such as making the product looking larger than life, repeating a jingle, and showing happy children using the product.

Screen News

TV news contains elements that may not be appropriate for young children. As much as possible, watch news when your child is in bed or not in the room. Protect your little one from graphic images and topics that she/he is not ready to handle cognitively or emotionally.

Screen Stereotypes

11. Not better, just different.

Children are never too young to start learning the message that differences do not make anyone better than anyone else. Point out how each family member has his or her own individual preferences, habits, ideas, and behaviors. Differences make us all unique and interesting. When your child sees a racist or sexist stereotype on the screen, explain that the writers of the script made an error in portraying the character in that light.

12. Change the picture.

Play a game with your child: When she encounters a screen stereotype, ask her whether other types of people could play that role. For instance, if the secretary is a young woman, explain that men are secretaries, too, and that many older women are very competent secretaries.

13. Girls, boys, and toys.

As you walk through a toy store, point out various toys to your child, asking each time whether the toy is made for a boy or a girl. Ask if any child could just as well play with the toy. Encourage your child to find toys that would be fun for girls and boys to play with. Then, when your child sees toy commercials on TV, point out whether only little boys or little girls are playing with the toys.

14. Play: Who is missing?

Often what children see on the screen does not represent all nationalities and the diversity he or she encounters in preschool, kindergarten, or on the playground. While watching favorite cartoons or movies with your child, discuss who is missing-such as an older person; a disabled person, or a person of a certain race or nationality. You can also discuss what types of people your child encounters more often on the screen-young, glamorous, happy white people usually take up the majority of the visual images with men outnumbering women 3 to 1!

15. Model discussion of screen stereotypes.

When your family watches a favorite TV program or a popular DVD, you can help your youngster identify stereotypical roles, behaviors, and attitudes by holding family conversations to involve your spouse and/or older children. While watching the program or movie, the adults and the older children take notes, tracking whenever they spot a stereotype of age, gender, or race. After watching, turn off the TV/VCR and discuss everyone’s observations. Using each family member’s notes, compile a master list of the stereotypical statements and portrayals that were noted. This discussion can be made more interesting if you taped the program (or replay the DVD in appropriate scene/s), so you can refer back to it as family members discuss the stereotypes they spotted. Your little one will listen to this family media literacy conversation and absorb important information while the others share their ideas.

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How Google TV Will Help Photographers

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So what exactly is this Google TV phenomenon everyone is talking about? Google’s services are no longer solely in the domain of their powerful search engine and emailing systems. Their innovative approach to technology has led them to produce Google TV which is essentially an application that integrates the company’s core business product (searching), the internet, multimedia capabilities of a media box, and television. Google TV uses a unique method to prepare the websites to be viewed on your TV, even in high definition if you would like. What this effectively means is that you would have full control over information, downloadable programs, the internet, and other media content such as videos and photographs, all from you’re the comfort of your home television.

Perhaps the most attractive element of Google TV is the fact that it is specifically designed for the television user. Anyone can build a device to give you access to the internet through your television. In fact many other manufacturers have been doing this for years. The difference is Google TV is adapted for finding information on program schedules for a specific channel through the search bar. How you can use this information really sets Google apart from the competition, and the preloaded applications show the faith other companies such as Twitter, Napster, and Amazon have in this application.

The additional applications to customize your setup can be downloaded easily through the program and Google launches continuous updates over the air. Other applications such as Flicker and Picasa can also be installed, giving the user full control of their photo gallery or any photos they would wish to use. Because Google TV can be used with just about any TV, households with high definition televisions can view their photo gallery in HD. To some extent this can be advantageous to a photographer because the ‘cap’ on the resolution of the pictures they would like to shoot is increased. This software really gives photographers an excellent opportunity to showcase their portfolio in a way that they intended it to be seen. Google does not limit what you can access through Google TV’s full browser. Coupled with Adobe’s flash player, anyone with the software installed on their television can view flash content. This means that for videos available on YouTube.com and other video content systems that can be viewed in HD, you can watch them right from your television in big screen.

