Birthday’s On-Demand: Netflix now helps celebrate your kids birthday

Netflix Birthdays On-Demand

Along with interactive choose your own adventure shows, special countdowns for New Year’s Eve and a growing library of original kid-friendly content, Netflix has now launched Birthday’s On-Demand.

RELATED: Netflix will help you trick your kids to go to bed early this New Year’s Eve

With Birthday’s On-Demand parents can cue up characters from 14 different Netflix shows to celebrate with. Characters include LEGO Friends, Dinotrux, Barbie, King Julien, My Little Pony, Beat Bugs, Skylanders and more.

About Birthdays On-Demand

Birthdays On-Demand is a one-click birthday hack for the 44 per cent of parents who feel the social media-fueled anxiety of pulling off the perfect birthday celebration, and the 69 per cent who wish there was an easier way. No glitter, no confetti, just family-friendly entertainment that’ll be the icing on the cake at any birthday bash.

To find the Birthdays On-Demand featurettes on Netflix search for “birthday,” “birthdays,” “Birthdays On-Demand” or “birthday songs” or visit netflix.com/birthdays.

Will you use the Netflix Birthdays On-Demand feature for your child? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Netflix setting up download zones for Ontario cottagers this summer

Netflix logo

Planning to head to the cottage for the long weekend? If you’re in Ontario you’ll be happy to know you can now stop at a Netflix Download Zone along the way to load up on content!

The “Netflix and go” download zones will be available every long weekend from Victoria Day to Labour Day. Users can stop, connect and download available shows to their tablets or phones for offline viewing in the car or at the cottage.

RELATED: What you need to know about 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix

Shows available to download include the likes of Stranger Things, Riverdale, The OA, PAW PatrolThe Office and more.

Here are the locations of the Ontario Netflix Download Zones:

Victoria Day weekend

Friday, May 19

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21

  • Collingwood – Farmers Market at Hurontario and Simcoe St

Canada Day weekend

Friday June 30

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2

  • Gravenhurst – 101 Centennial Dr

Civic Holiday weekend

Friday, August 4

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6

  • Huntsville – 37 Main St E

Labour Day weekend

Friday, September 1

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Netflix Download Zones

Will you take advantage of the Netflix Download Zones? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Not available in Canada

Amazon Echo Canada

The Amazon Echo is not available in Canada.

I reached out to Amazon earlier this week to inquire about their Amazon Echo device, which I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about. Their reply? “Not available in Canada.”

As a Canadian there is nothing more infuriating than hearing those four words.

This is not a new issue, either. Americans have always gotten the latest greatest gadgets and services before us. The iPod, iPhone, Netflix and Spotify were all mysterious creatures before they eventually arrived in the north. Even homegrown tech company Blackberry released some of its products in the U.S. before here!

RELATED: Map of drive-in movie theatres in Canada

Sometimes products come too late or are crippled when they get here and end up being a bust.

I remember wanting a TiVo for years only to be disappointed when it was finally available because it wouldn’t integrate with any of our cable or satellite providers properly, and the online components didn’t function because the services were unavailable. The recent failure of Target also comes to mind.

Canadians still can’t access Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or Pandora without workarounds. Traffic updates on Toyota’s Entune navigation system don’t work up here, and if we want to enjoy a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles or eat an Almond Joy bar, we have to cross the border and smuggle some back. And why no Chick-fil-A or Waffle House up here?

Of course there are a few things we have that Americans don’t.

Kraft Dinner, Coffee Crisp, Smarties, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Kraft Peanut Butter are only available in the Great White North. And CraveTV and shomi do a good job filling the void of Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. And while people like to complain about our version of Netflix, we do have content on it Americans don’t get.

Of course there are many reasons for all of this. Different tastes and markets, cost of importing products, deals with service providers, etc. But in this digital day and age it’s hard to avoid hearing about all the cool things we’re missing out on and not get slightly jealous. And I really want to play with the Amazon Echo, dammit!

Are there things not available in Canada that you wish were? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Win a 1-year subscription to Netflix Canada

Netflix logo

With so many great announcements from Netflix recently (Fuller HousePee-wee’s Big Holiday), Netflix Canada have offered up a 1-year standard subscription for me to giveaway to one lucky reader! That’s a $119.88 value!

