Videos and DVDs
Berkeley Parents Network >
What/Where to Buy >
Appliances & Electronics >
Videos and DVDs
The PBS video/DVD catalog arrived in the mail today, and made me
wonder where is the best place to rent PBS DVDs? My local video
rental place has a few, but only a very few and it seems mostly Jane
Austin and Smiley's people. Are there any places to rent the more
obscure Novas or hisotry DVDs? Does Netflix have a PBS category?
Netflix does have a PBS category (a subset of Television). A
search for ''Nova'' turned up something like 56 hits, almost all of
which were episodes of the series. I've been a Netflix member for
only a month or so, but I'm really enjoying the service and
seeing lots of documentaries, foreign films, and classics that we
somehow never rented at the video store. And since I can't make a
decision under pressure (e.g. at the video store), having the
leisure to browse the catalog and add as many movies as I like to
my queue is great.
Try the library! Our local library in Alameda has a great
selection of PBS selections.
Where do I get videos besides
We recently discovered the Berkeley Public Library video collection. While
the main library is being remodeled, all videos are at the West Berkeley
Branch, which is on the north side of University Avenue about a block east
of San Pablo. They have a large collection of children's videos. Every
Saturday my almost-4-y.o. and I go and pick out two videos for her (and
one for me!) -- the limit per card is three videos at a time. Not only are
they free, but you can keep them for a whole week. Recently we have enjoyed
Babar, Thomas the Tank Engine, Corduroy, Clifford, Hungry Caterpillar stories,
etc. We especially enjoyed Children's Stories from Africa with a fantastic
storyteller with beautiful clothing and percussion instruments, and kids
dancing and singing after each story. They have some in other languages, too.
Oakland Main and branches have a good collection too. Most tapes for this
age group are about 1/2 hour long. The Videots rental store on College near
Ashby has a good variety of kids videos too, that way you can rent before
you buy (they sell off old ones as well, we got a Cat in the Hat one which
is a big favorite). Reel Video has lots, too, though the store is so big
you can almost lose a toddler in there ;>. Though my daughter is drawn
to the bright covers on the shelves, for the most part I have been able
to limit the Disney saturation pretty well; I find most of them
overwhelmingly fast and oud, even the Pooh ones -- kind of like a long
commercial, though I must confess our weakness for Toy Story. (Last note:
this week my tape is the opera La Traviata, and my daughter has been watching
it every day, transfixed -- go figure!).
Check out the library! No reason to purchase videos if you're not sure what
you want yet. The Berkeley Library on University near San Pablo has a pretty
good selection to start you out.
To the woman who "actually wanted videos"--You have my sympathies for the
pile of Barney videos. We survived for our first year of video watching
with one old ratty Barney tape. I've found the best, cheapest and easiest
way to have a good selection of videos on hand is to tape the shows my kid
loves on PBS. My daughter (5 yrs) loves Zaboomafoo, Mister Rogers, and
Zoom. We have 2-3 full tapes (2hrs each) for each show and she rewatches
them again and again. Every month or so we retire a tape and use it to
retape fresh stuff. It does mean that you need to learn how to use the
recording feature of your VCR, but it's well worth it!
Amoeba Records and Rasputin Records (both on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley) have
large selections of used children's videos. They both have the usual complement
of Disney features, but also lots of other stuff, usually at prices well below
retail. The other great thing about buying used videos (at least at Amoeba) is
that they have a return policy. If you bring the video back with the receipt
within 7 days, they will refund 75% of the purchase price (in store credit).
Another idea: find shows that your kids like (and you approve of) and tape
them for future viewing. We have many tapes filled with Zooboomafoo, Madeline,
Blues Clues, etc. (for some of these shows it helps if you know someone with
The Albany public library has tons of kids videos, mostly non-Disney, lots
of educational videos, and they're free!
Try your local public library! Our (San Leandro) library has an extensive
video collection for borrowing. Last night we took home a Lamb Chop video
(a HUGE success with our 4 year old), and Ray Bradbury's "The Electric
Grandmother". Both were about 1 hour, and definitely not your usual
Disney fare. I imagine that the Library will be more likely to stock
"educational" videos as well.
Silver Screen Video (El Cerrito Plaza) has a pretty good selection of
videos and I know other stores do as well. My kids (4 1/2 and 7 1/2) really
the National Geographic series for kids - narrated by Dudley Moore as "Spin"
(the world). There is one movie per continent, I believe. Lots of animals
of music. They like Magic School Bus videos as well and the girls have good
The Discovery Corner Store at the Lawrence Hall of Science has a good
variety of nature, science, and other fun videos.
They are open seven days a week, from 10-5, and if you are just planning to
go to the store, you can tell them so at the Hall's front desk, so you
don't have to pay to get in.