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Roku Channels

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There is no doubt in the minds of many people that Roku is the unrivaled leader among the many types of streaming media providers on the market today. They offer more channels than any other streaming media provider. Of all the providers that offer streaming media to your TV, the number one undisputed leader would have to be, Roku. This is because they have so much to offer when it comes to movies, TV shows, sports, and music.

With hundreds of channels available, you are guaranteed to have a variety of programming to choose from. You’ll be able to choose from public channels or private channels and we’re not talking about low quality channels. With the Roku streaming player you will have access to the some of the best channels that are out on the market. For those that love movies, all the great channels are there for you to access such as: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackel, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and many others.

Movies & TV

The Roku media player brings together a large selection of categories for you to choose from. Users can choose from Movies & TV, Sports, News & Weather, Music, Web TV, and many other popular categories. These channels offer tons of excitement. Most of the channels, as well as many others are available in high definition, making a better way to watch your favorite entertainment.

Sports

Movies and TV shows is not the only entertainment available for you to enjoy. This powerful little box also provides exciting sports content. Hockey fans that have NHL GameCenter Live subscription can access their favorite team and enjoy on demand broadcasts on their TV in HD. Other subscription packages available are the NBA game time and MLB. Plus many other FREE sports channels for any die hard sports fan to enjoy.

Games

The latest category to be added to the feature category channels is games. Yes, it’s true now there are games channels for you to access. They are proud to offer you a rich variety of some of the best games available. Some of the most popular games include, Angry Birds, Galaga, Texas Hold’em, Sudoku, and Jeopardy. Plus they are also constantly adding new game channels to their impressive collection.

There is much to like about this streaming player. By having access to Roku channels you will always have some kind of entertainment to keep you entertained. There is no denying that this is the best when it comes to streaming the best in entertainment.

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5 Alternatives to Cable and Satellite Television

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Cut your monthly entertainment bill by getting your fill of movies and television shows from streaming media players or an HD antenna. Here are five excellent alternatives to your pricey cable or satellite television subscription.

HD Antenna

An HDTV antenna gives you access to the free broadcast channels in your area, so you can watch them on your digital TV. Choose from a wide selection of HD antennae, from indoor types to bulky roof-mounted ones. Prices vary according to antenna type and model. Refer to TVFool.com for the channels that are available in your location. It also gives you the antenna direction for which to capture the available broadcast channels that you want to watch.

Roku

You don’t have to scrimp on the number of broadcast channels when you finally cut ties with your cable or satellite television carrier. The popular Roku streaming video device gives you access to over 750 broadcast channels. Roku’s streaming stick is priced at $49.99. The streaming media player’s most recent incarnation, Roku 3, is equipped with expandable memory and allows for Ethernet connection. Roku 3 costs $99.99.

Chromecast

Google’s $35 streaming media device can be plugged into the HDMI port of your computer monitor or TV. Chromecast streams a full 1080p display and works with many devices such as PCs and Macs, as well as mobile devices powered by Android and iOS. When you connect the Chrome OS version of Chromecast to your home Wi-Fi network or your TV, you can watch media content through your mobile device on any available HDMI TV.

ASUS Cube with Google TV

Priced at $111.99, the ASUS Cube is a good investment for your cable-free entertainment needs. If you already own or favor Google TV, then the sleek, futuristic-looking ASUS Cube makes for a sensible complement to your multimedia viewing routine. Giving you access to media content on multiple devices, ASUS Cube comes with a custom user interface with a handy voice-enabled search functionality, as well as 50GB of file storage on the Web plus a two-sided universal remote with motion sensors and a microphone.

Apple TV

If you are an Apple fanatic or an avid user of iTunes, you might want to look at Apple TV as a viable alternative for streaming media content. For a price tag of $99, Apple TV streams multimedia content from popular outlets such as HBO Go, Hulu, and Netflix. And with AirPlay Mirroring on your Apple TV, you can simultaneously stream Web-based video on your iOS device.