This contest is open to all residents of Canada (18+), excluding Quebec. Enter the contest by clicking here. Contest closes 12 a.m. on Feb. 15. Winner will be randomly selected and notified via email or Twitter.

Check out trailers for some upcoming Netflix shows and let us know what you’re excited to watch on Netflix Canada in the comments below or on the bamcatBuzz Facebook page.

Fuller House

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

LOVE

Disclosure: Netflix Canada supplied the prize for this contest only. Opinions on Netflix shows and services are my own.

‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday’ comes to Netflix this March

Pee-wee's Big Holiday

Pee-wee Herman in a scene from ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday’. Courtesy Netflix.

Mark down March 18 at 12:01 a.m. PT on your calendar if you’re a Pee-wee Herman fan. That’s the day the Netflix original movie Pee-wee’s Big Holiday premieres, the streaming service announced Tuesday.

From the look and feel of the trailer (below) the film appears to hit on the nostalgia of the previous Pee-wee films and popular Pee-wee’s Playhouse TV show (which is available to stream on Netflix now). It’s also fascinating that 63-year-old Pee-wee actor Paul Reubens doesn’t look any different than he did back in the ‘80s!

RELATED: Netflix releases first images from ‘Fuller House’

The film, which was written by Reubens and Paul Rust (Arrested Development), and produced with the help of Judd Apatow, takes Pee-wee on his first vacation ever after meeting a “mysterious stranger”. Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike XXL), Jessica Pohly (Stalker), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) and Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) also star.

Along with Fuller House, the new Full House series Netflix is launching in February, this could be the year the ‘80s officially return (at least on TV).

Watch the teaser trailer for Pee-wee’s Big Holiday below.

Are you excited for more Pee-wee Herman adventures? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

CraveTV now available to all Canadians

CraveTV

Many popular TV shows, like ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Seinfeld’, are available to stream on CraveTV.

You no longer need a TV subscription to sign-up for Bell’s CraveTV streaming service, the company announced Thursday.

The service, which features exclusive content from HBO and Showtime, is now open to all Canadians for $7.99 per month.

“We’re very proud to enter into the next phase of this incredible service, offering the most premium TV content in Canada at the best price,” said Bell Media president Mary Ann Turcke in a press release.

RELATED: Netflix releases first images from ‘Fuller House’

CraveTV is available to stream online at cravetv.ca, on iOS, Android and Windows 8.1 devices, via Google’s Chromecast, the Apple TV and select Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. It’s also available through cable and satellite set-top boxes from providers like Bell, Telus, EastLink and SaskTel.

Unlike other streaming services, CraveTV focuses on television content over movies and includes episodes of popular shows such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, The Wire, Entourage, South Park, Cheers, CSI and Seinfeld. In total, they offer over 300 series and 500 specials and documentaries, along with 20 curated collections.

“Some of the best television in recent memory is available on CraveTV, and we’re delighted all Canadians with access to the Internet will have a chance to discover and enjoy this content, when they want, on the device of their choice,” Turcke said in the release.

Bell also announced Thursday that they will be adding more HBO content, with episodes of The Jinx, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and The Newsroom coming to the service soon, and that they will be streaming episodes of Showtime’s new series Billions, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, on the same day and date they air in the U.S.

WATCH: Trailer for Showtime’s new series Billions

Canadians can try CraveTV by signing up for a free one-month trial at cravetv.ca. After the trial it’s $7.99 per month.

The Rogers-Shaw owned streaming service shomi became available to all Canadians last August with an $8.99 monthly fee.

Share your thoughts on CraveTV in the comments below.

Netflix releases first images from ‘Fuller House’

Fuller House

Netflix knows that most people either love Full House or secretly love Full House (there is no hate) and that is why they have forked out millions to bring the show back to TV sets around the world in the new series Fuller House.

If you’re as excited as I am to see what the Tanner family (minus Michelle, as neither Mary-Kate or Ashley Olsen are coming back) has been up to since the original series ended in 1995, you’re in for a treat as Netflix has released the first four official images from the show. Check out the images below along with the teaser trailer.

The first season of Fuller House will be available to stream on Netflix as of February 26.