Gosh, try Toy Go Round or Play it Again Toys on Solano. They have used kids
videos. Here's a strange one - I aquired a used copy of Cyrano de Bergerac in
French (w/Gerard Depardieu), when my little girl was 1.5 or 2 years old. She
seemed fascinated by it - I think it was the language - so I'm not surprised
about the child who loves La Traviata - I think I'll try that one!!! Cindy
Why don't you try your local public library? I use the Albany library and
have found several fun, educational videos. For example: a National
Geographic children's video on bears and other Sierra animals with lots of
good music; and a series of videos called Up Close and Personal with tapes
on farm animals, trains, trucks, horses. They're great!
Used Kids' Videos
RE: where the find a used copy of the Lion King
The probability is relatively high that you may find a
used Lion King video in Rasputin's Records on Telegraph Ave.
in Berkeley. Mikhail
To the person looking for used kids videos, you can find them -- lots of
Disney -- in the basement-level of Rasputin's Music at the corner of
Telegraph and Channing Way. Stefanie
Used Disney Videos: I believe I saw some for sale at HalfPrice Books
on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, near Dwight. Dianna
The best place I have found to buy used videos is Amoeba Records on
Telegraph (in Berkeley; the store on Haight in S.F. also has a good
selection). They have a separate section of kids videos, including lots of
Disney. They also have a 7-day return policy -- 75% in store credit for any
reason, full refund in credit if defective. Rasputin's also has used videos
in the basement of their store. Randal
I don't know whether or not they currently have the Lion King, but I
have bought used Disney videos at Toy Go 'Round on Solano Avenue. Also,
Costco sells them new at lower cost than other retail outlets. Cathy
My two children and I had a bad experience that I'd like to post
here. A few weeks ago, my daughter (8) was having her first
sleepover. She really wanted to have a movie as part of the
evening. My son (5), my daughter, her friend (7) and I went to 5
Star Video on Solano before our 4:15 swimming class. The girls
took a few minutes to select their movie Balto and then brought
it to me. They then went to the front of the store to look at the
Bug's Life display (or some other kid's movie display). They
passed the candy container on the desk and the employee said to
them, "those aren't for free" This kind of bugged me, but I let
it pass. The employee looked at me and said, "They took some
candy." I went right over and said "Kids, this man says you took
some candy did you?" No they hadn't, and I checked my own kids'
pockets to make sure. I went back to the counter and told the guy
that they didn't have any candy. He refused to believe me. I
assured him again that they didn't have candy. He told me as he
wisked the movie off the counter, "I'm denying you service then."
He told me in front of my children, that I "was a mother who
didn't watch her kids."
I called Andy, the owner, that day and the next and he was mildly
sympathetic. I asked that he have his employee apologize to my
children. I have never heard back from him. I'm posting this
story so that I can finish it for myself. The only time I will go
back to the video store is when I go to have them destroy my
credit card slip and tell them why I won't be returning.
I was sorry to read of the bad experience at 5-star video. The whole
thing sounded very out of character for the employees at the store.
I've rented from that store for about 6 years and have never had a single
bad experience, nor have I witnessed one. The staff there have been
quite considerate of us when we brought our kids in to pick out movies,
and my wife has had many conversations with certain of the staff about
kids movies and our kids in particular. On many occaisions I've gone in
to browse, and left not finding anything that I wanted to watch just
then. Often, the staff there has wished me a good evening anyway.
I don't blame the parent for not wanting to give that store their
custom in the future. They know their children and the staff member's
behavior seemed nothing short of rude. Still, six years of better than
good service for me and my family can't be ignored either. I just wanted
to let people know that it is not the usual treatment from the staff at
that store. I hope the parent gets some redress.
Our family has had excellent service at 5 Star Video on Solano. The
staff has been helpful in person and on the phone. They have helped us
and our children choose videos, and have gladly outlined the plot or let
us know how silly or sexy or upsetting a particular movie might be. They
have always been nice to us and to our children.
I am sorry to hear that one family had such a bad experience at the
store. Our experiences have all been good.
I have patronized 5-Star Video for years now, and my neighbor, who
recommended the place to me, has been renting videos there since it
opened without any problem. I like the store very much and find the
personal service (the staff watches all videos and can give a personal
opinion of the content) rather refreshing. In fact, I wouldn't go
anywhere else. Sorry to hear you had problems, I'm sure it was a fluke.
videos with sign language
Does anyone know where I can find videos with sign language? I
currently have one put out by Randon House called Sign Me a Story
with Linda Bove. Thankyou
The "Say, Sing & Sign" series has a number of ASL
videos. They are instructional videos for kids. Each
tape addresses a different topic (for example:
animals, numbers, alphabet, colors). The signs are
taught and then used in songs. My kids (3 & 4
y.o.)love them. I find that they will sing and sign
along with the tape as well as incorporate their signs
into regular conversation. They have no other
exposure to ASL. I purchased my tapes at buy.com but
I'm sure if you search other places they're out there.
Amazon has a few videos:
I want to learn Sign Language
And Sign Songs and perhaps most compelling...
Land Before Time Sign Edition.
this page was last updated: Aug 14, 2006
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network