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Western Digital TV Live Review

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In this article I’ll be discussing the Western Digital TV Live, which is a media player that connects to your HD TV and allows you to play HD content in either 720p or 1080p resolutions.

The first thing you’ll notice about the WD TV Live is its size, it’s tiny. You wouldn’t think such a small device could pack such a big punch, but it does. The player comes with a remote control, and its necessary batteries, and also its power adapter. Unfortunately a HD cable isn’t provided, so you’ll have to source this elsewhere.

Once you’ve connected the device, and turned it on, you’ll notice a baby blue light on the front of the player to signify that it’s on. When you change your TV’s channel to the player’s channel, you’ll then notice the WD TV Live’s boot up screen. This is displayed for roughly a few seconds, and it then changes to the main menu, where you can choose from a host of options which include, video, music, photos and settings. The setting’s option allows you to customise your player experience, allowing you to change how files and folder are displayed, how and if your WD TV will connect to a network, the language selection etc. Selecting the music option takes you to the music menu, which allows you to open up files and folders which host any music files. The photo’s option takes you to the photo’s screen, and the video screen likewise.

You can connect your media to the WD TV Live player in a variety of ways, ranging from a USB stick which physically plugs into either or both of the media players USB ports, an external hard drive which connects to the media player via a USB cable, or a network connection. A network connection allows you to connect your WD   TV  live  media  player to your network, and stream any music and videos in real time. This is how mine is currently setup, and it works faultlessly, no skipping, pausing, just a smooth playback. I’ve also tested playing videos and music via a USB stick or an external hard drive, and this also worked perfectly. There is also the option of connecting the device to your network via a wireless USB stick, but only some USB sticks are compatible, so you’ll need to have a look at the product’s home page on the manufacturer’s website to ensure it’ll work correctly.

HD movies are displayed beautifully on the WD  TV  live  media  player, and you have a range of options during playback. You can choose whether to display the films built in subtitles, and if so, what language. You can pause the film at any moment, fast forward or rewind in single mode, x2, x4, x8 or x16, and you also have the option of skipping forwards or backwards in 10 minute intervals.

The WD  TV   media  player is a fantastic device which has worked faultlessly for me in my 6 months of ownership. It’s a perfect device for those who wish to add to their home theatre, and due to its size and slick appearance, it’s sure to look the part as well.

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Lessons Learned From A TV Appearance

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Since launching my first book Apprentice to Business ACE, I have been consistently profiled in the media. It’s been a fantastic vehicle to raise my profile, enhance my credibility and build my brand. Just recently I was invited on to Sky Business News and had the opportunity to answer viewer’s questions on branding and PR for small business. So I would like to share some lessons I learned from my TV appearance.

You Know Your stuff

TV hosts and producers don’t want to give you too much information about the questions. Why? Because they don’t want you to sound stilted and rehearsed when you give answers. You are generally there because you are the expert (or say you are) on that particular subject and because you do know your subject better than anyone else you will be able to answer questions spontaneously.

But you should think about some possible questions they may ask and prepare answers beforehand. Ask your partner or a friend to ask you a few questions and have a rehearsal ‘ practice. You can find out what angle are they taking? What are they expecting from you ‘ what are the question areas?

Research

Watch the program beforehand to get a feel for the type of show it is if you can. At least look up the website and perhaps view a video clip or listen to a podcast. Find out as much as you can about the program on which you’re being asked to appear ‘ is it live or pre-recorded? Is the audience completely general, or is it targeted at housewives or business people? Think about the points you could make which are most interesting, useful and relevant to that particular audience.

Arrive early so you can meet and chat with other guests, hosts, producers to feel a bit more comfortable and familiarise yourself with the surroundings.

Get to the Point

Do try and get to the main point of your answer quickly without wafting on. A short, sharp, interesting point works best in the media especially for television and will be easier for viewers to remember. If you don’t give enough information the interviewer will simply ask a follow-up question.

If you have something to promote (such as a book) keep it in mind and look for an opportunity to get your point across. All well and good being great media “talent” but you could use the opportunity to at least promote your business name. Try and be in control and use every opportunity to get your message across.