Fuller House

A scene from Fuller House. Courtesy Netflix.

Fuller House

A scene from Fuller House. Courtesy Netflix.

Fuller House

A scene from Fuller House. Courtesy Netflix.

Fuller House

A scene from Fuller House. Courtesy Netflix.

About Fuller House:

In Fuller House, the adventures that began in 1987 on Full House continue, with veterinarian D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) recently widowed and living in San Francisco. D.J.’s younger sister/aspiring musician Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) and D.J.’s lifelong best friend/fellow single mother Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber), along with Kimmy’s feisty teenage daughter Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), all move in to help take care of D.J.’s three boys — the rebellious 12-year-old Jackson (Michael Champion), neurotic 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger) and her newborn baby, Tommy Jr (Messitt Twins).

Guest appearances by John Stamos (Jesse Katsopolis), Bob Saget (Danny Tanner), Dave Coulier (Joey Gladstone), Lori Loughlin (Becky Katsopolis) and Scott Weinger (Steve Hale).

WATCH: Fuller House teaser trailer

Share your thoughts on Fuller House in the comments below.

Netflix will help you trick your kids to go to bed early this New Year’s Eve

Netflix 2016

Wondering how you can celebrate New Year’s Eve with the whole family without having to keep the kids up to midnight? Thanks to Netflix you no longer need to worry!

To help parents trick their kids into thinking they are celebrating the countdown to 2016 before midnight, the streaming video company has released six on-demand kid-friendly specials.

RELATED: Netflix wants to help you get your kids to bed on time

Covering off preschoolers to tweens, the 10-second countdowns feature popular characters like King Julien, Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Oona and Baba of Puffin Rock. Users can find the titles on Netflix by searching “New Year’s Eve Countdown” (full list of countdowns are listed below).

According to a survey Netflix conducted, 58 per cent of parents worldwide want their kids in bed before midnight on New Year’s Eve. In Canada that number jumps to 65 per cent of parents, with one in five parents (20 per cent) saying 9 p.m. is the ideal time to ring in 2016 with the little ones.

Will you use Netflix to trick your kids into celebrating 2016 early? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Countdowns available to stream include:

  • Puffin Rock residents Oona and Baba re-live their adventures from the past year and celebrate with the Northern Lights, nature’s very own fireworks.
  • Care Bears & Cousins head to Share Bear’s Shake Shack to gear up for a belly badge-tastic countdown in Care-a-Lot.
  • Inspector Gadget saves New Year’s Eve from a mischievous M.A.D. agent just in the nick of time for a dazzling firework display.
  • King Julien lives up to his party animal persona with a countdown to dance your way into the new year.
  • Mr. Peabody and Sherman venture around the world to gather their favorite talk show guests for a star-studded countdown event featuring Hiccup and Toothless, Puss in Boots, the Croods and the entire Dinotrux team.
  • Project Mc2 stars McKeyla, Adrienne, Bryden and Camryn team up for NOV8’s most important mission yet: Party!

What you need to know about 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix

Marvel's Jessica Jones

‘Marvel’s Jessica Jones’ will be available to stream in 4K Ultra HD when it premieres on Netflix Friday, Nov. 20.

I recently got to test a 65″ Vizio M-Series 4K TV at home for about a month. The TV offers many great features and is almost perfect in every aspect. But it’s the picture quality, especially when watching 4K content, that truly sets it apart from other TVs in this market (regular high-def content, even from a cable or satellite box source, also looks great on the M-Series).

Also known as Ultra HD and Super HD, my only source for true 4K content was via Netflix. And since not all devices that Netflix is available on can handle 4K (I’m looking at you Apple TV) I ended up using the native Netflix app that Vizio has available via their built-in Smart TV app store.

Here is what I found about Netflix’s 4K Ultra HD content after watching as much of it as I could over the course of a month.

You need to upgrade your account to access 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix

When I first went looking for 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix I was surprised that I couldn’t find any. This turned out to be because I only had the standard streaming account (the $9.99 per month one) and not the upgraded premium account ($11.99 a month), which offers Ultra HD content and the ability to watch Netflix on four screens at once. You also need to have your quality settings set to “High” (this can be found in your account settings under My Profile > Playback Settings).

