Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Miss Family Pass

I really miss Family Pass, formerly Mentura. We watched so many wonderful educational DVDs from them it really enhanced our school. I was devistated when it closed. Our public library, while good for a small town, has a dismal collection of DVDs and videos. I decided today that I need to do something about this void.

I did a little searching. It seems there is a company out there that was made exclusively for homeschoolers. It's expensive, IMHO, and didn't have the flexibility that Family Pass had or that Netflix has. You have to return your videos in 15 days. You pay individually for each, and it's expensive. On their site it says:
The more you rent—the more you save! The annual membership fee is only $25 per year. As a member, you can rent up to 3 educational multimedia products at one time. The first rental item cost is $7 and the second and third items are only $4 each, making the average rental price only $5 each. The selected items are mailed to your mailbox and you can enjoy them for up to 15 days. Then mail the items back to (them) using the provided FREE shipping label. Visit us online, rent 3 new items and the convenient process starts again.
I won't link to the company. I found this company on a google search and was taken to a page comparing it to Netflix. When I went to the main page, I found this: "Participant in The Old Schoolhouse New Subscriber Free Gift Promotion." I still boycott The Old Schoolhouse. So that's not an option. In fact, when I saw that, I didn't even bother to search their collection.

So off to Netflix. I searched many things we're studying now and found a fair amount of titles that we might enjoy. They have over 100 Imax titles. Lots of History Channel. This seems as if it will be our best bet.

Another option would be to check the TV schedule on a daily basis and start recording programs. This is what my husband wants me to do. I don't want the hassle of doing that, I don't want videos taking up space in my house, and I am not ready to buy a DVD player that can also record at the moment. Who wants to fast forward through commercials. Plus, it would take quite some time to build up a colleciton to use while we study. With Netflix, I can get it as soon as it is available.

The last option I considered was United Streaming. At $149 a year, not bad. The pros are the vidoes are available whenever I would want them with no wait. The con is that we'd have to watch it on the computer. From what I've read, it's impossible to burn a decent DVD as the quality goes down. Our computers are in the basement. It's cold, ugly and uncomfortable down here. I'd rather snuggle up on the couch while watching our videos. Our school system does subscribe to this, so I may call them and see if we can get a free subscription, but it's not exactly what I want.

So I guess Netflix wins. Not exactly what I want, it will take me awhile to find movies that fit with our studies, but it will have to do.

Anyone else have any other ideas??


Mama B said...

We have united streaming for this year but will not be renewing it next year. The in front of the computer to watch everything really made it quite user UN-friendly. And the video would not lend itself to being piped up to the TV.

We have netflix too since we don't have cable. And I've found that their search is clunky but if I *know* what I am looking for its easier so I usually try to find a listing of movies via other places then search for specific films.

I just read today that Netflix is going to offer video on demand. Which I am thrilled about! Once available it means I could feasibly decide the night before that I want to show a movie the next day. Of course I also have to finally get my TV hooked to the internet!

A good friend of ours made a homemade DVR for his TV setup but it won't work with out the digital cable :(

Sue said...

You might want to check with United Streaming about getting it free. It does offer *free* to homeschoolers in some states. SC and IA are 2 that I know of. Might be worth checking it out. The down side it you have to sit in front of the computer but we make it fun by having lunch and a movie. But...I can save the movies to my computer and save them to disk. That does make it convienent for the kids to watch the movies on their "no internet" computer.

Anonymous said...

Netflix isn't so bad. True, I never did the Mentura thing because they gave me a heads up.

What I like about Netflix is that I can get educational and entertainment DVDs, especially ones that just aren't available through the local rental stores.

What's sort of fun is to get some of the TV series on DVD. Netflix has just about anything you could want. Plus, you can buy their used DVDs of recent releases for an okay price.

mama b is right. Searching elsewhere, like at the History Channel site or Science Channel site, is easier than the Netflix search.

This site has helped me out a lot: http://www.hackingnetflix.com/


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine has used this company:

It's a flat fee of $24.99 per month & you just do it on a month-by-month basis. They specialize in educational videos/dvds.

My friend loved it. If you have more questions, you can email or call me.

the GA peach ;-)

Angela, MotherCrone said...

We love Netflix, the price is write and the flexibility. I have also found that if I find something we want, I email them witht he suggestion. They often end up getting it!

mull-berry said...

Don't forget "Teach with Movies." There is a fee for the learning guides but the movie index and descriptions are free.


mull-berry said...

... meant to add ... research movies at "Teach with Movies" then rent elsewhere.

nina said...

Frankie-I don't know how close you are to a major city library but if you are within a short drive you might consider a non-residence card. I pay $25 a year to have access to a very large system. We make a weekly trip to the closest branch in the system. Often we can combine the weekly trip with other big city errands. Our small town library works for story time and just picking up a stack of books to read but the large system offers us the world. You probably know this, but most libraries will do inter library loans. I am not sure about videos but it might be worth it. Our system now charges $5 for inter library loan so I don't do it as often.