Toys R Us opens online toy box for kids and their parents

Toys "R" Us understands that kids like to watch movies and parents like to watch kids' movies: The toys retailer has made a mint for years servicing that market with videotapes and DVDs. Now it's taking it up a notch, launching a Web site where parents can rent or buy "kid-friendly movies and television shows" that they might also find on Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) or (Nasdaq: AMZN), if they happened to look in that direction.

Initially, the videos will be available on PCs, Macs and Adobe Flash-enabled devices, but the market will expand to tablets, TVs and Blu-ray players later this year, a story on said. The Web site will also be loaded into the Tabeo tablet devices Toys "R" Us created as a kids' tablet computer.

The store's brand name should help differentiate it among a somewhat crowded field that already includes the aforementioned Netflix, and Apple.

"Even for families that have access to Netflix and other services, this looks like a nice way to get to curated content," Needham & Co. toy industry analyst Sean McGowan told

Especially nice is that users won't pay a subscription fee.

The Toy Guy (toy consultant and writer Chris Byrne) gave the idea a qualified thumbs up.

"It's a nice, logical add-on for the tablet," he said, before adding the caveat, "but they've [consumers] got to buy the tablet first."

The move could also accelerate the growth of a generation of cord-nevers--those youngsters who've never been connected to cable and thus never have to cut the cord.

"More and more parents are giving up their cable and switching to Apple TV or some mechanism for downloading movies," the Toy Guy said.

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