Once I upgraded my account and changed my settings I instantly saw a 4K content section appear when I started browsing Netflix.

You need the right equipment and Internet connection to watch 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix

First (and this might sound obvious), you need a 4K TV in order to watch 4K content. While I am a fan of Vizio’s 4K lineup (mainly because they are quality TVs and are reasonably priced), Samsung, LG, Sony and Sharp all have great 4K TV options that work with Netflix. Check what TV brands and models Netflix supports here.

If you plan to stream via a streaming device this is where you need to take note. As I mentioned earlier, the Apple TV does not support 4K streaming. Neither does the Google Chromecast. And the PS4 and XBOX One currently don’t currently stream 4K (but they both might be one day). The only streaming devices that Netflix recommends for 4K Ultra HD content are the Roku 4, TiVo Bolt (not available in Canada), NVIDIA Shield and the new version of the Amazon Fire TV.

Lastly, your Internet connection has to be able to keep up with the large amounts of data 4K Ultra HD content streams. Netflix recommends no less than a 25Mbps connection in order to stream their 4K Ultra HD content.

The 4K Ultra HD content Netflix currently has available is very limited

Besides most of their own programming being in 4K Ultra HD (Narcos, House of Cards, Marco Polo, Daredevil, sense8, plus a couple others) there are only a few movies available, such as The Smurfs 2, Hitch and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (you can also watch Breaking Bad in 4K Ultra HD).

Netflix also offers some special nature documentary programming to highlight the quality of 4K. These are titled after the topic they are based on (Oceans, Forests, Deserts and Flowers) and all look tremendous in 4K Ultra HD.

Netflix has announced there will be more 4K Ultra HD content added in the future. Nothing new appeared in the 4K section while I was testing the TV, but Marvel’s Jessica Jones premieres on Nov. 20 and will be available in 4K Ultra HD.

BELOW: Watch the trailer for Marvel’s Jessica Jones

4K Ultra HD content uses much more bandwidth than regular HD content

When you upgrade the speed of your Internet connection you may also want to get unlimited bandwidth as well. Two episodes of Narcos (which is one of the best shows around and I highly recommend it) used roughly 14GB of bandwidth. Watching all 10 episodes of the series ate over 70GB of bandwidth. If you decide to binge-watch it along with something like Marvel’s Jessica Jones you’ll be pushing upwards of 150GB.

The quality of 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix will blow you away

Just like going from VHS to DVD and DVD to Blu-ray, the difference in quality going from regular HD to 4K Ultra HD is very noticeable and it will indeed knock your socks off. While viewing the Oceans documentary I almost forgot I was watching television it was so crystal clear (both my cats even tried jumping at the TV when a fish swam across the screen). And the quality of Narcos in 4K gave me extra goosebumps (seriously, you need to watch this show).

No, you don’t need to run out to upgrade to a 4K TV today. But if you’re in the market for a new television and have the chance to check out some of the 4K content Netflix has to offer, you will most definitely be a convert.

BELOW: Watch the trailer for Narcos

Share your thoughts and questions on Netflix’s 4K Ultra HD content in the comments below.

Netflix wants to help you get your kids to bed on time

Dinotrux 5 Minute Favorites

Like most kids, my two boys always want to stay up “just a little longer” and I usually cave because it’s the easy thing to do (I try to avoid dealing with screaming and crying as much as I can). Netflix realizes this is a problem with parents around the world and recently conducted a survey to find out how bad it really is.

According to the results, 61 per cent of Canadian parents don’t give in to their kids tactics. Sounds great until you find out that the average time it takes Canadian parents to get their kids to bed is 18.1 minutes, versus the global average of 17.5 minutes (not so great). The stall tactics Canadian kids try add an extra 13.2 minutes(!) to their bedtime routine while the global average is 15.7 minutes(!!).

To help with this bedtime battle, Netflix took their findings and, along with DreamWorks Animation, have launched Dinotrux 5 Minute ‘Favorites’. These short 300 second episodes can be used to time those “just 5 more minutes” moments while avoiding a full-on war with your little ones.

Check out the infographic Netflix put together with some of the results they got from the survey below.

Netflix 5 more minutes