By Christina Tynan-Wood and Dan Tynan
A Hollywood Ending
Tackling the movie-viewing situation was next. Enter the Roku (roku.com, from $50), a hockey-puck-size gizmo specifically for video streaming. Within minutes of connecting it to the Ericsons' TV and wireless network, there was an embarrassment of riches -- old movies on Netflix, new releases via Amazon Instant Video, and last night's TV episodes on Hulu Plus, one of more than 750 channels accessible through Roku. Everything was just a click -- and sometimes a few bucks in rental fees -- away. Tina quickly decided to sign up for Amazon Prime to gain access to thousands of movies and TV shows on demand, plus free two-day shipping on anything she buys at Amazon, for $79 a year after a 30-day free trial. She is starting to ponder ditching cable, since they have so much content at their fingertips.
Meanwhile, 13-year-old Sean was psyched to see a Kinect for Xbox 360 (xbox.com, $110) in the playroom. Within minutes of installing it, he and Ingrid were arguing over who would go first. The Kinect, sensing there were two of them, instantly switched to two-player mode, and a rousing game of Kinect Adventures was soon under way. To make the room a place for everyone, Adam and Tina will try working out using Nike+ Kinect Training. Initially Sean was miffed that "his" game room was, well, no longer just his, but he got over it. (Being in awe of the Kinect helped.) Tina and Adam were relieved and happy to see Sean up off the couch, exercising more than his thumbs and playing games that require interaction with his sister. "The upgrades are awesome," says Adam. "We were stuck in our old ways for too long and had no idea how easy everything could be!" Tina agrees. "This is so much better."
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.