Have Something to Say

Be aware of the latest news, gossip or current affairs stories particularly that relate to your topic. Read the papers, listen to radio and be as informed as you can because you never know what might come up during the interview. If there are controversial issues in your area of expertise, work out where you stand, and what you should say. It is better to respond rather than say “no comment”. Don’t be afraid to put your point of view across. If you don’t know the answer, say so.

Make It Interesting and Descriptive

Make your answers more memorable by using real stories and descriptive words. Cut through the clutter with words that paint a picture in the mind of the listener. As an example in a radio interview I did, I told a story about a young journalist interviewing a well know media personality and used the word “hyper-bowl”, the media identity kindly corrected her and said the word is pronounced “hyper-bo-lee”. We made it a fun, interesting reference to the issue being discussed.

Friendly and Attentive

Remember that what you’re really doing is having a conversation. Listen to the interviewer’s questions. The host will appreciate your attentiveness. Use the interviewer’s name to make it more personable when answering questions.

If you’re doing an interview face-to-face use eye contact and try and interest the interviewer in what you’re talking about rather than thinking ‘ do I sound OK ‘ do I look alright on TV. If your eyes flicker around during a TV interview, you look uncomfortable, and possibly a bit shifty. If you keep your eye-line focused on the interviewer, you will come over as being in command of your subject. Just try and relax and take your time. And remember to smile, you will look and sound a lot friendlier.

Animation and Gestures

Be bright and buoyant in your answers. You need to be slightly more animated and larger than life. Pep up your delivery so that it is energetic and enthusiastic, rather than dull and low-key. Television is entertainment after all and broadcasting is a performance! The more engaging you appear the more interested and involved the audience will feel. It’s perfectly okay to move, rather than sitting stiffly and looking unnatural. Just be aware of exaggerated movements or unconscious movements such as flicking your hair or tapping your fingers. If you always ‘talk’ with your hands, like I do, that’s okay; just don’t over do it. Also be aware of knocking your microphone, movement or other sounds that may interfere. Look & Sound Good

Always take time to warm up your voice. You will come across as more articulate and authoritative. It will help prevent a “frog in the throat” during the interview. Sip room temperature water before and during the interview. Never drink anything too hot or cold and nothing with milk in it otherwise you’ll be constantly clearing your throat.

Dress well and look your best.

Take your cue from the presenters on the show you’re appearing on. Perhaps it’s business casual for a morning show or more business corporate for a news show. Wear make-up. OK guys maybe just a touch of powder to eliminate shine.

If you stumble, or slip-up, or use the wrong persons name like I did during my interview, just forget about it and move on. Even top TV presenters make mistakes.

Did I manage all of the above in my interview? Probably not. But the key is to relax and enjoy the interview as much as possible ‘ after all it is your opportunity to promote your business, product or service and hopefully raise your profile and profits.

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How to Set Up the Multi-Media TV

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This article will explain how to connect your PC to a Big Screen TV, and experience the ultimate in HD picture and HD sound, using the existing PC outputs. The set up is actually very simple, and will most likely only require an additional minimal purchase of an HDMI cable to connect the PC to the TV. The HDMI (High Definition Modular Interface) cable will carry both HD sound and picture to your TV.

Before you begin, you will need to verify that the Motherboard on your PC has an outlet to plug in a second display. Most of the newer motherboards contain both VGA and HDMI outputs on the same board. You will also need to verify that your TV has an HDMI input.

To complete the installation, first install (1) end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI output on the back of the PC. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI Input on the big screen TV. Then, configure your PC for using dual monitors. To configure your PC using the MS -Vista O.S., Click on the Vista Start Logo, Click on Control Panel. Click on Personalization, Click on Adjust screen resolution. You should now see the Display Settings window with the existing computer monitor (labeled 1), and a second smaller monitor (labeled 2).

Located immediately below the monitor icons, you will see the drop-down selector box with both monitors listed. By default the number (2) monitor will be the Big Screen TV. Immediately below the selector, check the (2) boxes, This is my main monitor, and extend the desktop on to this monitor. Click OK and Close the window.

Now for an example, resize your I.E. browser window, so it is about half the size of your computer screen. Grab the top of the browser window, and drag it over to the other monitor. After dragging the window, you should now see the I.E. browser window open on your other screen(TV). Now the fun part! Go to one the new free movie sites like Hulu, and now you can watch the show on your big screen TV courtesy of your PC.

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Media Server – 5 Simple Steps to Convert Your Old PC Into a Media Streamer

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Yesterday while hanging out in my attic among all the old stuff I come across my old PC. This computer has been laying there for the last for at least a couple years. Thinking of discarding it properly I started searching for articles on disposal on the internet. While searching for couple of minutes I found a site suggesting the idea of converting an old PC into a media server. Having some bucks to spare and some free time on my hands I decided to go for it.

Just What is a Media Server?

First thing first I am sure some of you are wondering like I initially was, just what is a Media Server. A Media Server is a PC system designed to receive and record TV programs, play back video and handle the digital music and photo libraries available in its storage through a Television unit connected to it. The main components are a robust storage system with ample hard drive space and processing power and Random Access Memory sufficient enough to deliver seamless playback of HD content.

1. Check the performance of your old pc:

Analyzing the old PC, I figured out that it has a 2.4 GHz Pentium IV processor with 256 MB of RAM. While checking the minimum specifications I found that it may struggle when trying to play the HD 1080 videos so I decided to go for a RAM upgrade to 1 GB and stick to the same processor in order to save some bucks in case I also needed to upgrade the hard drive.

2. Check storage; examine hard drive capacity and speed:

The storage capacity of the old PC is about 40 GB IDE drive; which is much less as compared to the latest media servers. Generally for a media server you should have a capacity of 500gb to have enough space to hold the equivalent of 100s of DVDs. Speed of the hard drives is also a consideration. Luckily both of these problems can be corrected with a raid hard drive array.

RAID vs Single Hard drive:

The RAID array consists of more than one hard drives embedded as a single unit for high capacity and speed than the single hard drive with an external backup. Depending on how the RAID array is configured you can also configure the array for back up security. This is an added benefit as no data would be lost in the event of a hard drive crash.

3. Think about purchasing a Digital TV tuner Card:

A digital TV tuner card is a basic component of media server used to receive and record video content from the local cable or satellite system to the local hard drive. This card is very useful as it will allow to input TV into your PC and record your favorite shows. With several companies charging fees as high $6 per DVR box per month, the one time cost of a TV tuner card could save you quite a bit of money in the long run.

4. Choosing software for you media server:

Windows XP Media Center Edition is a great choice of software for a media server; having a beautiful graphic interface and easy configuration, it is however a bit expensive. If you are strapped for cash Linux based operating systems might be a good choice as they are totally free and have Myth   TV  software for  media  server purpose; but they can be hard to configure.

5. Connecting Server to the TV:

The last step involved in this project is establishing a connection between the PC and the TV. You now have to make the decision on whether to connect the media server through a wired or wireless connection. Wireless systems can be more convenient and will allow you to access your media server from throughout your house. Furthermore in terms of the placement of the wireless systems the server can be hidden out of view. The drawback to wireless systems is that they can be expensive. If only a single TV unit is present then simply running a wire from the server to the TV may be better both in terms of cost and speed of setup.

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Sling Media Technologies For Satellite TV Viewers

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Now you will be able to watch your favorite live or recorded television program even when you are not in your home. The service providers of satellite TV have entered in a long term business venture with Sling Media to introduce some of their technologically superior products for its subscribers. The introduction of these high tech devices has completely changed the way of watching TV contents.

Sling Media is a California based Technology Company that came in to existence in the year 2004. Their first product Slingbox was launched in the US market soon after the formation of this company and become huge popular among people. Slingbox is a first of its kind product that is capable of streaming live or recoded television contents over the internet. With the help of this device, people can see their TV shows either on their notebook PCs or on their smartphones. Seeing the immense popularity of their Slingbox hardware, the company launched many variants of Slingbox. The variants are Slingbox Solo, Slingbox 700U and Slingbox PRO-HD.

The Slingbox hardware’s are equipped with a unique technology called Placeshifting. In fact this is the technology that is enabling you to take your TV along with you. With the help of this technology, the recorded or live TV programs are streamed via high speed broadband internet connection. Therefore you can enjoy your chosen show either from a hotel, restaurant, coffee shop or even half way across the world. Just think for a while, you need to attend an important business meeting and on the same day one of the biggest collage football event is about to take place. You simply cannot skip the meeting nor do you want to miss the game. You might have faced such problems like this in your life.

The problem can be solved only when you get one of the Slingbox devices in your home you can get this amazing hardware from your satellite TV service provider. Simply connect the Placeshifting with your existing DVR enabled receiver by using the composite AV cable. After that you need to connect your network router with the Slingbox device by using the supplied Ethernet cable. This is how you must connect your Placeshifting enabled Slingbox devices with your DVR and network devices. But it is always advised to go through the instruction manual thoroughly before proceeding forward.

To watch your favorite TV content on your notebook PC or smartphones then you need to install Sling Player software on both devices. SlingPlayer software is a product of Sling Media and is available for Microsoft Windows and Apple’s Macintosh. It is also available for various mobile platforms such as iPhone OS, Blackberry OS, Windows Mobile and also for Symbian mobile operating systems. Once this software is installed on your PC or Mobile then your device becomes ready to play the streamed contents from your satellite TV receiver.

So here you can see that satellite TV service is all about technology. The service providers have introduced this amazing technology so that you cannot miss any of your favorite TV show.

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Tips for Choosing a HD 1080p Media Player

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So how do you make sure you are getting the most value when purchasing a HD 1080p media player? Let’s look at the facts.

Media Compatibility

Broadcast TV, DVD movies, and streaming video are almost never 1080p. Having a HD 1080p is not going to enhance the picture any higher than one supporting only 1080i or 720p. The big difference comes when you start considering the latest formats of entertainment. Blu-Ray discs are support 1080p and can take the full advantage a HD which supports 1080p. This only becomes important if your are planning on archiving your Blu-Ray movies onto your HD 1080p, which can be a great choice.

What about your TV and your HD 1080p media player

The other factor you need to consider is your television. Having a HD 1080p player does you no good, if your big screen TV is only 720p. You could still buy the 1080p HD digital player with the plans of being ready when you upgrade your TV.

Video on Demand

Since 1080p is not supported by video on demand systems at this time, due to the large bandwidth it would require, it is not a major consideration when considering your HD streaming player today. This doesn’t mean it is not going to happen in the future. Should you plan for the future, or wait for change? If price was not your biggest concern, it would make sense to get a digital player which is ready for the next generation of streaming media. Microsoft, YouTube, and other services are already planning to offer 1080p.

Now lets look at the question is a HD 1080p player worth the price? The answer is an absolute YES. You will quickly discover the cost difference between a HD 1080p player and a less capable HD digital media player is only a few dollars. Why would you try to save only a few dollars, and then not be able to use it for your future upgrades? If you have any equipment capable of 1080p, your investment in a HD 1080p media player will be well rewarded.

Additional considerations when purchasing an HD 1080p media player

Compatibility with your entertainment system

The more important questions come down to choosing seamlessly integrates with your existing television and home theater system. Choose a HD 1080p which supports video on demand, is also an HD streaming media player, and has all the connection options you need for your equipment, especially an HDMI video connector.

Wired or wireless

A bigger question should be do I choose a wireless media player, or a wired system. This can even become more important with a HD 1080p since you’ll be pushing more data.

Storage of the HD 1080p.

Also, considering your storage options will be critical when buying a HD 1080p player. Storing your Blu-Ray movies onto your HD is going to use large amounts of space. You may want to consider using network attached storage for the ease of expansion and flexibility.

So is a HD 1080p media player the best choice in a HD digital player? To get the highest value from your dollar, and to be ready for all your future needs, no other choice really makes sense.

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